A centre for culture, a thriving, throbbing city - a happening place, a home to several disenfrachised, disoriented people who found hope here, and a means to live.
"Vandharai vazhavaikkum Chennai managaram" as its citizens proudly boast, it is a city which provides a life line to any one who chooses to ignore its sweaty heat.
On the first and second of December, this huge metropolis was drowned, after being battered by four consecutive cyclones.
A word on its citizens. People from other states label them unfriendly and conservative. People from small towns consider them rude. As someone who was brought up there, as someone who studied in excellent schools and universities of that metro, my view of the people of Chennai is as follows.
They are hardworking, practical, forward looking, fond of their traditional music and dance, energetic and always up to something or the other. The sheer pleasure I enjoyed as a child, standing at Luz Corner and watching vehicles buzz by, and noisy activity everywhere, the several dance and music classes I attended, where I stared at world class performances as something that all the people in that space did everyday, the scores of brilliant, committed teachers, who never ever screamed or cursed or acted superior to command the respect they did, the non stop discussions on every topic on earth that could be heard in public spaces, the debates children had on technology and science as they stood waiting for their school bus, the sophisticated, firm and decisive tone of the Chennai woman, the plainspoken, shrewd and skilled mechanics, plumbers and workmen of the city, are some of the unforgettable impressions that have made me what I am today.
Chennai is all about its talented and forward looking people, even if a lot of others don't get what's so great about the crowded, hot metro.
Buildings, offices with all their equipment and documents, apartments and huts, all were under water yesterday. People watched in helpless horror as their house hold equipment and vehicles bobbed along in water to eternity. Hundreds of thousands of people sat huddled together without electricity or drinking water waiting for the flood water to recede from their beds and sofas. The airport looked like a river, as did the rest of the city
I mourn the devastation caused by the floods in this city, once colonized as Madras, and presently renamed