For the past few days... the Metro Blog's around the globe have been dedicated to have 7 things about their city which represent gifts to the world. One gift a day for 7 days, this is a list of the two cities that I know of and love. Chennai and New York city.
Let me start with Chennai...
No 7 on the list is:
We're talking of Madras Cotton, or the Bleeding Madras. Cotton cloth was one of the main reason, the East India company chose to settle down in Madras, and build its factory here. For, here in a sandy tract of land, was "Cloathe, the cheaper by 20p". This part of the land was always associated with cotton, apparently.
No 6 is:
I'd say a laid-back attitude. Chennai is a calm, cultured place where raw aggression is barely seen on the surface. Ever since madras was assembled as a loose collection of neighbouring villages in the seventeenth century, the Madras of old, has been a quiet, warm hostess, offering freely of her wealth while holding on to her tranquil lifestyle. Elihu Yale was one of the first to return from India with a fortune and consequently to be accused of sharp practice.
So it is, Ladies and Gentlemen, wealth made on these shores found their way into building one of the world's most famous universities. Yale University
Wealth made from Chennai
On to No 5:
Speech, they said once, was possibly the swiftest form of communication. Although the chances that an Indian cook, when causally mentioning "milagu-thanneer" to his British superior, anticipating that his weird sounding concoction would take cooks of the world by storm - is probably a fate he/she didn't even contemplate.
If that ain't a potpourri of cultures, what else is?
Potpourri of cultures
No 4 on the list:
Indo-Saracenic architecture is described as a style of architecture used by British architects in the late 19th century in India. It drew elements from traditional Hindu and Islamic architecture, and combined it with the Gothic revival style favored in Victorian England.
Some of the many other Indo Saracenic buildings in Chennai include: the Madras University Senate House; the High Court (and another picture here); the Government Museum; the General Post Office; Egmore Station; Central Station
No 3 is none other than:
A.R. Rahman... need I say anything else. Music!
on to No 2:
"I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality.
If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth.
So that is another reason why I have decided, as I happen to be the Head of the Order, to dissolve it"
That was Jiddu Krishnamurti, disbanding the Order of the Star of the East, the Order that was specifically formed to declare him as the Maitreya Buddha, the World Teacher.
Maitreya Buddha - World Teacher
And the No 1 thing that is chennai's gift to the world:
The beaches of Chennai, right from the isolated ones Kovalam, to the crowded Marina and Beasant Nagar, are an integral part of the city. Any visitor to the city has to visit the beach as a part of every trip, someone who does not live in Chennai will find it hard to understand the why every chennaiite loves the beach, its not spectacular, its definitely not picturesque, and its dirty, but the beaches despite their drawbacks do have an aura, just sitting in the sand, under the stars, with not a single soul in sight (yes this is possible in the isolated beaches along ECR, late at night), and listening to the waves. Walking on the beach, late at night is absolute bliss.
There you have it, 7 things that are a real gift to chennai. I am sure you have other things that you can think of, you can write about them in comments.
Next up is New York City.