I used to come to Madras as a child during all my holidays. The fun of enjoying the Marina beach building sand castles, not only encouraged us to dream big, but also gave us lot of fun and time with family and cousins. Hailing from Eluru town in Andhrapradesh, to me the old Madras was the best thing that happened in all my summer vacations. Looking forward to eat sundal and muruku and have chuku kappi in the shores of Marina was a fun.. cane juice, giant wheel, collecting shells, mango with salt and pepper, and the best of kites and paper fans. Then to run to the Ice house (now called Vivekananda Illam), and counting statues that stand tall talking about the culture of Madras is something that i would cherish doing even today. The serenity of the city had changed along with its name. Namma Chennai is the slogan the old Madras now sings. The beautiful buildings, the vast marina, the might mount road, and the best of Adyar allzha maram are few things that would not change in this vast city. Having had the chance to go through out the city in my past 16 years as a resident I think I had the opportunity to taste the conservative strings of old Madras and the renowned newness of Namma Chennai.
I sometimes wonder if i am having a double personality just like this vast metropolitan of India. Highly conservative and traditional Chennai, with its aromatic flavours of Filter Coffee, Sambar Idly and Muruku sundal in food, the heritage of kalashretra and much older tradition of the Music, and enhancting classical and divine musical spell that makes this place a threat to live. Dance, drama and music is in the blood of the people here. All languages, religions and cultures mix up in unity and integrity. Diversity of the city welcomes people from all neighbouring states with a warmest hug and a open arms. Today old madras transforms itself as a seat of growth, tranquility, spiritual destination and the patronage of the ancient world class temples that speak volumes of the artistic brilliance of the people lived in the city. The other side of the new Chennai is hyped, modern, and a refreshing to the new generations. The city has the best of golf courses in India, beautiful stadiums, posh and well equipped sports facilities, new Squash grounds in Chetpet, artistically upcoming software technology parks, amazing communities that bring in new culture, expansion of the city with new opportunities in education and employment. The city lags no where behind the modernisation in terms of entertainment as well. The latest is all available in Inox, and Satyam multiplexs and Spencers is the sheer destination for shopping. Not just this, but young crowds have lot of welcoming pubs and discos, where they chill down not just on weekends but throughout. Saris, Salwars, Kurtha, Denims, all go well in this city and its all so synced up so well that you can just be yourself, the way you want to be. If you are person of old traditions, you have lot of places, and sabhas and temples that keep you busy throughout or if you are interested in the modern sphere of life, the city has enough to endear. Not just this, the city is upcoming destination for major industrial giants spinning the economy with faster acceleration. One of the most modern, safe and structured, organised and mostly a happy Indian City- That's my Chennai!!!