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One last time

Ravi and I spent the usual  20 minutes rounding everyone up for dinner. This was the most demeaning job in the world, not because everyone was doing different things – Rama walking around in circles with the phone plastered to his ear, Iyer on his bed with his laptop on his stomach, rising and falling rhythmically, Anand walking in and out of his (bath)room wearing only a towel, Spike either sleeping in the most awkward position with a book sprawled beside him or fighting with Vc for a game of FIFA, Vc either washing clothes or fighting with Spike for a game of FIFA and Sp conspicuously locked in his room – but because everyone had the same answer, Call the others da, I’m ready. We decided to brave the humiliation and round everyone up. After all, this would probably be the last time we’d be having dinner together for years and certainly the last time in the mess hall. It was going to be one last time.

The 10-minute walk to the mess hall was the most emotionally laden one I’ve ever taken. We were all mindful of the significance of the meal. We were unusually quiet and somber and even Vc, as if to show his solidarity, stopped trying to step on Iyer’s sandals after Iyer snapped, his voice more masculine than it had ever been in 4 years. Sp complained about how his upcoming exam was the most difficult paper and Anand agreed. There was a collective gasp. Spike murmured something that sounded like Miss you guys. Vc wiped his eyes hastily and said something that sounded like Brothers. I thought I heard Iyer say Brethren. Ravi did not laugh. Rama stopped messaging. It was too much to take. I heard a string of violins playing far away and I thought I saw Karan Johar smiling at us proudly. I looked again, it was just Sai waving at us. The melodrama was killing us. No one said anything, but we knew we were all thinking about the same thing – mess food. Say what we may, we knew the mess hall was a lot more special than we’d ever admit. It was the one time of the day all of us sat around at a table, fighting and arguing, agreeing only when it came to complaining about the food. It had been a good 4 years and the mess hall had been as important a part of hostel life as any other. A montage of scenes ran in front of our eyes.

It started with a silent, grainy, black and white film. We saw ourselves – 4 years younger, hale and healthy, with more hair on our head than on our faces, noses twitching and a look on our faces that only newly incarcerated convicts wear. For some reason we were all happy. We stood in line, plates and spoons even, moving from counter to counter, examining rotis for burnt spots and daal for insects. We sat silently, ate quietly, laughed at each others jokes politely. Sp took out a bottle of thokku, Spike eyed it greedily, Vc burst out crying at the end of the table. Anand looked at me and I knew he was trying hard not to laugh. I smiled, torn between having to console an old friend and appear macho in front of a new one. As a mark of understanding, Ravi gave a roti to Vc. He cried harder. Anand burst out laughing. Rama joined in. The grains cleared up and a bit of color appeared.

The rest of the movie was easier to follow, they were just random scenes. In one, I carried a jug of water of a table of seniors and then for four more. In another, we lost a bottle of avakai uurga to a bunch of seniors in football jerseys and from the look on our faces, we guessed it was our last. We were joined by others in some videos and in others not all of us were present, but for the most parts, we were laughing and fighting, spitting and running, stealing bananas (and coming up with dirty banana jokes) and hiding each others cell phones. Around the time we started losing hair on our head and substituting it on our face, the video had sound and was a lot clearer than some porno documentaries we’d taken from the LAN. In these, we were no longer standing in line, we had no plates and certainly no spoons, we were taking thokku from healthier kids, asking them to fetch water for us and Iyer was the only one examining rotis and daal.

We saw all this in our mind, as if tied together in a common dream. And here we were, walking towards the mess hall for our last dinner together. It was a lot more emotional than I imagined it would be, more emotional than my last day in class and surprisingly more than the last Club. How many more years would it be before all of us sit together and eat again? Well, we could at least make that possible. Would it ever be possible to eat at the mess hall again? As we inched closer to the hall, with the same images, videos and questions running through all our minds, a humid blast hit us. We were brought back to the present, a rather harsh present, by a metallic clatter. Someone had dropped a plate and we saw something red and viscous struggling to flow off the plate. We looked around the place that had seemed so nostalgic in our mind – it was chaotic. It was hot as hell and the curtains hung still, belying the rather cool evening outside. With conversations in every Indian language imaginable (one overpowering the others), it was like we were dropped right in the middle of Ranganathan Street during Pongal and indeed, if it weren’t for the sweaty, smelly guys in shorts and baniyans, I would have thought so! But we knew – I cannot tell you how, but we did – that it wasn’t these things that bothered us. It was the smell. Oh Dear Lord the smell! In our rooms in Florida, New York, D.C. and Madras, we smell it even now. The putrid smell of old dough. Of saadam and the drainage, of saadam in the drainage! Of fungus-infested bread and tomatoes, of bananas and hot water. Oh the smell!

The silent, black and white, grainy image returned to our minds, grainier and shakier than ever. We looked carefully. Healthier we were, hair we had, but we realized why we had the look on our faces. This was why. This was why our noses twitched. And we weren’t happy. We were sadistic. We were laughing at each others misery. And in the present and in our heads, the emotion returned – Would it ever be possible to eat at the mess hall again? We looked at each other and we answered Ah! Fuck it! Let’s go to paati kadai.

As we stepped out into the cool, evening air we all heard a voice again, not in our heads, but very close to us – No da. I don’t eat egg. Let’s go to Classic.

And then the fight started.

One last time.

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Divya and I were talking about books the other day and quite predictably, about favorite authors and favorite books. Unlike similar conversations I have had with others, where we’d talk about the most recent book we had read, I found myself talking about some of earliest books I have read. And because they were the first books I’d read (and because I did not read a lot back then), they have a very special place in my book-list. We rewound my book-list enough to get me thinking on what has been occupying my mind for the past few days – what triggered my love for reading in the first place? Let me confess right away – I am not the most ardent reader I’ve met. In fact, most of my friends from college grew up ingesting just about anything that had letters on them. (Yeah, most of my book-friends are from college. The few school guys who read a lot now, didn’t read so much back then) I wasn’t so much into books for a while, though I read in patches till I was in middle-school and I finally got hooked on, thanks to my brother. But this post is not so much about the books that I’ve read as it is about why I started reading. The big question is easy enough to answer – I love reading because I love stories. As a kid, nothing got me more excited than listening to stories and the fact that I did not mind who the story-teller was, widened the horizon for me. So, in a sense, this post is a tribute to all the story-tellers who showed me the way to a whole new and an ever-expanding world of books.

As far as my abysmal memory takes me, I’d say my mom was the first story-teller and Ramayana was the first story. I now know that she was reading Kamba Ramayanam; back then it was just an old, fat, yellowing book which she read incessantly. I used to sit next to her and nag her to recount the story to me. She’d read a few pages, distill it and tell me stories as she fed me, but always ending with a moral. I guess she realizes now that I spat out most of the morals, along with the veggies. I vividly remember the ‘stories’ of the encounter between Raavana and Jatayu and Vali and Sugreeva and I secretly admired Vibeeshana. And these are the seeds for my love for secondary characters over the main ones – Karna over Arjuna, Bob Andrews over Jupiter Jones, Iago over Othello, Sirius over Harry, Peter over Heidi, Jughead over Archie, Haddock over Tintin and many of the now-forgotten characters in Fear Street.

As soon as I realized that my mom was censoring most of the interesting aspects of the story, I shifted my ears to my brother. We shared a room for a long time and the night times were a nightmare for him because I wouldn’t let him sleep unless he told me “just one story, promiseeee”. And what a story-teller he was! He would add enough masala to make the story interesting and yet, not enough salt to make it realistic. The build-ups, the voice modulation, the suspense, the drama – he told a story in a way only master story-tellers do. Among the many thing I’ve learned from him, is to interpret a situation, the characters and their mindset and how there are no ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’, but only characters. I don’t remember most of what he told me because he must have told me over 3 years’ worth of stories, but I do remember one and what a story it was – Macbeth! He was in college then and I was still in middle school – his understanding and interpretation met its match against my imagination and enthusiasm! Macbeth remains one of my favorite stories till date, though I’ve been meaning to read an unabridged version for ages now.

The timeline between mom’s Ramayan and bro’s Macbeth is extremely blurry. I know there are a lot of people who influenced me through their stories –  my thatha, Sudha Miss, Prema Miss, Vidya Vageesh Miss and a whole lot of others but there are 2 people who stand out as prominently, if not more, as my mom and bro. One of them is a person who is as anonymous posthumously as he was alive. No, I mean no disrespect, it is just how I saw him. He was married to my neighbor, a remarkable lady, who I call Athai, who deserves a separate post altogether. His name was Uncle and that is the only personal information I know about him. He was a tall, thin, extremely nervous man, with wavy gray hair, thick square spectacles below an ash-smeared forehead. He spoke with a quiver and you had to strain your ears to hear him. He was a shy, submissive and a very nervous man, who was extremely soft spoken, whenever he spoke. I am pretty sure there was a black story to their marriage because people were very awkward around him and because he was living in her house and in an orthodox Brahmin household, that’s well, ouch!  I remember his room, if it can be called that – it was extremely small, an add-on the the stairwell, with a sloping ceiling, where the brick-roof of the house sloped. There used to be a table, 2 chairs and I cannot be sure if there were any walls, because all I could see were books. If your imagination conjures up a dungeon where portions are brewed, a wine-cellar with books instead of casks or a shady shack where black magic is performed, you’re not far off from the truth. He never spoke to anyone (or probably the other way around) and the only person who had unquestioned access to his room and books was yours truly. Of course, I didn’t read those books, because most of them were in Tamil and Sanskrit and I was too young to read anyway. He spent all day in his room, coming down only to eat, bathe, pray and sleep. When I was in his room, and I was there hours on end during vacations, he would tell me stories – Dasavatharam, Ramayana, Mahabaratha and a thousand other stories that figure somewhere between these three. I was lost in the world of sages and boons,  kings and war, devas and rakshasas and mantras and monkeys. Then one day he passed away as quietly as he had lived. I don’t know what was the problem with him, though I know there were a lot. I don’t know if he made a positive difference to Athai’s life, but he sure made one on mine.

The other person who impacted my love for stories (and therefore my reading habit) is a very special person. He is the only other person in the world who can make sense of this post’s title before reading this paragraph. Arvind is as old a friend as a 22-year old can have. I don’t know when I met him (though for some reason both of us maintain that we met in the boy’s toilet when we were in the LKG), but he was been my buddy for almost 20 years now. Now, I can easily write an entire book on him, Rohit and Ganesh, my other old friends (and I nearly started one a few years back!) but this post, as you’ve seen, is very niche. Arvind is many things to many people, but to me he’s a master story-teller. We had sad excuses for excursions in school with trips to Vandallur Zoo, Chembarambakam Lake and many such open-‘air’ places under an unforgiving sun. Few things made excursions fun for me – the concept of an excursion (naturally), the bisibela bath and potato curry for lunch, the anthakshari contest and Arvind’s stories. Yes, many people, not even Rohit and Ganesh, don’t know this, but Arvind used to tell me endless stories (actually one story that was endless) during these excursions. I remember coaxing and cajoling him a few days before excursions, politely reminding him about the story he had to come ready with. I’d fight for a seat next to him (and it was quite a fight, considering how popular he was even then) and happily hear the story of the conch! Hence the post’s title! It was by far the most creative and captivating story I’ve heard and how a 7 year old (and subsequently a 8, 9, 10 and 11 year old) could churn out such a tale is still beyond me. I have no idea how the story goes, and I bet neither does he, but it had a lot to do with a certain magic conch and an evil (?) nail. I used to sit and listen in awe as he would effortlessly spin out a story that had all the elements of a Tolkienian fantasy. I am pretty sure he did not sit at home and concoct the story, because there were moments when he’d contradict something he’d said earlier and the ardent listener that I was, would point it out to him. Without as much as a comma-induced pause, he’d develop a sub-plot to cover it up. Creative license. I understood it then as I understand it now, but I saw myself as an apprentice training under a master, and these ‘inputs’ made me beam unashamedly. If I was as perceptive then as I am now, I would have marveled the speed with which he thought about the next scene in the story. If my mom’s narration made me take away morals from stories, bro’s characters thought me interpretation and Uncle’s stories made the story-teller redundant, Arvind undoubtedly is the reason for me appreciating the nuances of story-telling.

And here I am, a story-lover, a semi-ardent reader, a person who puts the book aside and fantasizes about the story, an enthusiastic blogger and hopefully, one day, a writer. To all the story-tellers in the world, keep telling stories. You don’t know the value of your conch.

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Veyil

Mood: Completely zapped out thanks to the Floridian sun.

I was talking to my mom last week and she got senti about some dish she had cooked that I like a lot. I started teasing her for getting nostalgic over something as ‘everyday’ as food. (An hour later when I made myself a bowl cornflakes for dinner, I regretted trivializing food, but that’s another story). The very next day, I made myself look like a jackass when I got senti over the most mundane of things – the sun!

I was waiting at the bus-stop under an unforgiving sun and was filled with an overwhelming feeling because of the monstrous heat! I’ve always thought of nostalgia as a bitter-sweet feeling triggered by innocuous things, like a movie-stub, or an audio cassette or an old progress report (which has only bitter memories) or maybe even food, courtesy mom. But something as noxious and offensive as the sun triggering pleasant memories is really quite something. Thankfully the bus (air-conditioned and uncrowded) arrived soon enough and I got to muse about the past 15 minutes sitting in my favorite seat – the last one on the left. I realized that this was but natural.

My entire childhood was spent in one of the hottest places on earth – Madras (or for any non-Madrasi readers wanting to Google-map it, Chennai). There are only 3 seasons in Madras – summ, summer and summerer. Being a coastal city, it was is humid as it is hot and I lived less than 4 k.ms from one of the longest coastlines in the world – Marina beach, which only made things damper (and saltier). I never used to travel a lot on account of my dad being a workaholic. So, all summer and ‘winter’ holidays were spent at home, barring a few visits to Delhi (some relief!) and rare vacations to hill-stations. Taking all this into consideration, it was only natural for me to get nostalgic over a bitch of a sun.

The most striking memory of my summer vacations is the things I (and my cousins) used to do to keep the temperature down. We used to cover every curtained-window with blankets to make it as dark as possible. Following my mom’s rustic advice, we’d keep a bucket of water underneath the fan in the hall. It was pretty effective and worked like an air-cooler, but over-time it made the entire place damp. Then came copious amounts of anti-prickly-heat powder (After trying one brand every season, I discovered Shower-to-Shower had the best effect and Cuticura gave me rashes). Then came hose-pipe baths in the backyard and bath-tub ablutions. Of course, these earned us the wrath of our neighbors, owing to their water crises. When everything failed, we’d give up and go into the godsend a/c room. Orange Tang played the single largest part in helping me through the summer without a single episode of sun-stroke. Kissan grape and my athai’s home-made squashes tied for a close 2nd.

I’d get up early and run to school for the seasonal inter-section cricket match (and later, football). Of course, ‘early’ is a subjective term and by the time everyone got to the ground, so would the sun. We’d play for a couple of hours and when the first guy collapsed from dehydration, jump the wall to the adjoining Shanti Vihar and pool our summer booty for a juice or milkshake each. Come back in time for the slew of afternoon cartoons, starting from with the Little Lulu Show at 11 till Power Zone at 3. With hand-delivery of lunches, mini-lunches and rehydrates, I didn’t move any muscle that didn’t aid digestion. I used to go to the beach often, either with friends or cousins, but always convincing ourselves that the evening breeze cooled us. I’d come back, dinner and finish the day of with Scooby Doo Where Are You? and the Popeye Show. School days weren’t a lot different, except that I didn’t have to roam around in the sun too much. Exam days were horrific when you had to cycle back in the bitch of the afternoon sun. Of course, cycling is never complete without the mamool half-hour talk at the street corner. Madras was hot as hell. It was great.

I’ve done everything under the sun, under the sun. P.C.Sorkar Jr., The Great Russian Circus, Mahabalipuram trips (which were “just another 10 mins to go”, according to my dad), Wrestlemania X-XVI, Children’s Park, Nehru Planetarium, Lion King, Aladdin, India vs Pakistan/Australia at Sharjah (which was okay ‘cos they were D/N matches), Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Three Investigators, Tinkle, Asterix, Mango, chess with my bro and upturning the board when I was going to lose, Ludo, snakes and ladders, Dangerous Dave, Prince of Persia, Mario, Contra, Sonic and even my birthday – the sun had a part in everything.

My life has been one helluva long summer! And still is…

P.S.: Veyil is Tamil for heat or sunshine or summer. It means a lot to us Madrasis.

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A boy’s best friend

A dog may well be a man’s best friend, but before he became a man, the boy had a friend who was just as close, if not more – his bicycle. Yes, the bicycle is undoubtedly a boy’s best friend and faithful companion.

I myself was thoroughly addicted to my cycle(s) and now long to get a new one. Owning a cycle is quite unlike owning a bike, car or any other fancy automobile. I am almost 22 and have owned a couple of cycles, a scooter and have driven my dad’s cars without a valid license (both from him and from the state). I can say without the slightest hesitation that my cycle days were the best.

My first cycle was red in color, had three wheels and was, for the most part, made in plastic. I must have been 3-4 years old when I rode that. I confess I don’t remember having a lot of fun memories on it, but to be fair, I couldn’t have expected to have any, under my mom’s watchful eyes. I was never meant to have fun on a tricycle. I was put on one to keep me occupied, to make me go around in circles till I got tired and ate – or better still, got disoriented and slept off. No, tricycles don’t count. Boys want the real thing, they want the two-wheeled beasts. We want bicycles.

I believe that the cycle days are when boys have their first tryst with sexism. Boys are very touchy when it comes to the cycles and their relationship with their cycle is a sacred one, albeit, macho. For us, its about the speed, about the adrenaline rush and the falling down. For girls (from what I’ve seen) its an achievement, a credential. They learn to ride a cycle and they go tell their friends about it and get admiring, appreciative nods. It goes on their resume. So they have to be careful while learning to ride a cycle. They have side wheels – yes, the 2 words that make a boy cringe. The two words that question a boy’s masculinity.

My first bicycle was a BSA Champ and I shared it with my cousin Sharanya. Yeah, you guessed right – incessant fighting, bruises to limbs and egos, gender abuses. I hated the side-wheels on the cycle. The extra wheels defamed the cycle, made it effeminate and on some level sexually abused it. I would bend the wheels upwards or remove them completely when it was my turn to ride the cycle. I longed to grow up and get a cycle for myself, not one that I had to share with a girl, not one over which I had only partial right over, not one that had stickers on it, not one with side-wheels!

Finally, when I was in class 8, my dad gifted me my very own cycle. Well, he didn’t gift it in the traditional sense. I had to argue, cry, protest, boot-lick, go on a hunger strike, lock myself up in my brother’s room (for which I got into further trouble) and plead for it. But when at the end of all that, you get a friend for life, you just do it! It was a blue Hercules MTB Oversize 9000 and man, it was phenomenal! Of course, for having forced my dad to gift it to me, I couldn’t ride it to school. Parents’ idea of a win-win situation. Well, anyway, he had to be content being my friend at home and around the neighborhood. I used to ride my cycle all the bloody time. I offered to help my mom with domestic shopping so that I could take my cycle out. I would cycle to tuition classes and tennis coaching, despite them being at a proximity that would actually make the cycle ride a shame. But I didn’t care.

Then the unthinkable happened. I lost my cycle. Some slimy son of a bitch stole it from the parking lot in my house! I was so devastated, I thought I’d never recover from it. I went through what Tamil movies have made so popular – love failure. At long last, I drew myself out of the depression. With a feeling guilt, that only devoted husbands have when they give in to a sexy personal assistant, I bought a second cycle. With a feeling of shameless, remorseless submission that only consummate two-timers have, I fell in love with my new cycle – a stunning black-gray Hercules MTB Thriller. This love was to last.

Cycling meant the world to me. Cycling fast meant I was independent. Cycling slowly meant the world belonged to me. Cycling in a group made us cool. Racing made us men. Losing the cycle key (which happened more often than actually riding) taught us responsibility and breaking the lock open brought back our heartbeats. Cleaning the cycle made us fathers. It was not difficult to maintain a cycle at all and often, not necessary. After all, muddiness meant your cycle has seen action. I washed my cycle once a month on Saturday afternoons. I used to park it in my courtyard, bring a hosepipe and blast water on the dirty mudguards. I oiled the chain, cleaned the spokes and tightened the bell (which never seemed to clinked the way it did on the first day). I even employed my cousin Shravan as the helper boy. When my grandfather visited, I was the happiest boy on earth. He is the smartest, most technical man I have met. He used to dismantle the cycle, clean it thoroughly and put it back exactly the way it was! He seemed to understand my cycle and from the way he looked at my cycle I could see the remnants of a similar boyhood in his old gray eyes.

Cycles were never a mark of a social standing because we understood the evils a boy had to brave to get one. If one had a cycle, he was admired. If one didn’t, he was content with going doubles, without being judged unfairly. He was the partner in crime. He had to stand faithfully by the rider through the traffic, beat-the-clock speeds, chain malfunctions and bad roads. And we never defiled the purpose of our cycles. It was not for showing off or impressing girls. No, that was for morally corrupt bikers and car-owners. We respected our cycles. And like a true friend, he helped us back. Whenever I was late, all I had to do was to rub my hands over the chain till it was black with grease and tell my mom “the useless cycle let me down again”. Or take money for the innumerable air-fillings and cycle-services. It was a friendship only boys understand (And no matter how liberal you are, when it comes to cycles, men will always be sexists). It was a friendship that would have made Rajni and Mammooty submit meekly. I am proud to have had such a friend.

A boy’s relationship with a cycle is karmic, one that grows till they finally have to part ways. The boy moves on to the next stage in his life, forever longing to go back in time. And the cycle enters another boy’s life, making it as colorful as it made its old friend’s.

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The year that was

One more hour of 2009 left and my bro is making dinner, so let me play it safe and say 2009 has been good so far.

One of the more eventful years in the recent past. It started of on an all-time low. I was all alone in college and celebrated it with an onion dosai and Coke at Ariya Vilas, Thanjavur. Yes, not kidding. I had a dinner by myself in downtown Thanjavur. That’s how pathetic this year began. It did not look much better with the hostel being deserted for a few weeks, with most of the people (person actually) who matter away for vacation/ project.

While working sincerely on my final year project with fellow researcher Juju, I was getting depressed for a number of reasons. I was not getting admits into any Grad school, the Kuruksastra nonsense was heightening and people were generally annoying me. *

I was over the moon when UF gave me an admit, ironically (or fittingly) on April 1st. With only a few months, then weeks, then days left for college to end, senti kicked in. Girls in senti mode can be difficult to handle, but guys in senti mode is very easy. Its like feed-forward mechanism – more senti, more thanni. Jimple. IPL, movies, sitcoms, Facebook (truly life changing), slam books, farewell parties and local food in the Trichy-Thanjavur belt – campus (not college, mind you) life got over.

Back home, life was both exciting and downright boring. Exciting, because I living in Chennai after 4 years. There was a whale of city life I had missed out while in college. From theater to food, movies to beaches, TV to uninterrupted internet – I was living the C-life after 4 years! It was boring for obvious reasons – your own A/C room with a computer full of stuff from the hostel LAN and internet is one thing, but watching a cricket match in a crowded, smelly room with 15 sweaty guys cheering and swearing is something else!

Then reality hit hard. I started getting ready for my visa interview. Document after document, seal after seal, signature after signature! After all that, the actual interview was an anti-climax. A clumsily planned Bombay trip, U.S. tickets, packing, bye-byes and finally D-Day on July 30th. Chennai- Frankfurt-Atlanta-Gainesville.

Grad school was and is the biggest challenge in my life so far and if things continue this way, I should retire in 2 years’ time (if I get out alive). School has taken most of my time and 5 months have sped by. The icing on the cake has been my South-East Coast trip this winter vacation. Florida-Georgia-Tennessee-North Carolina-Virginia-Maryland-Washington D.C. Not bad, not bad at all!

So here’s truly hoping my present and newly-found optimism and zest for life continues for a year. No resolutions as yet.

Happy new year folks! Have fun and be good.

But not too good.

* The lament should not be construed by any blog surfer/psychocrapper/ family member as clinical depression. I am not, nor have I ever suffered from depression that requires professional attention.

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This is the Chennai I grew up in. This is the Chennai that grew with me..

Marina Beach. Filter coffee. Rajnikanth. School friends. PTC bus. Panagal Park. Traffic. Kapaleeshwarar Kovil. Molaga bajji. Vidya Mandir. Street cricket. Light house. Gangotree. Auto stand. Traffic police. Chennai Central. Sachin Tendulkar. Landmark Quiz. Ratna Cafe. A R Rahman. Metro water lorries. Madras bashai. Pongal. IIT coaching. Power cuts. Mosquitoes. Sun TV. Summer vacations. Satyam Cinemas. Lifestyle. The Hindu. SPB. Maruti 800. Dappankoothu. Spencer Plaza. India vs Pakistan. Deepavali. Woodlands drive-in. Stella Maris. Kutchery season. Avani Avittam. Bharathnatyam. Pepsi Uma. Thirumailai. Samsa (Not samosa). Navarathri Golu. Children’s Park. Kamal Haasan. Gandhi statue. Road-side shopping. Tuition. Cafe Coffee Day. Kaiyendi Bhavan. Kite flying.  School culturals. Independence Day sweets. Hero cycle.  Baasha. Christmas thatha. Shanthi Vihar. R D Sharma. Myalpore Tank. Adyar Bakery. Mega serials. Thali meals. Koovam.

I have changed a lot in 21 years. Chennai has changed a lot more…

And I don’t like it. 😦

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