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Like I’ve mentioned already, Madras is our via point wherever we go. So, while going to Wayanad was a vacation, going through Madras was a necessity. Our original plan was to spend an additional day in Wayanad but our Madras craving made us do otherwise. Also, we wanted to be back in time for Amma’s (I mean, my Amma’s! :D) birthday and so cut-shorted the trip.

We did nothing much for Amma’s birthday except give a gift. Smart phone. That was in the afternoon; and in the evening I see notifications on my mobile. ‘**** has joined Instagram’ ‘**** likes a photo of you on FaceBook’. Thank God she is not on Twitter yet!

The same evening we had a cake cutting of the husband’s nephew who turned six. The convergence of the four cousins (my BIL’s kids and my kids) at my in-laws’ place is generally marked by pomp and show and it was no less this time. They had super duper fun. Yes.. There was chaos but chaos is part of the fun, no?! It reminded me so much of my vacations in my childhood. The kids sat together in a circle. My MIL sat in the center. She asked them to show their hands and then placed a some rasam rice in each one of them. Then, she topped it with beans curry and the kids promptly ate turn by turn. It was such a new experience for them and it was heartening to see that our ‘old’ ways had not changed at all.

Milestone alert. Ammu and Kuttan saw their first ever movie in the theater. Penguins of Madagascar. The movie was running only in Mayaajal and so, we combined meeting a relative in Siruseri with this movie plan. The plan looked good on paper but in reality, the cab guy didn’t come on time and so, we had to rush from Siruseri to Mayajal. Ultimately, we missed about fifteen minutes of the one and a half hour movie. Also, we had to look for our seats in the dark which meant an old person like me fell not knowing a stair was around. Thank God for the darkness ‘cos no one noticed my fall. Wait.. What am I even saying?! But, the kids loved the movie. The 3D effect was good and so was the film. However, Mayajal, which was once the most hep place in Chennai, now only exudes some old word charm filled with nostalgia. Sigh.

The husband and I visited Phoenix mall. I’ve visited this place quite a few times but everytime I step into it, I have a feeling that ‘my’ Madras is slipping away from me. I am all for modernization and all that but this mall culture is such a change from the Madras that I grew up in. Even as recent as ten years ago, I’ve not seen such westernized practices even in the posh FiveStar hotels (that I visited, thanks to my auditor’s client’s money!) I am a sucker for nostalgia and hence the rant. Sorry.

My co-sis had gifted a gift coupon at Hamleys. We didn’t know what Hamley’s was until we visited the mall. It is apparently a toy store for kids run by Reliance. We had a thousand bucks coupon and yet we couldn’t find anything worthwhile to buy within that. **rolls eyes** Then, we had to shell out some more money and finally bought some board games. Thank God, we hadn’t got the kids to the store; we would’ve gone bankrupt. At the cash counter, there were parents paying in thousands and procuring toys for the kids. On the way, in the escalator, a mum was talking to her child of six or seven, ‘This birthday I shall definitely get you a tab!’ A tab? She was talking as though it was some eclair chocolate. This was such a culture shock for me.

We also made a trip to Thiruvallur to meet my two aunts who are camping there in a place called Sun City. It’s a gated community of villas and out of the 330 buildings constructed, only 30 are occupied. It’s not much of a surprise given that the community is in the middle of paddy fields and wild forests. I was reminded of those ‘Chennaiku miga arugil’ advertisements on TV! Anyway, we had good fun with my two perimas, had awesome sambar sadam with urulai roast and got back home.

Then, the usual Madras stuff kept happening. Like, doing my clothing shopping in Velachery itself. Like, my chithi coming to meet me. Like, playing cricket on the terrace with the kids and my brother. Like, chasing crows and waving at aeroplanes. Like, sitting on kollu paati’s stomach and talking kadhai. Like, throwing tantrums to get bathed by V paati and get fed by kollu paati. Like, refusing to part with the iPad. Like, eating bhajjis, vadais, puris and pakoras like a pig. Like, visiting Haven Sampoorna and gorging on the tandoori platter, corn on toast, lasagna and spicy Mexican pasta. And, so much more.

With so much fun, is there even a choice for us to skip Madras?! No way!