Madras, Chennai etc.


At the mouth of Doraisamy Subway, there was a mild collision between two cars — a Santro hit an Ambassador from behind. Both were at fault and that is hardly the point. The men in the Ambassador, predictably, were not from South Madras; at least, they did not look like they were. The Santro had a family of three, predictably, from Mambalam; at least they did look like they were. The usual flare up lead to a reasonably rare but not entirely uncommon fist fight between the husband driver and the driver driver.

The woman in the Santro looked typical. Slightly plump, fair skinned and probably had a name like Visalakshi or Kamakshi. She had a child on her lap and looked to be in her early thirties. Was clad in a polyester salwar kameez that indicated she was millitary medium middle class. That is, if one needed more indicators after the Santro.

At that moment, she yelled — ‘thevidya payya, ootha….kottaya naariduven

I am not sure what class I belong to. Whatever the case, I did not quite gather the courage to take a photograph of the scene. I had to move all the way to the other side of the subway to laugh out loud.

Today, I saw the Times of India’s Chennai edition. There was an impressive front page write-up. The bottom section of that page was written by our own V Anand. It really was well done — I thought. Until I read it. I also reminded myself, The Hinduhad a supplement over the weekend that had pictures of couples at the Marina. On its front page.

Madras becoming Chennai is when the North Indians call it that. Or, when we decide this is all we can.

Moral of the story: Eventually, one gets what one wants.

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