Madurai musings !

The sights and sounds of home always ring in your ear. But when you are away for a while and get back, the sights and sounds are indeed pronounced.

For when you hear them, you know that you have missed them ! My travels took me home. To Madurai. Of course, it held some sounds and of course, some sights !

For instance, Auto-rickshaws still have this ‘blow horn’ !

Pressed with a certain stylish movement of the hand, there emerges a carefree hoot that could get a deaf year to perk. Ordinary auto rickshaw drivers will of course, think of themselves to share a gene pool with a music maestro and hoot their way through traffic! The mind rushes back to physics lessons, where the distinct between ‘sound’ and ‘noise’ were taught !

Regulars at this blog would have read many a post about the Meenakshi Amman temple at Madurai, which is a regular fixture during each visit. This time was no different.

There are tourists. Foreign tourists. Speaking Italian. Perhaps it was French. Well, it wasn’t English, for sure. And then Marathi speaking rural folk. All walking about in awe. Interspersed with endless chatter and click of mega pixel laden cameras.

The spirit of travel, wonder, discovery and joy awes. Always. Aware that native places have tourists as well. And the natives who call some other place as ‘home’ always come back. And some of them look in awe and wonder. Tourists at their own home.

The roads around the temple are silent of traffic. Paved and cleared. Quite different from earlier times that were punctuated with traffic. Today, there are electric vehicles that run and boards that announce the fare. While the mind rushes to spot spelling errors on this notice board….. Go ahead and spot them too…

And just as you spot them, say a prayer of thanks. The vehicles not being allowed here means that the Gods have been spared of soot from mega horse powered cars and the mini orchestra horns they sport !

Women carrying a basket load on their heads is as common as a paan-spit stain in a government building.

Pushcarts and door delivery boys reigns common here in Mumbai. But these women, with their gait and ease of movement, are an inseparable part of small town living.

Lifting ten odd kilos on the head and walking about 20 odd kilometers a day, is no small feat. Think of doing it day in and day out. Now, think of that feeding the family. Well, if you didn’t swallow hard… perhaps you should try lifting a basket and walking. And try doing five meters

The waistlines of Madurai folks are built in the street corners. Street corners lined with roadside stores that churn out the best tasting vadas !

Deep fried, hot and piping. Served with some coconut chutney on a banyan leaf, they are a riot of a delight to parched taste buds. Of course, they get straight to the hip !

So what ! Home grown hips can indeed be the next rage in town !

23 thoughts on “Madurai musings !

  1. I'm Nu says:

    F I R S T ! 🙂

  2. I'm Nu says:

    Lovely post Kavi…and hey the horns do exist? Great..Our school rickshaw had this horn blowing in peculiar manner..remembered that !:)

    You know as dumb as I can sound..I could not find any spelling mistakes 🙁

    The vadas look yum..and the oil below them looks like soothing water 🙂 Nice take !

  3. Lou says:

    Great black and white photo of the women! Nice composition, good detail.

    Whenever I travel, I pick one picture that captures the mood of the place, and I enlarge it and frame it. If I was on this trip, that picutre would be the one.

  4. That picture of the meduwadas just emanated all the wonderful cooking smells. Maybe I am just hungry . Hope I find the chutney soon. I can even taste the stuff. Yum. 🙂

    Wonderful post. And nice to see the mavshis enjoying the visit, enjoying being photgraphed by someone they dont know is one of their own….:-)

  5. ♥ Braja says:

    omg, Kavi, you will NOT believe this, but we have posts about exactly the same subject matter!!! :)))

  6. bodaat says:

    i LOVE vadas. 🙂

  7. Insignia says:

    Observation at its best!! I believe you require that ounce of creativity and skill to be churning out music from those horns!!

    And its news to me that vehicles are not allowed near the temple!! Thats wonderful. The four streets have always been heavy with traffic.

    Those oil dripping vadas…one needs enough guts to gorge on them

  8. Neha says:

    home calling..the visit – greatest feeling…

    specially when you still find those good old horns honking out loud; like a warm welcome..I can so relate to all ths 🙂

    I was not aware that people speak marathi there..hmm

    loved the images..

    did you take the ride in the battery car? one round around four chithirai stree(t)s? wish you could post the car image too..

    medu vada; really tempting..I loved this line:
    “Women carrying a basket load on their heads is as common as a paan-spit stain in a government building.”

  9. Aparna says:

    The vada photo stole my heart, loved the ripple created by the dripping oil.
    The street food all over India is so delicious, who cares if the home grown hips become wider every now and then?

  10. wanderer says:

    A perfect way to travel around with India is reading through your blog posts..


  11. I agree being away from home the sights and sound keep coming to you.

    Nice post kavi and the pics were also too good!!

  12. radha says:

    I like the ‘waistlines of Madurai.. bit’. Tamilnadu has the best food to offer. And for a few brief moments one has to indulge.

  13. Swatantra says:

    Awesome.. visit to the roots always give so much pleasure as your posts reflects..

  14. Home Sweet Home:) Nice shots

  15. Very minute observations with beautiful pics. 🙂
    The vadas look really yummy yummy.
    Happy blogging! 🙂

  16. aativas says:

    Made me bit nostalgic about the place. I visited Madurai only once and that too long back. However, Tamilnadu has a special place in my heart and my life.. and Madurai is a part of that life too. Will visit once again .. wish I can.

  17. sujata says:

    this time the vada photo steals the show from the writer am afraid!!! Am glad you had a lovely trip home.

  18. Jeevan says:

    I ones said dad when our car horn doesn’t work, we should have a blow horn for emergence. I think do the auto drivers general blow horns now? they have there own rules to drive and rarely to hear this pomp pomp horns now.

    Roadside stores have a taste of wonder and I had that similarly couple of time lately. A nice experience here in sight and sense, thanks.

  19. Pearl says:

    “The waistlines of Madurai folks are built in the street corners.”

    This tickles me, Kavi. 🙂

    I was a tourist in my own town last summer. 🙂 Told anyone who asked that I was Canadian. It was lovely to be believed, and it was lovely to have my own people show me the best of my own city.

    Really, human beings are mostly (MOSTLY!) wonderful creatures!


  20. Kavi says:

    Nu : Yes ! First ! yes, the horns exist. Big time. You can perhaps miss seeing them. But you cant miss seeing them !

    Spell errors..never mind ! Langauge is about understanding. For the rest, there is spell checker !

    Lou : I have great admiration and regard for the women ! They are simply awesome and have tremendous resilience.

    Yes, i do exactly the same with the pictures as well !

    Ugich Konitari : YUM YUM YUM ! Thats how it was. For two rupees a piece, they were yum indeed.

    Yes ! It was nice to see them there ! And there was a quaint joy in seeing them. Like seeing a long lost friend or neighbour from your home !

    Braja : Yes ! The honk of the horns affects all of us !

    Bodaat : Well, who doesnt ! 🙂

    Insignia : Well, they have many ounces. That much i can tell you with certainty !

    For the vadas…well, you need to have guts to stay out of them. They are so very enticing !

    Neha : No, people dont speak Marathi there. The marati speaking folks had come visiting !

    No, i didnt take a ride. Took a walk. The car pictures…next time !

    did you know ‘medu’ means ‘soft’ !

    Aparna : Exactly. Who cares ? Perhaps the doctor. Well, whats the insurance for ? Just look at the ripple and rip off the vada ! Well…thats what i did ! 🙂

    Wanderer : Welcome here ! Thanks for the comment !

    NR : Thank you my friend !

    Radha : Well, the problem is that those ‘brief moments’ get quite close to each other ! And then before you know, there is a fixed deposit in the tummy thats hard to break ! 🙂

    Swatantra : Thank you indeed !

    The Holy Lama : thank you !

    Chandrika Shubham : yes, the vadas were indeed yummy ! thank you !

    aativas : Did something happen in Madurai , that its impacted your life ? You know…Gandhi’s turning point in life, where he took to wearing only Khadi happened in Madurai…!

    Let me know whenever you want to visit..Will sure be of some help ! 🙂

    Sujata : The vada was the center stage indeed ! yes..we had a super time !

    Jeevan : It is an awesome instrument ! And very popular too ! And very effective too !

    Roadside food…well, you have to taste the food here too. Always wonderful ! 🙂

    Pearl : MOSTLY ! But ofcourse ! Mostly ! 🙂

  21. I'm Nu says:

    Hey but no tell me…what were the errors in spellings…I gotta know !!

  22. Sriram says:

    Nice pics n descriptions. I was in Madurai last week. Visited Meenakshi Amman kovil, feasted on idly vadai dosais…missed out on Jigiridhanda though. next time! 🙂

  23. wils says:

    Felling like gone to Madurai & eat Vada.
    Nice post Kavi.

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