Observations from India

– I found Chennai to be a lil’ more greener than it was during my last visit about 5 months back. The trees in the median on the road from the Airport to Guindy were not there few months ago and that looks very impressive.

– Got to drink my favourite “Paneer Soda” (Sweetened Carbonated Water) after a very long time. I did check out the cane juice, kadalai mittai (peanut candy), Sambhar Vadai etc.

– For the first time, I had a two-wheeler at my disposal to explore Trichy, but I feel that buses are the best mode of transport to travel within Trichy. Traffic is much nastier than I expected.

– The person in charge of computers & networks in the Passport Office is designated as “Scientist”.

– Air Conditioner Loan Melas are happening all over the place at Trichy.

– Glad to see that ‘indigenous’ Bovonto & other products from Kali Mark have still managed to retain customers despite competition from pesticide flavoured P & C.

– Maris group of theatres at Trichy, which entered the record books for housing the maximum number of theatres in a single complex in India, now stands as a poor shadow of its former self, with none of the hit movies in any of its theatres.

– Going by the posters & wall advertisements, it appears that Vijayakanth would be a force to reckon with. But then, so was Vaiko when he formed MDMK in 1993.

– At Chennai airport, there is a service where they wrap your baggage few times with thin film, giving you one more layer of security. Though, it is not a 100% tamper proof technology, its worth it for 100 quid as you need not worry whether/when your canvas suitcase would give away, especially when you carry heavy items like traditional dosai kal (tava) & illupachatti (kadai?) like I did.

– If someone, God or anyone for that matter, reduces the overall temperature of Chennai by 10 degrees Celsius (just 10 deg C), Chennai would be heavener (since it is already a heaven).

– After one week of reading the so-called “India’s National Newspaper”, I feel that they source their editorial from AICC press releases. It would be apt if they change their tagline to “Congress’ Official Newspaper”.

54 thoughts on “Observations from India”

  1. Good observations. Naan thaan solrene, Srirangaththule pirandaalum naan ange kadaisee kaalaththukku thaan poyi retire aagalaamnu paarkaren; Adhu varaikkum Chennai Maanagaram thaan namakku “best kannaa best” ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Great to learn you are back. I know you will be missing the little one!

    I think buses are the best way to get around every town actually. They give you a totally unique perspective on life in the city.

  3. but still the readers of the Hindu vote for BJP during the elections. funny how the elite media dishes out to its readers stuff that they cant not jus digest – but cant even chew!!!

  4. Jag –

    > I think buses are the best way to get around every town actually. – You are right.. Not surprising to hear from someone who created a domain name on his fav. bus route.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Harish – I never read Hindu on a regular basis.. i read it only when ppl send a link to a particular article or something of that sort..

    I knew that the damned paper is biased… but never did I think that they wd be a mouthpiece of Congress.. sometimes, I feel that even Sonia wd squirm at the way Hindu writes hailing her… It stinks. Unless I hear convincingly that Hindu has turned leaf, I have vowed never to touch that paper again.

  6. Venkatachalam – not sure whether u hav heard abt Torino? It used to be famous in Thanjavur District more than 10 yrs ago.. something similar to Fanta/Gold Spot. They were ruling that market for long…

    This is one of the rare occassions, where I could neither visit Rockfort nor Srirangam. Should make it up next time.

  7. interesting post chakra. did you read any tamil dailies? last yr when I was in India, it was during deepavali and the whole city was shining. I’m hoping that the weather would be much nicer later this month.

  8. Chakra,
    Good observations. Bovonto is my favourite as well. It is now avlbl in PET bottles also. I could get them easily in Chennai. If memory is right, the wrapping service in Chennai airport has been there for close to 2 years now.

  9. Paneer Soda is an all-time favorite. Last time I had Karumbu Juice (with lime) too. If you are in Madras, dont miss the Idly Sambhar at Ratna Cafe.

  10. Saranyan –

    I forgot to mention this… I travelled in Indian Airlines from Chennai to Mumbai and they provided ‘Maalai Sudar’ & ‘News Today’ to all the passengers… pucca puccca local news & gossips..

    Weather won’t be as bad as it was during my visit as it was Agni Nakshathram period last week. But until late-July “nicer” would not be the right word to use w.r.t Chennai weather. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Good one Chakra. But where are the photos.!

    What about the Hotels? How about the Customs? How about TV. Water Problems. ?
    Cost of living? How many new temples? Why is chennai heaven? How is the Power situation.! How are the buses? .!

    Sorry for a long list of questions !

  12. Kaps

    I noticed the wrapping service last time as well.. but didn’t use it as I was in a hurry. The previous time I visited Chennai was in mid-2003 and it wasn’t there… Its really a good thing and I would appreciate if it is made available at all the airports..

  13. Narayanan ::

    Photos – later..

    > What about the Hotels? How about the Customs? How about TV. Water Problems. ?

    – annaa… ennanganna idhu… pottu thaaki irukeenga…
    thappu senjirundha mannichidunga.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Chakra, naanum athaan solren – Chennai veru, Srirangam veru ๐Ÿ™‚

    Athu naale thaan onnule poyi mudhalle utkaachchindu appuram innonnukku final aaga poyi paduththukkanum ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I also observed that Suitcase wrapping instrument, last time when I visited. I had seen that in Milan Malpensa Airport, earlier…… This is very helpful for our type of suitcases… Some people even want their suitcases unscratched, you know.. For them, it is a good solution.

  16. Hometown is always where the heart it. Whatever happens, Coimbatore retains that special place for me. The bhelpuris by the road side and the teas in the local bakery can never be replaced …ever

  17. Chakra,

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time. But, this is the first time in the comments section :)..good analysis…btw, i heard that Maris theatres have been sold and they are to be converted as shopping complexes ;)) Good to know that atleast they are still showing movies!

  18. Sundaresan – Welcome here!

    It wd be sad to see Maris theatres go. For a long time, they have been a landmark at Trichy. Though they aren’t best theatres at Trichy (esp. when compared to Ramba/Oorvasi & Sippy), they are good ones… it’d be bad if one another landmark gives way to a shopping mall.

  19. If you think Chennai is hot, pay a visit to Hyderabad in summer. Its even more worse down there. Still no one is saying no to reducing temp by 10 degrees.

    Just curious, is there any water now in Cauvery?I havent been to trichy for couple of years.

    Traffic in Trichy might be unregulated but atleast the congestion isnt there.

    I thought Peanut candies are available in UK and US too or am I mistaken?

    “National Newspaper” – They print information as “facts” (sometimes too dry) instead of “articles” (Except for the change in size of page, other newspapers can be mistaken for magazines). However this is what makes that newspaper special and widely read in TN. Even for editorials, they usually provide space for both sides to be debated. Atleast this was the case till a few years back when I stopped reading it (Now only online news and Hindu online isnt that good)

  20. Dheepak Ra – Thanks for dropping by.

    Cauvery: Didn’t go anywhere near Cauvery. I don’t think theres any water in Cauvery now.. hav never seen cauvery with water in May.

    Traffic @ Trichy: There are too many diversions now coz of some construction works.. so, it is congested as well as unregulated.

    Peanut Candies are avbl in UK. Unless you get the ones imported from India, they aren’t of the same quality as you find in India. The jaggery they use is of different kind (i am not sure whether it is jaggery or something else) and also the density of peanuts in the candy is less.

    National newspaper – I was reading that paper after a really long time and I couldn’t find the standard for which it was once known. Now, it is nothing but a mouthpiece of Congress… I would like to see this paper change its ways soon or would like to see it fail.

  21. Ah. oru documentary partha thirupthi.
    Marris is not the Marrris it was? Too bad.
    About HINDU – Hindu’s USP is their sports coverage i think. Esp folks like Nirmal Shekhar etc.
    Chennai cooler by 10 deg C.? Asai padalam thappu illai. Vera enna solla? Btw try places like Ahmedabad during summer.
    Sun is blazing till 6 and there is light till around 7-7.30
    I was there about 3 weeks back. Dry heat. That will give you sunstroke. Chennai veyilukku kovil katti kumbidalaam.

  22. Prabhu Karthik – Also, many ppl buy the paper for the advertisements – esp. Opportunities section & College Admission related ads. Hindu offers lot of good things, not just Sports. The area where it fails is – neutrality. Its miserably biased. Certainly doesn’t augur well for an establishment that prides itself on its 127 yrs of existence.

    Madras veyil jaasthiya irukkunnu sonna en pa Ahmedabad po, Hyderabad po nu solreenga… andha vilayatukellam naan varala…

  23. Hi Chakra,

    Nice update. I heard that Maris theatre has been sold to Apollo hospitals and a hospital is going to come in that place. Anyhow it is sad to see a landmark vanishing.

  24. Chakra, Welcome back to reality. I know how it feels to leave the little one. To be honest, I was surpised that you blogged on the “Paneer Soda”… it is still my favourite. Can any of the cola’s replace the good ol’ paneer soda … or the Kali Mark?

    Waiting for the pics…

  25. Chakra, I agree with you on the biased nature of The Hindu and so is Indian Express. In particular, if you see some of the articles written in their website, you would notice that their only aim is to say something against BJP and always favouring congress
    There is a general feeling in the media that they should put jaalra to congress whatever they do (or don’t do)

  26. PVS – Apollo at the place of Maris? hmm… its a news to me. Interesting to note the kind of news this forum provides.. Anyway, wd miss Maris.

    Would take a long time to forget the ‘paal abishegam’ performed over Rajini’s cutout on the day when Badsha was released.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Sriram – I have a feeling that Express is tilted towards the other side as they had a long standing trouble with Congress right from Indira – Rajiv days. Also, I feel that they are not so blatantly biased. Opinions do differ.

  28. I am sure you shd have read the editorial on Sonia for the completion of 1 year of UPA’s rule…I cudnt still stop laughing at it…check out the latest “The Week” for an article on Raghul(http://www.the-week.com/25jun05/currentevents_article1.htm) on how he is taking the projects to open confrontation…that is from an MP who had spoken jus once in the parliament…”
    In his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha in March, Rahul pointed a finger at the state government for not paying arrears worth Rs 517 crore to farmers during 2002-2003
    Plain hilarious…the media is turning just a bunch of sycophants..

  29. Krish – you are spot on.. It was that editorial which triggered such a stmt. from me… i got mighty pissed off on the day i read that.

    I wonder why the media is going behind Sonia… what makes them make a fool of themselves.

    wd check out the Week article.

  30. Me, Chakra and Anand, add another Thiruvallikeni Theradi Theru enthusiast! BTW Chakra, you dont like idli? Thats news to me. Even I dont like idlis – daily. But I do like to eat them once in a while – esp Rathna Cafe ones. Another poiint in favour of idli is that it’s very cheap. Do u guys remember vaitha hotel opp Parthasarathy swami temple..management has chaged hands, but not the cost of idlies nor the quality and size of it. But Saravana Bhavan idies have shrunk. Sorry Chakra, to use your comments to write about idli which you dont like. I just cudnt help it!!!
    Now that I have asked an apology, let me add another point – the Murugan idli kadai idlies do not fascinate me as mch as Rathna Cafe idli sambhar or Vaitha Hotel idlis.

  31. Hi Chakra,

    Reg the suitcase wrapping it is available in Heathrow also. Terminal three i think near zone C or D you can get your suitcase wrapped for 5 Pounds though i think a roll of tape (big industrial size one..) would do the trick !!

  32. Guru – I hate Idlies… I hate the very sight of it.. I agree that its cheap and some what hygienic.. without oil et al. But for a person who eats in all sorts of eateries in Chennai, hygiene wouldn’t be on the top of the list..

  33. CBE is my home sweet home.
    Pity I have to leave it for hot furnace Chennai to take up a job with CTS on July 1.
    I will miss CBE climate and sweet water.

  34. OK Paneer Soda is my favourite too but you did not write anything about Nanaari. It is a really heavenly drink comes in Goli-Soda bottle or in the syrup form. Wow they are great drinks maan

  35. Hi all of you. Bovonto is a drink that is more than any of those fizzy, fuzzy and chu chu products.

    Bovonto is a product of kalimark who produces that along with fruitang, torino and kalimark ginger.

    Actually bovonto contains a flavour of ice cream as when drunk it leaves a taste of ice cream

  36. Hi all of you.

    First of all radhika and aamir khan do not have any sense of common usefulness. they only want to sip and be sipped for ever in their life. Theirโ€™s is just only temporary enjoyment.

    FOR MINE JUST READ BELOW.

    I ENDORSE BOVONTO AND ITS ALLIED PRODUCTS PRODUCED BY KALI MARK.

    Bovonto is a drink that is more than any of those fizzy, fuzzy and chu chu products.

    Bovonto is a product of kalimark who produces that along with fruitang, torino and kalimark ginger.

    Actually bovonto contains a flavour of ice cream as when drunk it leaves a taste of ice cream

    As such Bovonto and its allied products are produced from south india, in the CITY of MADURAI.

    NAANGA SENJU KAATIRUVOMLA

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