Come December and Chennai glows. Seriously…the place glows…the greenery has a velvet tinge…the morning hue is mild and gentle…the afternoon sings a secret lullaby…the evenings are pristine and divine and the nights are spiritual…
I had the opportunity of spending three peaceful weeks in Chennai during one December, a couple of years ago, and we, hubby, kids and me, decided to stay in New Woodlands near which is the famous Music Academy.
If Chennai glows during December Woodlands glows all through the 365 days. The small temple inside the Woodlands hotel premise and the small little convenient store make the place even more endearing.
Morning dosas and idlis later we would walk to the nearby market place and hop into an auto rickshaw to go to the City Centre Mall (thats another story) or Spenser Plaza (nothing can take the charm away from this monument) or the new Express Avenue. Whiling time away in these malls is one of the simplest things in life to do. Window shopping, people watching (I can write four volumes on this itself), binge eating…cafe hopping, book-store rampaging…..list is pretty long.
…and then as the sun goes down, its back to the premises of the good old Woodlands. On days there are weddings, which is like every other day, the entire place wears a festive look and we could witness the typical wedding scenes of a Tam-Brahm (Tamil Brahmin) household, with typical scenes….different age groups of uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces, joking and laughing around…the grandfather, grandmothers, grandaunts and granduncles, participating in the gaiety with as much glee as the youngsters…the fragrance of the jasmine that is used to decorate the bride’s braid and everyone Else’s, mixed with the yummy food aroma….hmmmm…it was heaven!
We used to just hang around in the vicinity as would any other hotel guest just to relive the moments.
December also necessarily means the music season. It is then a great moment of musical knowledge when you go for lunch at the hotel. Since the hotel was very close to the Music Academy, the music lovers after the concert would straight head to Woodlands and in groups would occupy the tables and discuss the concert. I used to find it highly entertaining! Along with ragas, the mamas and mamis would also lavish praise on the tomato rasam, potato roast or the payasam served in their thali. To be in that age group, to be able to enjoy the joys of life, to be able to share that joy with similar-minded people, seemed like the ideal life, at least for me.
Before December wore away and the musical season ended, we said good-bye-till-we-meet-again to Chennai one Friday afternoon when we loaded our stuff in the Innova heading to Bangalore. The tree-filled Woodlands, the tiffin room rollicking with food-goodies and good-foodies who loved their grub, the small temple with the wafting fragrance of sandalwood agarbathis and the jasmine garlands waiting to adorn Ganesha’s neck, the convenient store that used to be second home (after the hotel room) for my kids and the simple joys around, refused to leave our mind for a long long time.
Like we said, till we meet again Chennai…
Bangalore was slowly coming into view as the dusk settled into darkness. The distant silhouette of dancing lights, and the motorcycles with guy-girl combo zipping past us, said just one thing: This is Bangalore…this is THE Bangalore… on Bangalore, then the next post….