Madurai. More the change, more the same

A week has passed since I returned from Madurai. I have discovered that such trips have unintended outcomes. Far different from the ones that were the stated. This post seeks to capture some images of Madurai. Images from the eyes of an outsider who was once an insider ! An inside-out view. Perhaps an outside-in view !

The city where I grew up now seems to be bursting at its seams. While I am part of the gang that causes other cities like Mumbai to burst at their seams, the fact that Madurai seems to be going through a similar transition is ‘interesting’ to say the least ! The city seems to have gotten louder. They are mile away, but still blare their loud horns with a seeming sense of urgency of a dissident MLA reaching the governors house to pull down a government! Or, am I suddenly experiencing the horns to be loud ?

The city walls & vertical spaces seem to hold more intense pictures of happiness than the ground below. Faces of all hue, shapes and sizes stare at you. Announcing some ceremony or the other at home. A child is getting her head tonsured. A girl has become a woman. Somebody else is getting married. Yet another has passed away. Lifes various stages can be seen on Madurai’s canvas !

Somewhere inbetween there is Thirukural with explanations from Karunanidhi the CM also peep into the eye space. I look bemused. The old sage and his couplets are relevant at this jet age ! I am not sure how many read his works but calling out his name evokes a tamizh pride they say. Now, I am not the one to ascribe meanings to this effort from the government to popularize Thirukural.

In my growing up days, I remember the good old Pandian Roadways Corporation (PRC) buses. They used to be painted a flamboyant silver. I sometimes think that my wonder years & the PRC buses demised at the same time. Nowadays you have ‘minibuses’ which are predominantly fluorescent green in colour.

Other buses are pink. Others are a deep orangish fluorescent red. God knows where these colours come from. But those are the colours that stay with me, as I close my eyes and think of the town in the modern day avatar.

And by the way Double DVD is de rigeur feature in most inter city buses. With two TVs and some ‘comedy’ scenes replayed endlessly. I think these buses will get Guinness record for maximum replays of the same scenes. After Sun TV that is. If you are traveling to this side of the country, this is a ‘must experience’ feature!

Of all the sounds that would punctuate the night air would be the sound of hot iron on the tawa. Making Kothu Parotta ( Minced Parathas). Made from maida and filled with oil, lipsmackingly tasty and ofcourse, guranteed to sit on your lips for a couple of minutes and on your hips for a lifetime. The clang of metal through the maida & oil continue to puncture the night air. With a renewed vigour that would give Mumbai traffic noises a serious run for their money !

The city has changed. But the essence remains. Perhaps reflective of my eyes. And perhaps my soul. More of the change and more of the same !

The temple. Oh yes, the temple was in a training program. I mean a refurbishment of sorts. The chitrai festival is to hit the city in 20 odd days. And arrangements were on a full swing.

More of the change. More of the same !!

8 thoughts on “Madurai. More the change, more the same

  1. priya says:

    I have been ther few times and the best is temple and flowers as far I know as a tourist ther.

    Too many hoardings and wonder peole don’t raise any query.

  2. Swatantra says:

    Nice pictures! I am sure the trip to the roots has been mast!

  3. guranteed to sit on your lips for a couple of minutes and on your hips for a lifetime….

    – good one!


  4. januM says:

    landed here just thr blog-hopping.. quite intersting stuff you’ve put up!!
    wil visit often aft this 🙂

  5. Jeevan says:

    Some times back there was hotel name Bava near my grandma home, it remains me this famous name those days in that location. Very different around Madurai, esp. the invitation for the family functions. Last time it was least we were at Madurai, we hope to explore more this district someday.

    Chithirai Vazthukkal nanba 🙂

  6. Arun Sundar says:

    Madurai is indeed a nice city. I hv been there twice and loved it. Esp the temple!

  7. Shiva says:

    A vivid narration and the pcitures are cute. I was there on Apr-12, just for a day. Didn’t have much time to note the changes, but while passing through Sellur, god knows how many banners I saw – I still dont understand the concept.

    Hope you had a good time

  8. S. Sarat Chandran says:

    I also live in Mumbai now and grew up in schooldays in Madurai. As rightly observed by you, the glory of PRC buses painted in all silver color is gone now. The all silver color was unique to Madurai. All sorts of incredible colors and designs (particularly nasty checks) have been introduced for city buses now. Probably an exercise in cost cutting. I was also dismayed when the name Pandian denoting the glory and history of Madurai was removed and the drab name TNSTC was introduced.

    What is needed is a public campaign to get the old color and glory on the city buses. In Mumbai, you may recall that BEST was forced to abandon its idea of phasing out double-deckers by public pressure clamouring that double-deckers were part of Mumbai’s heritage.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.