Ugrás a fő tartalomra

VANAKKAM, CHENNAI

Impressions of the “real India experience”


The first three words that came to my (extremely tired) mind when I left the airport were:
Heat. Noise. Crowd.

Then the first (rhetorical) question: Did I really want to come here?

And the first realization: Namaste in not useful at all in Tamil Nadu.

Daily crowd on the streets of Chennai
Daily crowd
I left from -15 Celsius degrees and arrived to 30 degrees – well equipped with winter clothes. With 0 rupees in my pockets (as far as I knew I could exchange money only in India) and without a drop of water (but a lot of good advices on where and what can I drink), it was a great warm-up for my body to bear with the humid heat of Chennai weather.

At a first glance it seemed to me that this city never sleeps; between 4 and 5 in the morning there was so much noise in the front of the airport as in the middle of a rag fair. What I first heard was a mixture of human voice, a variety of honks and the sounds of awakening nature.

And the crowd: actually I enjoyed it from the first moment after the idleness of winter and the empty, frozen streets of my hometown; with all the movements, interactions, energy and freedom that a crowd includes; the questions of auto rickshaw drivers (Madam? Madam?), the overheard but incomprehensible dialogues, the laughs, calls and shouts.


Since my arrival - however - I have discovered calmer and more silent sides of Chennai.😊

The first (rhetorical) question aroused in me when - from the windows of the cab - I have seen the incredible amount of trash on the streets, the imperfect details of otherwise beautiful buildings (which I couldn’t observe from Google Maps) and the indescribably chaotic traffic. But as I already arrived I didn’t try to find excuses or explanations; I was just thinking about how am I going to survive the next 6 months?

Good news is that since then I already have the answer, which might not help everybody, but it works for me. Try to overlook what you don’t like and search for what you like. You will surely find. 😉

And if you decide to visit Tamil Nadu, then forget Namaste. Learn Vanakkam. In India there are 22 official languages, and although you can survive with Hindi in multiple states, it won’t help you too much in the South. If you come to Chennai learn the basics of Tamil, like ana (brother – useful with drivers), sari (good, okay), amaam (yes) and illai (no).


Women selling fish close to the seaside in Chennai

What do you associate with India?


Megjegyzések

Népszerű bejegyzések ezen a blogon

TIME TO MAKE YOUR WISH

The one and only family trip to remember

WHEN HAZARD DOESN'T LET YOU REST

Mid April the Hollywood of India was on our visiting list. We went without concrete plans, just to escape Chennai for a few days.
After traveling to Mumbai (or Bombay) I have realized that probably while I am in India I will never have any trip (or day) without unforeseen incidents. My life was filled with random moments even before my arrival, but here everything was multiplied by at least ten. Yes, I had moments of despair, but now I believe ultimately the lesson is about learning how to handle obstacles without becoming desperate.

The challenges started with our departure from Chennai, when Karyati, my friend from Indonesia, caught the flight only by miracle. That was the moment when I've become sure that time can be both expanded and narrowed. 
But after this early-morning stress, the flight itself was a blessing. When we have arrived, around 7 am to Mumbai, the friends whom we were supposed to meet were still sleeping so we have googled the closest coffee place, Lucky Cafe, …

HOME WITHOUT BORDERS

I discovered Auroville a few weeks before my arrival to Chennai and I was pretty excited about this spiritual township concept. I was like woooow, in this place people from 49 nations live 😮
Since I was 14 I've had an interest in yoga, spirituality, Buddhism and Hinduism so I thought Auroville is a must-visit place but it didn’t even cross my mind that it will be the destination of my first trip.
With Puducherry (Pondicherry, Pondichéry or simply Pondy) it was love at first hearing. I mean I really loved from the beginning how the name of this place sounded and my fondness for cherries wasn't the single reason; this "small" (in Indian terms) coastal city basically represents a blend of French colonial and Indian culture and I love when cultures are mixed. 💜 For example you'll find both a Jeanne D'Arc and a Mahatma Gandhi statue, a Rue Romain Rolland and a Nehru street, a Notre Dame des Anges church and a Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

By the way Pondy was the location …