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My Love Letter to Madras

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Recently I moved to Bangalore for my architectural internship and it reminded me of the abundance of love I have for the city I grew up in. There are three overriding factors that I miss most about Chennai and I strongly believe they cannot be replaced or found in any other city. These are the experiences I miss the most and look forward to visiting when I come back.

The Beach

A very common question I got asked was “what do you miss the most about Chennai” and almost always the answer was the Beach. Although not a frequent visitor of Marina, I never truly realized how much I would miss the beach until I moved miles away from it.

A morning car drive to the beach is no longer just a casual 20-minute drive away from my place anymore, it’s a sacred ceremony held among the people who realize that in some cities beaches aren’t just a stroll away, that in some cities people have to make plans in advance book tickets or drive for hours if they want to see a sunrise on the beach. Our Marina beach sunrise isn’t just a beautiful reflection of nature’s masterpiece every morning, it’s also a sense of community, bringing in so many people of various backgrounds together to witness the sunrise. A drive to the beach is not just a drive to the beach, it’s also a drive along the Napier bridge, a peek into the Senate House, and a look at the Lighthouse; it’s the whole package.

The Commute

Moving to Bangalore I just walked everywhere as the weather was very accommodating for that activity, but I weirdly missed the commute over bridges. There’s something about Chennai and a bustling bridge. Be it over T Nagar during its peak traffic hours (still nothing compared to a regular day of Bangalore’s traffic) over the glimmering lights of good old Chennai staple stores, or the long stretch over the Adyar river, and my personal favourite, the Anna Arch bridge, right at sunset. Something about going over a bridge makes me nostalgic and reminds me of the excitement I had going over these bridges as a kid.

Speaking of everyday commute, I missed the Chennai metro. Maybe it’s a biased connection I have towards the Chennai metro, but the Bangalore metro is way too complicated and crowded. The views from the Chennai metro were indeed missed, the excitement of seeing the VR mall from afar cannot be replaced. I remember the first time a Chennai friend came along with me to use the Bangalore metro, he was shocked at how long the queues are at the changing platform. The connection I have to the Chennai metro is personal as I’ve been here from the time it started and it can never be replaced.

The Food

I must admit, I eventually adapted to the food in Bangalore, however, I always craved good old Chennai food. I have never felt more grateful for Chennai’s chaat after leaving the city. I went weeks unsatiated because my craving for chaat was never satisfied. The first thing I would always ask for when I come back home is Chaat. I also missed the bread omelette every time it rained in Bangalore which was very frequent. But most importantly I missed good old warm Tamil tiffin food. Even if everyone I knew in Chennai left the city, I would still come back for its food.

Living in Bangalore for the past few months has served me well, but I’m beyond excited to return home and experience Madras in a whole new light!

About the Author:

Prathi is currently a 5th-year architecture student who loves writing and exploring. Being born and brought up in Chennai, she loves the city with all her heart and always takes pride in the history of the city. Apart from being a student, she’s an avid reader, stress baker and pet lover.

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