June 12, 2007

The Olden Golden Madras

The other day, after a refreshing dinner of typical South Indian vathal kozhambu and cabbage poriyal and paruppu chaadam, when the whole family sat down for a relaxing post-dinner chat, the topic turned to the Madras of yore and what made it so special and cosy than what it is today!

Talking old times tale is one favourite past time of ours! There never is anything more interesting than looking back at the pages of the past, smelling the old scents of long-lost time and with a dazed look, landing back to the mundane existence of today...with a bitter-sweet feeling!

After bringing alive the 14 transfers that my Thatha had to undertake in his job under the Electricity Board, our conversation moved over to his life in Egmore and appa,thatha and paatti began to relate anecdotes from it.

They remembered nambeeshan kadai butter and his happiness when the butter rates were raised from 10 paisa! They also fondly spoke of the Panchami Complex on Egmore High Road where they bought their provisions and Balan's brother-in-law Narayanan from whom they got their vegetables! Elcose Cloth shop was still vivid in their memory.

Amma remembered how, as a young newly-wed, she went to see Malayalam movies in Sapphire Theatre(near Gemini Flyover). 'Iyer the great','CBI Diary kurippu','Number 20, Madras Mail' and many other Malayalam classics were witnessed there by my entire family!

How times change! The past always seems so golden! Madras seems more close to the heart than the clinical Chennai! People and places of the past have become so insignificant, and yet, at some nostalgic hour are remembered so affectionately!

Alwar kadai in Mylapore is still there,but in a de-glorified form! I remembered my own childhood favourites- Hanaha stores Bilal, who always had a pleasant smile and from whose shop I bought a notebook with a painting of a lovely lady with a horse. I still have the book. That was the last Item I bought before the shop closed down. It was a big shop with everything from tennis racquets to biscuits in it! I used to be fascinated and look around in awe every once I went there!

There also was Siva stores near school-now replaced by a watch shop. Siva had the most yummiest Kadalai urundais(groundnut cakes) in the locality! They were garnished with grated coconut! Siva was a very good friend to our family and he came home with his kid Aarthi and wife before he closed shop!

Who knows where these people are and what they are doing! Do they remember their shop-flockers as fondly as we remember their shops? Do others still pause, rewind and play again, the good old days and reminisce about the people of the past like we do?

Life's become so fast that we just don't have the time to communicate and keep in touch with every person we come across in the journey! But well... on some relaxed day, over a cup of coffee or after a hearty meal, it still feels nice to think of everyone whom we came across!


Nithya said...

Oh ! I absolutely loved this post...Reminds me of the kovilku pakathla irukara Annachi kadai, the friendly baker, who used to shower me with hot hot oven fresh biscuits, during my periodical visits to his shop....

I love the old Madras too...The life in Chennai has become very materialistic...Continuous rat-race..
Sigh...Coimbatore is going to become like CHennai sometime soon ...IT lifestyle..Ho-hum

Unknown said...

we have all the means-and-ways to be in touch with almost every single soul we came across.. with internet, world is very small but yes, not many makes effort to do so.. and 'no time' just an excuses..

hmm... sapphire/blue diamond.. the only theatre which used to have 10am show... and and yap, i remember... CBI Diary kurippu..

Ramya Shankar said...

Was such a delight just to read your post ! When you jog down memory lane, you realize how far you've come !
Makes me feel OLD !! :D

Aprilslady said...

Eevrything is SO green in my memory!!!

You left me out of egmore,darls!!!I stayed there (Gengu Reddy Road)till i was 2.Also Dr.Bhanumathy was my Pediatrician....As a tiny baby I used to identify my injection errands to Dr.B and bawl out like hell!Did thatha tell you that to?

I remember watching Iyer the Great in Saphire(were you born then???)...buying bric-a-brac in Hanaga...ah!!!have i started to sound like our grand mamma?

Cute article...our dear thatha is a treasure house of anecdotes:)

Kush said...

Nice write-up Sandy...nostalgic... one that binds one to another in a nice, cosy feeling of oneness :))

so many one's eh? :)))

Subramanian Ramachandran said...

hahaa sandhya tales of yore will never be a bore........

and yea as ramya said, athukkula neenga ellorum aunty aayita maathiri pazhangathai lam solrae :).... if u rewind further to the late 70's and early 80's madras innum sooper stories lam kidaikkum :)

Kausikram Krishnasayee said...

i vote for a conservative madras!

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