In Pursuit of Madras

If I am not wrong I was in my fourth grade and it was during a family trip to Kanyakumari when I probably heard the word ‘Madras’ for the first time. I tried recollecting but I could not find a memory older than that. It was that moment inside a white ambassador, I got the sense of wanderlust for Madras and it has only grown ever since.

For a person who was born and brought up in small towns, traveling to Chennai was always significant and special. Moments to cherish, conversations to ponder over and questions with no answers — every trip used to give me a handful which I took back as souvenirs. As I grew older, I always found a way back and my own way of having conversations with the place and the people in it.

A capture from Marina. Photography by Dinesh Bharathi

Earlier last year, I thought it would make me happy if I recorded the little things I came across in my life and conceptualized ‘Theera Ulaa’ — a travelogue in which I started writing about the people whom I met and the places where I traveled to. Even though I didn’t travel a lot, the ‘Shores of Madras’ voyage completely changed the way I looked at Chennai. From the fraction of a conversation over heard in the suburban train station to the tranquility of spending my time at the farthest corner of the beach, the city was brimming with life and it was back then I found my desire to learn and understand the very city which shapes us.

From Muthiah’s ‘Madras Rediscovered’ and beyond — the more I learned, the more I felt that we need to celebrate the very concept of Chennai and Madrasee is one such act forward to fulfill the very desire.

Madrasee is an initiative in pursuit of recording and celebrating the charms of Madras and the spirit of Chennai. Started with the desire to express the sheer love for the city that shapes us, we learned the bigger purpose it can serve when we started narrating the stories we read and heard.

As we walk the lanes of old Madras and drive past the roads of new Chennai, we live the best times of our lives and move forward with the faith that our journey can enrich people’s understanding of the beautiful city we live in and the need to cherish and celebrate all that makes it.

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