Wish these joys were never stolen ...


Off late, I have been thinking of the good old days of my life where there used to be these abundance of joy in the little things of life and today when I sit back and think, it pains to see that my son is not going to enjoy any of these joys as they never exist anymore in my country, may be there are still some traces of these in the remote villages of India, but in cites these are dead long back ....

I think kids born in the 70's are the most luckiest is what I think, because this is the generation which has seen life before the technology storm took us by surprise. These are some of the great times which happened in our lives before we all grew up and started to chase money.

School days ...

I used to take this old 'Jolna Bag' to my school where the only way to carry that is to put its long handle over the head, and that too on certain days where we will have 'practicals' we should carry our record books and that will put more stress on our heads when we carry.

Drawing my own time period table was the most pleasing one for me, I take an A4 and I carefully draw borders and then put check boxes for all the 8 periods and give my designer touch for 'loo breaks' and 'lunch breaks', there used to be requests by my fellow mates to draw such neat period charts for them as well and I feel as if I am 'Ravi varma' at that time

While I used to walk back to home from school, there was never a single route, I literally roam all the streets and come home, while walking I used to see my pet 'kannu kutty' (baby cow) which used to be tied in a lamp post at that time, some days I keep some balance of my lunch so that I can feed him, I fill water in my water bottle to give him after I fed him, his face is still so fresh in my memory.

With the 25 paise I have in my pocket, I used to feel super rich. My mom worked in the same school as mine as a teacher, some days she used to give me 1 rupee, and that's it, I will have the feel of buying everything in this whole world. I will literally put budget on how to spend that. I love those kuchi ice which is 10 paise, so I reserve 20 paise to eat 2, then there would be this "pepsi-cola" that was a craze during my school days, that was 15 paise per stick, and whenever I am rich, like if I have 1 rupees and more, I can afford for a 'milk ice stick'. I hardly cared about bad water, bacteria and all, it was just pure enjoyment

Hour cycle - This was one of the brilliant business idea of my times. You can rent a bike for 1 hour and you pay 1 rupee, so whichever relative comes to my home, I (without letting dad know) ask them to give me 1 rupee so that I can rent a bicycle, and I also would request the cycle wala to not tell this to my dad, and he was a typical gujju fellow, so to hide the truth, I have to pay him 1.25 per hour. The moment I start riding the cycle, I feel as if I have wings, there was not this crazy traffic in Mylapore during those days, so it was fun to ride my bicycle.

I was not a super dooper student in my academics so when ever they distribute 'answer sheets' those days would be the most chilling days of my life, I will surely get beatings from my dad for not scoring well, so once I thought I can fool my dad, so I added a '0' next to 8 (out of 100) and showed my dad, and this little brain did not even think that my dad will count the marks. Many terms I have been the dad for my self, where I used to sign on behalf of my dad in my progress cards, and one day my dad came to know all of my malpractices and that day was 'bloodshed' in my home. :)

Sunday afternoon (if we are lucky) National channel will play a tamil movie and then followed by another movie in the evening, that sunday would be the best in the life, 2 movies in a day and the entire family would prep for that, mom will make all the cooking ready by noon, any prep for snacks is also done before the movie starts and from 1:30 to 8:30, the family would sit in one room and watch those movies. No fiddling of FB or phones for obvious reasons.

They used to sell 'trump charts' in Mylapore where you have to buy them for 5 paise, 10 paise, 20 paise etc, and you have to select a movie star icon in that chart, if you were lucky you will get a return gift, like a whistle or top or chocolate or NOTHING, so that was the biggest gambling I have ever played and that was super fun. Sometimes you also get money, you may win 5 rupees if all the GOD's in this world were smiling at you, and I never managed to win once, but one of my friend won that and his win was my win, with that childish innocence, I celebrated that win with him.

Power cuts .... oh, how I wish there could be power cuts all the day. If the power goes in the night, its celebration time in my street, without any means of communication, all my friends would come out when the power goes off, the entire street will be outside and all the adults will be chit-chatting and we young boys will play hide and seek and there is no better time to play that sport other than a power-cut. We all will be like - ohhhhhhhhh when the power comes back and with sad faces we all go back to our homes. There used to be so much of social bonding happening during that time.

Conductor Whistle - I was head over heels on this metallic brass conductor whistle, I bugged my dad so badly to get me one and I still remember he got me one from Parrys Corner for 7 rupees, a shiny metal whistle and to date I have that in my locket as a remembrance. With this monthly salary of 700 or 800, that should be a good amount for him to shell out.

Big Fun - Oh, I don't think there was no such brilliance next to 'Big Fun' chewing gum. That company should have a master marketing manager who made the sales of 'Big Fun' chewing gum a crazy success. I still remember it was priced at 30 paise to start with and what is the beauty of that? Yes, they had this wrapper on which this gum was folded and that wrapper would have a print of a famous cricketer (batsmen or bowler) and if it is a batsmen you may either get 0 run to 6 runs printed and if it is a bowler, you will get 1 wicket printed and the company said, we have to collect 300 runs and 10 wickets to get a free cricket bat from them, and it took me more than 700 chewing gums to reach that mark and yes, I did manage to send all those to the company and they promptly sent me a cricket bat. My first 4 runs were of "Sandeep Patil" and my first 6 runs was of "Viv Richards".

Family time

We used to have a terrace of our own, so during pournami (full moon) days, we all go to the terrace with all cooked food and my granny will mix the rice with Sambar and she used to make all the members of the family sit in a circle she would place that hot rice on our hand, the waiting time for you to get your next turn is the most anxious waiting time ever, that hot sambar rice with 'sutta appalam' would taste heavenly. When ever we decide to have dinner in the terrace, my joy would know no bounds, that is some real quality family time and today you cannot even dream of getting such family bonding time as we are faking ourselves to be busy in this world.

Whenever my dad or mom returns from work, they have to get me something to eat, I would search their bags to find some thing or the other for me to eat, some days you may find one, some days you may not find anything, but that wait and that eagerness to see what they would have bought me was fun, it can be as silly as a 'strong mittai' to a 'eclair chocolate', but I enjoyed that small surprise.

Then Mittaai - That was poor man's basundhi in my opinion, it was sold at 5 paise per piece and I was super mad with that taste, though I now realise that it was not 'honey' and it was just 'sugar syrup', but its soft outer texture and when you bite that, a splash of that 'sugar syrup' hitting the walls of your cheeks, that was heavenly. I would have easily spent more than 50 rupees only on 'Then mittai' when I was a kid.

Marbles / Top / Kite - These were the real team building games in my opinion (not the one's played in our sickening corporate world).

Marble game had two flavours - 1. Raaja - Raani - Toni 2. Bendhaa. I was a champ on these two versions. I was spot on to find the 'Kuzhi' and become the Raaja and choose my own Raani and make others "toni". Bendhaa is a team game, you form two teams and then you draw a peculiar lining on the road and arrange your opponents marbles, and the the other team has to push all the opponents marbles out of the 'rectangle', the challenge here is, your marble should not get caught in that rectangle, so you should hit fast and accurate. Finally the team which looses it will have to do 'Mutti kaasaradhu', that means, they will have to keep pushing their marbles with their 'Elbow bone' and if you miss it, the tar on the road will tear your skin.

Top - You have to wound a thread on the top and swing it hard so that you break the opponents top and that is called 'Aakar' and I have broken many many tops, due to my speed and accuracy.

Kite - I should not self broadcast my self, but I AM THE EXPERT IN PUTTING MAANJA IN THE WHOLE OF MYLAPORE. Children from various slums would come and take tuition from me in applying MAANJA on the kite string. So what is Maanja? It's a deadly mixture of these ingredients - Glass, vajram (calcium & jaggery) and rice flour. You first have to grind the glass to a fine powder and that needs a skill on its own, then carefully mix the glass powder with vajram (this is the softener), add water and rice flour in careful portions and heat this deadly combo till it bubbles settle and the liquid become a thick viscous. Once the content is cooled down, you have to carefully apply that on the string and dry the string in 'air'. So why I am the EXPERT here? Because I USE BARE HANDS TO APPLY THE MAANJA, and that gives full coverage to the string and if you either rub the content too slow or too fast on the string, your finger may not stay in your hand.

With technology caging us in front of a stupid hand-held, we feel like jail inmates in the hands of technology. We hardly see family and friends, the first thing we ask them when we meet them is, are you in FB or WhatsApp, we are slowly reluctant to talk to real people. Every family has a "WhatsApp" group now and life has truly become digital. Where do family get time to eat in the terrace? Where are those ice-selling vendors near the schools? Do kids even walk to their school these days? Where is the value of money here? Why are kids not playing on the streets anymore? I have played games like PAANDI on the roads, does anyone even know the rules of PAANDI today?

Technology is slowly distancing ourself from the real form of life, and I am sure, there will be a day where we kill all these tech gadgets and go back to the good old days of 1970s. I may not be alive to see that, but I was alive to enjoy those happy moments once.

Please write your comments on what you miss the most of your childhood days, I am happy to hear them out ....

2017 a Recap




So, 2017 is going to come to an end and I should admit that this year was not so great on the professional front as I have been doing the same role, same technology and a kind of mundane started to settle in, but ... but ... but ... 2018 is not going to be that way, now that I am getting out of my current role, I am all set to do some super tech work in my next assignment, though I am yet to choose what I want to take, but whatever has lined up, all of them seem to offer a meaty tech role for me.

Ok, other than this, 2017 was pretty OK OK year, Pranav turned 1 and we got many of the religious rituals done for him, especially that ear piercing function was a big one. Pranav is getting naughtier by the day and it needs some extra patience and stamina to keep up with him, and I certainly lack both of that, so going to work on my fitness and patience coming year.

We as a family welcomed our new member Krish Sundar who was born on the 3rd of October 2017 for my cousin Sundar and Raaji, and my other cousin Vignesh is getting married in the coming year, so we start our next year with a big family occasion. By the grace of GOD, most of our elder family members are keeping up with their health.

So in a nut shell, I am super excited for 2018, and I cannot wait for the month of January to unfold as that is a crucial month for my professional career to open its wings, will trust my instincts and take the best role in what I have to choose. Please wish me good luck.

I will try to be more regular in blogging this year as many of my folks really follow my blog and want me to start writing my "short stories", so will 2018 be that year of "story telling", we gotta wait and watch.

I hope all of my readers do had a good 2017 and I wish you and your family a fantabulous 2018.

Love
Pranav, Vidhya & Satish

Gated Communities & Its Perils ...

Well, I am penning a post after a very long time, this time I will not promise that I will be regular and will write more posts in the coming years, but the kind of incident that happened wanted me to blog so that I can hear reviews and feedback from many folks who have gone through that and who are going through that.

So one of the biggest dreams of an average Indian is to get a house, as place that he can stay on forever and call it a home, in many cases I have seen that folks buy a house or rush to buy a house just to announce the outside world that they are now a proud owner of a property, though they take a lot of care in investigating the legality of the place, authenticity of the documents etc etc, none of them actually visualise the con's of getting an "apartment" or a "gated community", the initial euphoria that kicks in when you sign the sale agreement, blinds all the hidden horror it would tag along with.

I too live in a gated community, and I own many such gated communities, today I think the biggest mistake me and my dad did was buying many apartment complexes, though like all the other people, we were also proud to say that we own many houses, but when we decided to shut down properties and then consolidate, that's when all the horror unfolded, so while are are still learning from our mistakes, these are some of the common myth's that I wanted to break.

1. Buying a house or an apartment where you and your family are going to stay is never an INVESTMENT

2. There is never going to be a buyer readily available for you to buy your 'old' property, when I say 'old' property, even if you would have lived in a house for only 6 months, that house is an 'old' house for the new buyer

3. There are so many hidden costs that you have to bear apart from the maintenance you are paying.

4. It is not so easy to find a tenant in this fast changing market.

If you all consider the above 4 points, you will not invest on a house. Today I have around 16 properties or should I say 16 liabilities, because when I am trying to consolidate, I am not able to gain profit, so what happens is, I am working towards "OK, at least let me get what I have invested" and there goes all of my investment plan in to a downward spin.

Today with ever dipping economy rate, the costs are sky rocketing, just with a tag name of "premium" the builders are pulling you into a trap of unknown, today I pay Rs 7000 per month as maintenance, which is equal to a monthly rent of a single bed room accommodation in some parts of Chennai, but I dont have a choice, I have to abide by the rules and regulations of the association.

The apartment that I own in Bangalore is throwing surprises every now and then, they suddenly send you an email saying I have to pay amount for water connection, I have to pay amount for basement renovation, so you actually get sucked into oblivion where you have absolutely no control whatsoever. So in pure sense, you don't own that property, that property only owns you.

So if apartments tighten the noose around your neck in the name of unexpected expenses, you are not safe even if you buy a plot/land, and that credit goes to our government. If you sell a land/plot for X amount, you will have to pay 37% of "Capital gain" tax, so that means, whatever profit you think you have made in that sell is already killed by this law, and moreover you should only have 1 property in your name other than the new property you are acquiring or selling, if that condition fails, you have to pay 37% tax. So, the value appreciation you get is actually not for you, it's for the government.

Coming back to gated communities, the kind of rules and regulations each association have, is nothing short of a killer - You cannot rent the house to students, you cannot have pets, you cannot do this, you cannot do that, WTF? Its my house, I can do whatever I want, but sorry, you cannot, because you are inside a "gated" community, you are bound to the bye-laws, so in short, you spend your hard earned money to get locked inside a JAIL.

So with all the pains we are now going through in consolidating our properties, myself and my dad have decided, we have had enough and we are not going to invest in LAND or House anymore, it is time we think other options as real investments and try to appreciate the value of money.

So folks if you all think you are buying a house for investment, please re-think, it is not that rosy as we all think ... yes it is rightly called as a "gated" community, where every living individual is "gated" in their own house and locked down with rules are regulations which they cannot free themselves off

2016 - A Review

Oh whattay brilliant year 2016 has been. Personally this is the year I would never forget because this is the year which brought Pranav to us. He was born on August 2nd 2016 at 2:23 PM in Seethyapathy Clinic, Mylapore. He was weighing 2.6 kgs at the time of birth. I felt as if my whole world was just decorated with scented flowers, he was the sunshine myself and Vidhya were waiting for, he was the change we were praying for, he was the love we were searching for, we were so thankful to GOD for bringing him to us.

Professionally this year has been marked with lesser number of abroad travels as Vidhya was carrying, I would want to have my professional carrier to be like this, very less travels, so that I can spend a lot of time with Pranav. Learning wise this year was super awesome, added many technologies to my resume and also glad to be getting in to development ways.

I honestly take steps to update this blog regularly, but I just have to blame myself for not keeping up my writing skills, may be this year I would restart my story writings and this time the genre would be towards "kids" stories. I also want to get back to my cricket coaching this year and try to be fit, who knows, I may have to bowl to Pranav in the nets ;)

I wish all my friends and my blog followers a very happy and a prosperous new year 2017.


2015 ... A Review

I know I have almost abandoned my blog these days, but every year end I return here to rewind my life and kind of record the events of that year. I always make good effort to write more blogs and rekindle my story writing skills, but in the end, I don't make time to sit and write, as simple as that.

Professional ....
 
Year 2015 was a very good year for me, both professionally and personally. Doing varied roles and still sticking on to the technical ladder is something I consider as a boon, I still feel that I have many more years of technical work left in me and I am in no hurry to change to the managerial ladder anytime soon, for all I can guess, I may not even be on that ladder in my career. The kind of technical stuffs that I get to do in my company may not be the cutting edge but I have the scope and opportunity to do whatever I want, that assurance I have here.

Next to Chennai, I have made Copenhagen, Denmark as my second home in the recent past, like Chennai, here as well the people are extremely kind-hearted, cordial, polite and warm, the best thing I like about Danish folks are, they are so easy to be approached, if you are walking on the road and if you see a Danish guy, immediately he gives you that warm smile, people are ready and willing to help you in every possible way, there is happiness everywhere and no wonder this country is the most happiest nation in the world.

Social ....

I still make conscious efforts to help our 4 legged friends, apart from owning many cats as my pets, my heart always goes for the furry friends who are homeless. One of my long term plans is to start a shelter for them and try to help them in every possible way, in Chennai, there is no dearth for love and affection for these furry friends, but unfortunately we don't have a setup where people can come forward to help them, so if there would be a concept like what we see in the western countries, more furry friends could be saved. This is a very serious thought that I have and I will take all the efforts to make this a reality. 

I was deeply moved by the way Chennaites reacted during the recent floods, our actions only proved the world that, humanity and love stands tall than caste, religion or politics. The way many volunteers worked with me, made me feel that money is just a paper and there is nothing we can do with that, when you don't have support. The heartfelt thanks and blessings that we got from many rescued families, is what will count when I die, not my bank balance. I made new friends, now my circle is big. The way SPCA and Blue Cross responded to "crisis" calls, was just amazing, for a moment I thought I was abroad, hats-off to them and their volunteers, they way they rescued a mommy cow and her new born was a "goosebumps" moment.

Political ....

As usually this year too was a biggest joke in the political cycle, all the credit AMMA had saved, has been washed away in this floods, the incident where her party workers pasted her "sticker" on the relief materials supplied by other third-party folks, created a huge upset and threatens her comeback to power in 2016, I will not vote for her, at least in Chennai she may not win a lot of seats.

Out of all the major issues we have, this good for nothing "Beep" song gathered too much of storm which it does not deserve, this incident once again proved that we are emotional idiots. Release of the juvenile in "Nirbhaya" gang-rape is another shocker. Indrani Mukerjea case was a perfect "bollywood" plot, I am sure there will soon be a hindi movie on that.

NaMo continues to impress me, though his efforts are yet to reap huge benefits, I am happy that he is sowing all the right seeds for India to grow faster, while we were tolerant on this useless Congress for 10+ years, we should show the same patience on NaMo's government and allow him to function. He is not traveling abroad to go to boose bars or casinos, he is going to develop our country's relationship with other nations.

Personal ...

By GOD's grace 2015 did not see any major health issues to my near and dear ones, it started like any other normal year for me, but the ending was just simply fantastic. It is quite true that you will not know how to react when something that you were expecting for a long time, happens when you expect it the least, my prayers continue and I will have to be tight-lipped here :). I felt that I drifted away a bit in not maintaining enough contacts with my long time friends and that complaint was well received and I promise that in 2016, I will be more interactive, and it will not just stop with FB posts or WhatsApp messages.

I am eagerly looking forward for a stunning 2016, personally this year is going to be the year to remember (I hope) and professionally I would continue to thrive doing more quality work and learn new things to grow. 

I wish all of my family, friends and colleagues a very HAPPY AND A PROSPEROUS 2016.
 

Better Planet for Kids, but, Better kids for the Planet? ...

When the whole planet is debating if we leaving a better place for our kids, how many parents did wonder / debate if they are leaving better kids for this planet? Today's younger generation is extremely scary to deal with, and today's parents are extremely ignorant on their actions, be it working couple or couple where the wife is a home-maker, they don't look to mind their kids. This may not be a "common" picture across the board, but this scenario is the "majority" in many families.
 
How many kids today who are between their 6 and 16 years do these following - "Ask sorry", "Say thank you", "give-up and move-on", being sportive", "accept defeat"? It would be hardly 1 or 2 out of 100 kids. Kids these days are extremely arrogant (again, not all kids, majority of them), they don't want to accept defeat, they want to use "tears" and "tantrums" as their weapons to get their things done and with the current family setup where couples are mostly on their own without a proper "elderly person" at home, all they want is to be with "peace of mind" and then give up to their tantrums and move on.
 
The blame is entirely on today's busy parents, I am not saying that you should not run behind money, but please remember, your ignorance or your choice of being ignorant is going to hurt you on the longer run, the habits you cultivate in your kids is going to ruin them the ideology of "enjoying life" which was what taught to us by our parents. Tomorrow when they grow up they cannot accept defeat, if they don't get what they want, they become violent, they will have absolutely no manners in life, schools can only teach you to be bookish, no school teaches how to "live" life, that is something parents have to teach their kids.
 
Today's couple have move away from the "joint" family culture for all the reasons they claim as "good", but don't you think you are robbing the love and care a grandparent can give your kid just because you have egoistic issues with your in-laws?, grand parents or elders who are elder than today's parents, come with a lot of experience, so you distancing from them is equal to you distancing your dreams of bringing up a child who is not a burden to this society, before you kid is thrown out of the system by their behaviour, you better wake up and take the task of bringing up a child with utmost responsibility.
 
There is nothing great in chest thumping that your son or daughter is getting 1st rank in school, or getting 1st prize in sports, first bring up a child who is so lovable, inculcate the sense of empathy, teach them how to respect elders, more than anything, teach them to "enjoy life". Today parents are busy in forcing the kids to get good marks in school, do higher studies, but they are not going to help for the kid to "survive" in this complex game called "life", there would be surprises, there would be twists and turns, but life has to move on. Stop giving up to your kids tantrums, let them cry, let them starve to death, let them learn in a hard way, nothing wrong, your responsibility is to leave a better "neighbour", "husband", "father", "friend" on the whole a better "PERSON"

Madras - A Flashback

Madras, what a lovely name, I still use this name whenever I go abroad when people ask me "Which part of India you belong to", and yes, still it is very well known and famous when we say Madras, rather than saying "Chennai". This brief post is a tribute to the city I was born, brought up and the city I live in, and hopefully the city where I wanted to die as well. I am not sure about the other cities in India, but when it comes to Madras, the population here has a lot of emotional bonding, after all we are the folks who gave a "teary" send off to our beloved "meter gauge" train when it was all converted into "broad gauge", so this particular city is just more than a place in the map, it is more like a DNA in every "madaraasi"

Born in the year of 1977, I was fortunate to do all my education and some years of work in Madras before my career took me to various places. Mylapore is the area where I grew and still continue to live, and to me Mylapore is one place which did not want to change much for good, when compared to the other parts of Madras, of all the famous identities of Madras actually originated from Mylapore only - "Filter Coffee", "Iyer Maama", "Veshti", "Idly-Vadai-Pongal", "Maami Mess" so this place is the start of Madras to me and if you dig history as well, when Madras was formed, Mylapore was already in existence. 

I have travelled in "Pallavan" bus transport (PTC) to my school, during those days the bus ticket used to be "10" paise from Mylapore to "Sanskrit College", the bus number "21" which plies between "Mandaiveli - Parrys" is still in service. During those days, Mylapore used to have a bus depot which would house "5B - Mylapore - TNagar", "3A - Mylapore - Alwarpet", "38F - Mylapore - Maadhavaram", nowadays due to congestion, they have moved these busses to Mandaiveli, unfortunately we dont see any service of "3A and 38F" these days. I used to maintain some of the old bus tickets as collectives, but I have missed them somehow, those were the times where the busses does not have a door, and there used to be an "alarm" behind the driver, and that would beep whenever the bus driver "over speeds", these days they are gone.

Madras and food are inseparable, but default madrasi's are foodies, you name a restaurant, you will get a minimum of 100 reviews about that restaurant, the quality of food that you get in Madras is incomparable to any other place in India, be it your morning "pongal-vadai" and "kaapi", or your limited "south indian thali" Madras has maintained its taste and quality. It is only in the recent times we are used to "Saravana Bhavan's and Sangeetha's" of Madras, to me they are not so good in taste or quality when compared to our good old "Rayar Cafe", "Shanthi Vihaar", "Ramakrishna Lunch Home (Parrys Corner)" or "Udupi Vilas", those players had "service" as their motto and hence provided super hygenic food, but today's players only have "service tax" in mind.

The very famous Madras slang is extremely unique to this place, and there used to be a "Wiki" link as well for translations of some of the "slang",  though I studied in a high-class school in Mylapore (P.S.S.S.S), I developed a liking for this "madras bhaashai" and once in my school, the teacher asked me to show her my home work notebook and I spontaneously gave her "Idho keedhu paaru" response, of course I was made to kneel down in front of principal's room for using "offensive language" in the class, but today, a kinder garden kid is using the "F" word, just like that. When we talk about this Madras slang, we will have to talk about the "Rickshaw" walas who mastered this language as well as made it so popular.

Madras main identity was "Rickshaws", of course when I grew up, there were not "hand pulling" rickshaw's, and most of them were "pedal" operated, thanks to MGR (the then CM) who mandated a law that "humans cannot pull humans" and gave free rickshaws to many poor people. Those small yellow colored vehicles were all over the city and at that time, "auto" was not that famous, they charge you somewhere between 1 rupee to 5 rupees during those days for a 4km trip, round trips were even more cheaper. During rainy seasons, those rickshaw wala's would tickle their creative brains and used to decorate "plastic" covers to shelve their passengers from rain, and during summer days (those days summer was never this hot), the "top" of the rickshaw would be pulled down and you get some awesome breeze. 

Madras also had another identity which is "aavin" milk, and during those days they used to serve them in a "bottle" container, and if I am not wrong and my memory was right, 1 liter of milk used to be Rs 3.50 and slowly that creeped higher and higher, and they removed "bottles" and replaced them with "plastic" pouches. In those days, you can sell those empty milk bottles for a good sum, and even in my house we used to keep aside the empty milk "plastic covers" and then sell it, 100 covers would fetch you 8 rupees or so, it was good money then. There used to be an aluminium "cap" for those milk bottles, that can be sold separately for a better amount, so every part of "aavin" can give you money. Glad that we still have aavin in business till date.

Madras and Music, to me they are husband and wife, Madras always gave importance to "Arts and Music", I dont think any other city in this country would have hosted so many "art exhibitions" than madras, in those days "Vaani Mahal" is very famous for hosting "art" exhibitions. When it comes to music, Madras stands first in organising big events, during the month of "Maargazhi" madras would be bubbling with crowd of all famous singers, in those days, it used to be a "pride" to sing in "R R Sabha (Rasika Ranjani Sabha)", I have seen so many great singers perform in "Kabaaleeswarar Temple", so Madras in one city which got itself upgraded without losing its "eternal" traits, the culture and heritage of Madras did not fade because of the other mushroomed entertainments which came into the city recently

Madras is a place where anyone can come and survive, this city has got something to offer for everyone who walks in, the following "businesses" could only be found in Madras and today most of them are non-existent - "Aruvaamanai - Katthi - Saanai", a guy used to carry a huge wooden stole which would have a "grinding stone" fitted on its top and connected via a cycle chain, that guy used to come twice a month to "sharpen" kitchen knives and "aruvaamanai's", these folks are not seen today. Also there used to be a business where we call it as "Thari podaradhu", a group of men would come, place few iron rods on the road and start weaving threads", they are killed by the modernisation of this society. There used to be folks who carry a big basket full of new vessels, they would take old clothes from you and then replace them with some useful utensils, they are not to be seen today. So Madras did offer all of them some kind of revenue till the time they were in existence.

Madras and cycles, oh how sweet of a combo it used to be, for anything and everything "Cycle" was considered to be a "status symbol", in those days, marriages too would be decided if the guy owns a "cycle", because "cycle" is such a precious thing to have. Even if someone's wife went missing, they may take a day or two to report to the police, but if a cycle is lost, that would send a panic attack and immediately the theft would be reported at the nearby police station, and my family was a victim of one such incident, and when we reported that to our "Kutchery Road" police station, the immediately replaced us with another "cycle" though it was not that new, but ok to manage. It used to be a mandate that every sunday all "cycle" owners would wash their cycle and put oil between the moving parts, putting an attractive "seat cover" and again covering it with a "shabby" cover was the norm those days, and notorious people, putting "blade" on the seat cover too is a famous "hobby". That good old "cycle" is not in existence and hence we could see huge crowds standing in front of hospitals and doctor clinics

"Jhaam Bajaar", that is how we pronounce it, is one place in Madras where you can get "refurbished" items, it is also notoriously famous for "stealing" new parts from varied "articles" and then sell them as "refurbished", so the famous such thefts were, removing the "cycle handle guard and locks". You name it, you will get it in Jhaam Bajaar, and if someone says that he knows someone in "Jhaam Bajaar", he is considered as "wowww" person. Another famous place used to be "Moore Market" which is famous for almost everything, books to clothes to video cassettes you get everything in that market, and it is the only identity of "mount road", unfortunately we lost it in a bad fire accident and today I am not sure what lies there as remains

Madras and Kuchi Ice / Gulfi - This industry flourished in Madras during my school days, and we used to wait for the last bell for the day to strike and the next moment you can see some 50 to 60 kids circling the "Ice man" to buy variety of ice. If a guy is wealthy, he used to buy "Semiya Ice" which is Rs 1, a guy from an upper middle class family would buy "Grape Ice", which was priced at 0.50p, and other normal guys like me would settle for "pepsi cola" which used to be 0.25p, "milk ice" is something which you can buy if you have Rs 2. That tiny vehicle which has no power or any motor would store 100s of ice kuchi's without melting, and to me that was "world wonder no 8", but later I realised that they use "dry ice" to keep them going. Another night time entertainment was "Gulfi", these vendors would come only in the night, they used to come in a tri-cycle which is covered with a "red" cloth, and they have this unique "bell" which would be audible even when you are fast asleep, they come pretty late into the nights and still they make good business. The guy who sells that was looked like a "super star", the way he opens that gulfi ice, the way he takes it out and cuts it into pieces, were all a treat to watch, finally it would be served on a "thaiyal ilai" which add more taste to that ice cream.

Madras and Games - No, I am not talking about the games that is played at any level, I am talking about the games that ruled the streets of Madras, when I was a kid, I have played "Gilli" - A game where you will have a big stick on your hand and there will be a "<--->" shaped wooden object on the floor, you will have to hit the wooden object on one of its "conical" side and when that wooden piece flies up in the air, you should hit it as long as you can with your stick on hand, the more the distance you score the winner would be decided, I have played "gilli" across many streets. Then comes "Goli" a game played with glass marbles, and not to boast my skills here, but I was a champion in this game, at one stage not many folks were willing to play with me as I would break their marbles, this game has got so many variants like "Raaja - Raani", "Bendhaa", and "Double Decker". Next famous game was "Top (Bambaram)" and I have played these as well, it is an art to wind the chord and then spin the top, also this has got a "sub game" called "Aakar" where you have to hit the opponents "top" and break it into pieces. There is another game called "Vattam" where we used to make "round" cuts with a "soda moodi" (Panneer Soda Cap) on a "cigar" box and then throw it in the air, one who collects more "dots" is the winner. Thank GOD, when we were young "Steve Jobs" was also young, hence we were not pampered with any of the "i"s

I can write loads and loads of such sweet things about Madras, but I think, too much of over-dose on anything is a killer, :) hence, I stop here and I hope these would have kindled some of your nostalgic memories, if you are also a 70s child. I love Madras and I love this city beyond anything else. Let this city be the same for the next 1000 years. Love you Madras.

Wish these joys were never stolen ...

Off late, I have been thinking of the good old days of my life where there used to be these abundance of joy in the little things of lif...