The shrines at every street turning.
The fifty square feet kolams.
It looks beautiful.
The yelai sappaadu and the million varieties of everything.
The nongu and manga inji.
It tastes exotic.
The aroma of freshly ground coffee.
The incense and malligai.
It smells heavenly.
The taalams of the kutcheri audience.
The rustling of the Palm trees.
It sounds familiar.
The waves rushing towards me.
The sea breeze and the sand.
It feels like home.
“Do you like Delhi or Chennai?” My cousin’s grandfather asked me in a soft childlike voice.
“Both!” I replied.
“No, no, no. I won’t accept that. You have to choose!”
“That’s like asking a child to pick a parent!” I protested.
“Of course! And you must pick one” he replied with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
“Well, I prefer Delhi. But Chennai comes a very very close second.”
He smiled. It was impossible to tell if he was happy with my answer or not.
No matter where you are, or where you’re headed, wishing you a year in the company of friends and family.
As for us, we spent the New Year in both cities
yelai sappaadu/ilai sappadu: literally, food on a leaf. A traditional platter typically served on a plantain leaf. For a more humorous explanation, check out this video.
nongu: Asian palmyra palm, toddy palm, or sugar palm (in science: Borassus flabellifer)
manga inji: literally, mango ginger. A variety of ginger that tastes like raw mango (in science: Curcuma amada)
malligai: Jasmine. Ladies adorn their hair with garlands made of Jasmine
taalam: beats of a musical composition
kutcheri: musical performance, typically used with reference to Carnatic classical music. Audiences across Tamil Nadu can often be seen tapping their hands to the rhythm of the musical piece.