Book Title: My A to Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsider’s Eye
Genre: Non-Fiction; Travelogue
Author: Mayuri Nidigallu
Number of Pages: 36
Available: Blog Chatter Library
This is another e-book that I came across as part of the E book carnival hosted by Blogchatter. Written by Mayuri Nidigallu, whose blogs I find very refreshing.
Mayuri Nidigallu is a seasoned blogger at Sirimiri- The Lifestyle Blogazine. She’s a Tarot Card Reader (wait whaa…tt?!) and calls herself a reluctant Agony Aunt.
Chennai, in her words is her City-in-law that she’s trying to call home. This book could be a step ahead in that direction.
This is her 2nd e-Book.
The title gives away that part. It’s a book on Chennai but from a different perspective.
I had made a brief pit stop in Chennai in 1994, when it was still called Madras. My lasting impression of the city was its local buses that never stopped, just slowed down for you to hop on and off on. And of course, the sweltering heat, colonial architecture, yummy dosai to be drowned down by filter kaapis. My lifelong affair with the drink started there but beyond that it was a pretty much forgettable experience because that’s when I was starting my hostel life.
That memory thread made me curious about this e book and boy, was I in for a surprise? Mayuri opens her book with the 450-year-old Adyar Banyan Tree and takes you through its beaches next. Yup, its beaches, not just the Marina Beach! From there we are guided to the temples and the churches, its bazars and the flower markets.
She introduces us to the culinary delights the city has to offer, that goes beyond my limited knowledge of kaapi and dosai.
All through the book, its her inimitable style that wins you over. You can hear her through her words, as she takes you beyond the usual tourist spots and shares useful information and some very handy tips that only an ‘outsider’ who lives there, can tell you. Her research shines through in all the chapters that are peppered with useful information regarding the opening and closing hours, entry fee and some real cool tips
I was sold on the piece on Adyar tree but her pieces on Mylapore, the Higginbothams book shop, Karpagambal Mess and the LIC building were especially interesting. Another of my preconceived notions was shattered when I read about Chennai’s night life in Nungambakkam. Don’t ask me why I assumed Chennai doesn’t have one. (something to do with their Dilton Doiley image, may be)
I loved the book especially for its narration, there’s a gliding smoothness to it. I’ll quote a line from her book, that I really loved-
‘I see Mumbai as this absent-minded professor, who puts his arm around your shoulder and welcomes you warmly, before he forgets all about you.
Chennai, on the other hand, is like the Matriarch of a house. Observing, judging and gauging you. You need to prove yourself, before she decides whether you will be accepted into the fold, or not.’
It was informative but didn’t bog me down and had a lot of interesting trivia dotted all across. I’m not even a travel freak or someone who’s planning on visiting Chennai any time soon. And yet I found it great. So, if you are planning on exploring Chennai, this book is high on my recommendation. Its like having a friend tell you where to go and what to do there.
As a part of Blogchatter e-book carnival, it’s available for free download for a limited time. Here’s the download link again: My A to Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsiders Eye