In the summer of 2011 I had finalized my plans to join SRM University in Chennai and began planning for my migration to Chennai. My mom who had lived in Chennai for a short while used to tell me about the intolerable climate and of the famous Marina beach. Whatever else I knew about Chennai was from the dozens of old Malayalam movies in which the hero goes to “Madurasi” in search of either a job or to become an actor. Then as usual began my online research into the city. Pretty much every blog or forum had pretty had the same thing to say. Of the rich culture and traditions off Chennai. And well, a couple of other things too, like the corrupt traffic police and the extreme climate and the garbage and stories of people answering nature’s call in public.
Then one fine morning I was off to Chennai with my grandfather. This was my first visit to Chennai. We stayed at a hotel in Egmore. But all my plans of exploring the city was scrapped as I had caught a bad case of food poisoning. That was my first “taste” of Chennai. I returned to Chennai soon after this time soaking in the ways of the old city and very careful about my choice of restaurants. I had my first day of college. Found new friends. Had sambar rice. Caught a bunch of diseases. Donated blood for the first time. Had my first solo trip to Bangalore. Loved. Fought. Cried. Lived. And then stasis.
I still haven’t gotten used to this life. Chennai is still a strange foreign land. Oh, and I hate Sambar rice.