Another City. Same Tunes.

Work had me travel to Chennai.

Chennai is like any other Indian metropolis. Only more familiar to me. Thats because, I can read whats written on the walls. Those posters and graffiti scream for attention and my mind hoovers up, before you could say hoover up !

My eyes rest on the road and sees whats abuzz. The strife for more, the constant stretching of limits, an existential reality that is so typical of all big cities. And Chennai is no exception.

We drive on & I see the St.Thomas Mount Shrine, atop the hillock. I vividly recall my times there. Beautiful, serene and pristine place, the ‘mount’, soothed frayed nerves in a tough time, many years ago.

As we drive on i spot a BMW showroom ! Ah. I think. I smile to myself. The object behind many a prayer, i think !! Self chiding auto-starts. ‘Devious Mind’ !

Forcefully wanting to switch attention, i close my eyes. The ears come alive. ‘Suryan FM’, the local FM Radio station, is on. Perhaps the drivers favourite. ‘Blade No:1’ is the program that is on, with a gent who calls himself ‘Blade Shankar speaking non-stop, as though stopping would get activate a nuke or something !

For now, this program has listeners call in and narrate a PJ ( PJ stood for Poor Joke. I don’t know what it stands for in the modern times). And this gent himself has a few PJs up his sleeve.

‘An Elephant walks on the road and come to a signal. But he doesn’t cross the road. Why?’, asks someone. My eyes are happy to remain shut. Half in disbelief, half in mild-amusement. ‘Because it is a Zebra crossing’, someone else says ! A Siamese twin combo of ‘sigh and a smile’ escape escape my pursed lips.

Interspersed with such prolific thinking, are ads for various products. One such is for ‘aruna kayiru’ ( RTT: a black string tied around a toddler’s (usually) waist. I think i had one tied around my waist when i used to crawl. As a kid, that is. So they say).

This ad goes ‘buy 1000 metres of ‘aruna kayiru’ get 5 metres free’. I wonder, why on earth would anybody buy 1000 metres of that string ? But thats the ad.

My eyes remain closed.

In a short while, there is a movie song that is being played. A male voice croons :

Paal PappaZhi,
Nalla Takkazhi
Own Kootazhi
Ennai Samali


Milky Papaya
Good Tomato
Your friend (me)
try handling me !!

I shake my head in disbelief. lyricist are working real hard, i think ! And almost as if on cue, the young driver says, ‘ nice song saar’ ! My head still shaking, i tell the driver ‘I have been away for long’. Not in the least sounding as though my presence here would have caused the songs & lyrics themselves to be any different. But my ‘bearing quotient’ would have been !!

The car stops. My eyes open to see.

We are at a toll gate. There is a signboard for a ‘reserved road’ which says, ‘Govt Vehicles and extra wide vehicles only’ ! I wonder why would they want to make that distinction !! Govt vehicles with their occupants automatically are extra wide. Aren’t they ?

My eyes involuntarily close. My ears become alive again. Suryan FM has a contest going now. This ‘Blade Shankar’ chap asks for an equivalent tamil word for ‘Election’ and provides viewers with numbers to call in with answers.

I wonder, since when ‘election’ or its tamil equivalent hit such nadirs that they become subjects for arbid quizzes on a show titled ‘Blade No : 1’. The chest thumping on ‘we are the largest democracy’ must have rubbed somebody right. Or wrong. somewhere.

I shudder to think of the possibility of some bloke calling in with a wrong word.

Thankfully we reach our destination. And i don’t know, what happened. I hope people got it right. Hope springs eternal. They say.

In Chennai too.

12 thoughts on “Another City. Same Tunes.

  1. Aleta says:

    And Greg wonders why I like to be in the living room with nothing on for sound in darkness, not the lights, not the television, not the radio. I find it more peaceful than the buzz of media and ads. Your post seems an overload of things to do and say and buy. Where was nature…

  2. Priya says:

    May be the govt’ vehicles need not toll at all. U never know.. Very funny and you are observing loads of things.

  3. //Thats because, I can read whats written on the walls.// Chennai mathiri varuma 🙂 🙂

    i loved the radio stations, anytime taking a cab the driver will ask me if I want to listen to the radio. bt yes, the quality is so and so. too much of kadi jokes will make u bored lol.

    how long there sar? or r u back already?

  4. Pearl says:

    Nice! 🙂 That was very funny and a lovely description of the bustle of a city. As for the lyricists words — wow. I realize that there are some vapid lyrics out there, but when we add fruits, actual fruits!, that’s just weird.



  5. I felt like travelling with you with my eyes closed as well. Suddenly I do not hear any thing. It seems you left me alone in the Taxi. What is this Kavi?

    A very good writing as usual.

  6. Taken in a light note, I personally all these PJs, more popularly known in Tamil as “Kadi”. It is sometimes stupid sometimes witty, sometimes utterly indigestible! But a good “Kadi” is always welcome!!!

  7. Between the BMW, “Extra-wide (government) vehicles” (any connection between the two and certain caped politicians), 1000 metres of “Aruna kayiru”(ecstatic about the 5 free; RUSH!), and the really terrible song (saar), How did you miss one of those brilliant Rajanikant acrobatic things happening somewhere around you ?

  8. Swatantra says:

    A very good writing… i liked the title the most.. Same tunes another city.. I am visiting chennai from the days of Amway to Truly Natural.. I like to shop at different places like Nallis..

    A very beautiful post as always!

  9. Baaji says:

    that was a very nice trip to Chennai Kavi, with all the Madras Masalas – I could even smell the Aromas of Chennai… luved it!! thanks!

  10. Kavi says:

    Aleta : Sometimes, the silence speaks much louder than the loudest noise. And speaks straight to the soul

    Priya : Ah ! Possibly they dont need toll ! But then, extra wide vehicles would !! 🙂

    I didnt think of it though ~

    GP : Too much of kadi ! Well, when they have an entire program on it, do you think it is too much or just about ok ! LOL !

    back in mumbai now !

    Balaji : Sorry sir !!! Thank You ! I have a few pieces to write about Chennai though ! Will pick it right back on !! 🙂

    Pearl : Wow. Thats some imagination. i didnt venture in that direction…you make me think !!

    Babu : A good kadi is good. How much can you take..! Thats the question..and you know the law of averages works.. 🙂

    Ugich Konitari : Those were some remarkable connections !!! Fantastic. i didnt think of them.

    And by the way, i have no connections to politicians. Caped or otherwise !! But Rajinikant..well, thats a different issue !! LOL

    Swatantra : Ah ! Nallis !!! They have one swell shop there..dont they !! How have you been !

    Baaji : Welcome here and Thank You !!!

  11. Jeevan says:

    You taken us into locality u pass on. The varies FM’s replace the use of CD and cassettes in our vehicles, as its non stop. I used to catch that blade before, but the chap conduction the program irritates the damn.

  12. Pooh! says:

    Lol! As a RJ at a radio I know how difficult it is to keep people interested and keep them tuned in. But some FM shows in India are over the top and songs… half the latest songs are unbearable!

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