With inputs from Nadika Nadja
Madras, Chennai – both denote the same city, and yet, are vastly different spaces.
Madras was the city through which Nagesh walked, even as he mocked the uppity people on the roads, and the congested spaces they lived in.
Madras also belonged to MGR, who raced through a near-empty Anna Nagar on his rickshaw.
And to Sivaji Ganesan, as he celebrated with friends at the Anna Nagar tower.
Just as Revathy rain-danced her way into our hearts.
It reluctantly allowed serial killers, too.
And, played host to the romance between a blind artist and his dream woman.
Much later, as Chennai, it helped Madhavan and Siddharth cement their lover boy images on its shores, even as their orthodox families loomed above them.
And, gaped as a bunch of young boys from North Madras laid down the rules for their ‘area’.
It allowed a ghost to haunt people right in the middle of the city.
…And was the land of dreams for young men and women from TN’s villages, who spent their time alternating between dingy dorms and brightly lit shopping centres.
Chennai was where Raghava Lawrence and co danced below flyovers to help celebrate that uniquely Chennai thing – the Bus Day.
It was also where a young Madurai couple – lost, and in love – sought shelter.
Chennai allowed itself to be drenched in rain, just as a young man clapped his eyes on his dream woman for the first time ever.
Also, made way as a lost man tried to make sense of his heart break.
And, made two little boys realise that no pizza can match a home-made dosa.
Note: This story was originally published on August 22, 2017. It’s being republished today on occasion of Madras Day 2019.