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January 17, 2011

Madras Musings.

Ashu and I went to the Bombay Jayashree concert at the Krishna Gana Sabha. Fil had front row tickets and was begging us to go. I knew it was a bad idea to go with Antu. So Hd decided to stay home with her. Ashu was thrilled but after 45 minutes, she went to sleep. I had a wonderful time listening to Jayashree. Live. Wow! My first Margazhi Kacheri. Unforgettable experience.

Hd and I managed to watch Kamal Haasan's recent movie "Manmadhan Ambu". Was a pleasant watch but the last 30 minutes were horrible. I was squirming in my seat especially since we had a train to catch in a couple of hours and I was kicking myself that I decided to watch the movie instead of hanging around with my parents and saying teary goodbyes! We also watched Mynaa a couple of days earlier in the same awful theatre and loved it. The songs were wonderful. The performances were flawless. I felt the tragic end was so unnecessary but then it would have been an ordinary movie otherwise, I suppose. "Mynaa, Mynaa" is the current favorite song on non stop loop.

I listened to this particular SPB song many times on FM Radio whenever I was in the car. I had no idea what song it was or which movie it was from. After coming back to Zurich, I was you tubing the songs from Aadukalam and thats when I realized it was the "Ayyayo" song. And what a song! Sigh!

Talking about movies, let me list all the movies I watched on the plane while going and coming back.

Teen Patti (hated the end. Also I had watched 21. So was nt impressed)
Anjaana Anjaani (horrible)
I hate luv stories (was OK)
Udaan (brilliant movie. loved it)
Megamind (absolutely awesome. Must watch)
Thiru thiru thuru thuru (Tamil comedy. Was time pass)
Once upon a time in Mumbai (was good)

Can you believe that I'm now in a stage where I can watch movies on the plane instead of juggling two food trays in one hand while making a kid sleep in my shoulder and at the same time reading a book to another? I never thought I will get here. But I did. Yahooooooo!! Or may be it was because Hd was also flying with us and that there was Dora in the kids channel! Whatever! I am not complaining.

Shopping is such an exhausting experience in Madras. Uff. Especially being the Christmas/New year/Pongal season, there were oceans of people in every shop and theres no way I could take the girls if I wanted any shopping done. We stayed clear of Pondy Bazaar and Panagal Park after this one trip to a Jewellery shop to buy Golusu (silver anklets) for Ashu where Antu tried on a heavy gold necklace and tried to make a run for it!!

And whats with all the anti piracy laws when I see a shop right in the middle of a busy road selling DVDs of every recent movie? I mean he was selling "Tees Maar Khan" and I think it got released like half a day earlier!! I was trying to find some DVDs to teach Tamil alphabets for Ashu and the guy was asking if I wanted "Eesan"! I said no and the guy says "Neenga naalaiku varuveenga, Akka!"* to which I replied, "Naan varradhu irukkattum. neenga iruppeengalaa?"** and he laughs!

*You will come back tomorrow, Madam.
** But will YOU be here?

Hd and I managed to go out for one meal without the kids while in Madras at the new Japanese restaurant called Teppan at the Benjarong. Being vegetarians, we have never tried Japanese food before and if not in Madras then where else? The 9 course meal was just a fantastic experience. The main course was cooked right in front of us and the whole set up has been so thoughtfully designed. Another interesting restaurant we went to is Rasa. I fell in love with the menu when I saw "Thulasi Vadai" and "Nellikkaai Soup!" Yum yum yum yum Delicioso!

It was lovely to meet Itchy and the boys again. I was so jealous seeing Mr.Itchy's paintings on the walls. Immensely talented. The twins and my girls had their proper first playdate and it was a relief when the four of them kept themselves busy leaving Itchy and me to gossip! (I swear we did nt talk about you! ;) We managed to go out for a dinner too along with the whole jing bang family and it was such fun. I think I talked too much though. Did I even let you talk, Itchy?

I'm sure not all women do this. But I have this annoying habit of wearing some old salwar suits I keep in the cupboards in Madras every time I visit. I don't know whats in fashion and whats not and for the past so many years, its the same old faded green salwar kameez and the pale pink churidar kurta I wear, at least for the first few days before I go on a shopping binge. So theres quite a possibility that I might be mistaken for a maid! This one time a shop keeper refused to show me a box of hair clips because they were expensive and out of my range! ("Adhu ellam fifty rupees, madam!") You think I would be hurt? Nah!

You know what hurts me though? The clothing sizes! Whats up with them? I think someone up there seriously hates me. Let me tell you that it takes immense courage to even ask a salesperson to show you XL sized kurtas. And then you go to the trial room and try it and it does nt even fit you! And you are so mad and hate the whole world and come out cursing only to see the salesperson standing outside and asking you, "Shall I pack this, Madam?" Argh! I wish they built trial rooms with emergency exits! If this is nt an emergency...

And this one time I get inside an accessory shop and ask for glass bangles and the guy says "unga size illai, madam!"* I told him, "Kai la dhaanga pottuka poren, neenga kaattunga!"** Bloody hell!

*we don't have them in your size, madam.
** The bangles are for my wrists. So show them!

Madras is growing on me. While I was a staunch Anti-Madras at one point of time, it seems like every Madras trip is making me like the place a wee bit more than the previous time. I told the husband, "I cant wait to hit forty and become a true blue Madras Maami" much to his utter shock!

30 comments:

utbtkids said...

Yes, yes. Happens to me. I was in Diva asking for a type of salwar, the sales guy kept ignoring me. I Pulled a picture from my iTouch and THEN the guy's ears miraculously opened up. I was offered a chair and color to drink ;)

R's Mom said...

I know the size problem...its so so so bugging! Now a days even XL doesnt seem to fit me..or rather my tummy and I swear I am not pregnant :(

Aneela Z said...

ha, I not only wear clothes that have seen many a winter (and summer) but I speak a heavily (Pushto) accented Urdu, leading to many a time when they turn to my sister or niece asking "Aap tau parhi likhi hai, what does she want" (as in you seem the educated sort what does this woman want?).

Kookaburra said...

Wow totally loved this post. So many things I want to comment back with "exactly" and "I know" and "me too" :) ...
I try, L, XL, 2 XL and have moved to 3XL to find fits - hee hee and atleast some stuff you get in 3XL in TN. So it is a nightmare to buy dresses and obviously I resort to the "Super cool - maid look" of shabby old chudithar with kid-fed thayir sadham still sticking on it! :) But thanks to my anni and a local friend I have gone back to "tailor made" in Chennai and Goa and there are awesome tailors yaar these days! But then to my utter surprise sometimes XL tops and chudithars fits too (I guess some cuts, especially side slits pardon my mommy tummy!)

Boo, do you ever wonder someday our kids will be talking about us like those hollywood movie heroines talk about their "hippie mommies"?! :)
I imagine Divya squeaking "Ouch, my mommie was a bloggiee junkkkiieee too, wears mismatching old tops and male slippers" It was actually my maid's daughter who refused to get my new but unfitting slippers saying "my god you wear such chapels" and showed me her very feminine one and told "dont you wear these?!"

mnamma said...

LOL on emergency exits in dressing rooms. Ungalaala mattum dhaan ippadi ellam ezhutha mudiyum :D Missed meeting you this time around too... With FIL's surgery and with all the things happening here, I couldn't have made it anyways. So next time you plan a visit, do keep me in the loop. And I always think of you as a true blue Chennai aite living in Swiss ;) even if you are from Kumbhakonam...

Itchingtowrite said...

thanks boo!! it was lovely having u all home

Sunitha said...

Great post Boo! Good reviews on the movies and especially the restaurants; will try them out on next trip home!

DC said...

excellent post! And, i was nodding away for every line you wrote on the size issue...my mom got me few night wear type pyjamas and tops from chennai silks and she had to go thrice to get it changed! nothing fits.. but then, their XL is actually like a Medium size.. or so I feel!!

dipali said...

Loved this post! I've heard Bombay Jayshree in the movie Morning Raga and loved her singing! Lucky you, watching her live:)
(I have attended a couple of kacheris- I'm a total wannabe maami, who doesn't know the language but loves the music!)
Even when I have my entire wardrobe around,I live in what is comfortable- I'm sure I can out-slob you without trying:)
You are making me miss Madras.
(Never seen Tamil movies, though)

Shyam said...

AAAUGH! *joyful scream* I though I was the only one! I do that with salwar kameez ALWAYS. So year after year, all the photos would show me in the same clothes :) At one point even my MOTHER (not just my friends) begged me to get some new ones stitched :D

Meera said...

True blue Madras maami and for that i will be ur ardent fan. Singara chennai grows on you right?? Am visiting chennai next month so will def stop by Rasa .. but chennai has become expensive for poor NRIs :(

Anonymous said...

True NRI! I do that too - wear ancient clothes from my wardrobe in India. The worst bit? I sent back a pile of salwar sets with my MIL a few years ago, to be given away to sundry maids etc. The sets were in perfect condition, either outmoded styles or I had grown too fat for them - but none of MIL's maids wanted them! This in Trichy - said the sets were all too out-of-fashion :) So MIL kept them, figuring she'd give them to more destitute folks sometime - naturally I wore those sets the entire time I was in Trichy! :) :)

Last time, my mother pre-empted me - she'd bought a few sets of "home-wear" and insisted I wear only those until I did my own shopping!

M

Its our space said...

Bombay Jayashree is really something, illa ? Such an image of elegance and dignity amongst the ladies who look like jewelery store mannequins and sing like those too.

My mother and mil both said they had given away all my precious old salwar suits..I suspect they used them "appropriately" ! But I unleashed my old track pants and $3 t shirts much to their dismay :) He he oru alpa santhosham thaan.

and yeah,I once went to krishna sweets and was asked for local address, phone number, how long have I lived there etc when I chose to pay with my credit card. The US based bank's name didnt help either ..they probably thought I stole it from my videsi employers :)Like you say, all times of india wonly :p

inbavalli said...

missed you :(

Anonymous said...

Boo..I always assumed you must be from Madas. Now from the comments, I see you are from Kumbakonam. My early formative years were from Kumbakonam as well.
Very curious now..If you did your schooling in Ku at all, which one was it?

Thanks a bunch for the mini restaurant reviews, esp the Japanese one. Mildly put, my vege exp in the West with Jap restaurants, have always been puke-able.

Is there any way, you can post your travel plan to Kumarakom from Madras? Did you stay in Kumarakom at all? The last time someone planned a "House Boat" trip for us in Alleppey from Madras was thro coimbatore and we ended up spending more time travelling to Alleppey than being on the boat house itself. It sure seems like worth giving the boat house thing another shot.

- MC

A and A said...

Amen to the old style salwars. My sil gives me a hardtime everytime i go to India. My mom on the other hand always have bought or stitch 3-4 sets of latest style after after my initial 3 trips. Even she brings nice sandals to airport as she knows I'll be in my pathetic sneakers. Lol! Still I have some sets that were 10 years old. When I first came to US i was calculating everything in ruppes and thought expensive. Now I'm calculating everything in $$$ and hesistant to buy anything. Once I took my nieces to bangle store and when i got the bill, i almost had a heart attack. Still my nieces think, I'm cheap.

bouncingbubble said...

rofl at "kailadhaanga poda poren". sirippu adakka mudila.. btw i hv always imagined you as moderate height/wt..illa oru velai munna romba slima irunthu athnala exaggerate panreengalo? my friend visited Madras recently and was praising the neatly maintained kid friendly parks(panagal and jeeva parks).. got a chance to visit?

anubharat said...

That was one wonderful post Boo. You only make me yearn to visit Madras soon - what better time than Dec - jan when the weather is perfect and also it is the music season. Will definitely check on the movies list (how did you manage to watch 7 movies in the flight, even if it was the total count) and also the restaurants. ROFLOL for the "wish they built trial rooms with emergency exits! If this is nt an emergency...". I used to have the same problem for the height. Unga size ellam inga vikkaradhu illa madam - aarrrrggg

sandhya said...

Boo, I dont know your body type but I am a small/medium in US and considered "slim"

Not knowing this I asked for a Medium and the salesman said adhellam slim a irukaravangalukku madam, ungalukku XL venum and to my utter shock XL and 2XL fits me perfect!

Tharini said...

Ditto on leaving old salwars behind to wear and having trouble with the XL's! Man, its so good to know someone else struggles thru them too!

Anonymous said...

Loved your post Boo !! LOL on the sizes..After 7 years, I shopped with vengeance in chennai..as I was too busy expanding and contracting the past 5 years with 2 kids ;-) But still L seems to be hard fit :(
I too dream abt settling in India when I am 40, but will my kids like it GOK...

Choxbox said...

Eeeks. On the ancient salwar thing - used to do that too!

The Print Lover said...

+1 to group wearing old salwars. Most traumatized was the husband though, LOL. He has begged/black mailed me to never wear them :)

VJ said...

+1 more for the salwar strategy.

The Restless Quill said...

Just discovered your blog. Happy I did. Love the bits about Madras. I spent some of my best days there and miss it quite a bit every few weeks. And it's been over six years since I left it.

Sh... said...

Nice post. I just cant wait to land in Chennai next month. I have a big list of to-do's...and going to the beach tops the list. Did you do that?

I imagined you to be a slim figure but seems you are not. (Neither am I!!)

LOL on the emergency exit in the trial rooms.

chittu's mom said...

Hi Boo, Have been following your blog for a very long time, but delurking now. Good to know that you had a wonderful time in Singaara Chennai. I'm a new mom with a 2 month old daughter...Your comment on bangle sizes are scaring me. My old rings and bangles are already slightly tight (If I put on a few more grams, I'm sure I wont be able to remove them) Have asked my hubby to get my old pair of jeans to check if they would still fit...Fingers crossed!!

A and A said...

Hey Boo, didn't you mention it on a post, you got some Tamil nursery song books? Could you let me know where you got in India?

give me strength to fight said...

I guess they have not changed the list... Did you travel in quatar airways... I had to watch this movies. Atleast thiru thiru thuru thuru was not bad... Teen patti I was crusing myself for giving such a rude punishment on myself.

Lakshmi said...

Stopped by from Inba's ! Love your blog and am adding you on to my reader.
BTW, I have been a true blue Madrasi (mami, if you want to addd) all my life (except for a brief 10 years abroad). I love it. Madras grows on you, and once grown, very hard to get out.