Claps To UrbanClap

Unfortunately, not all of us are super skilled like my dad. He is someone who can fix electrical, plumbing and carpentry issues to an extent all by himself. At times he even mocks me by saying “You are an engineer just for namesake, you don’t know how to fix this simple thing”. All they thought me in the engineering was how to fix a bug in the code and arrest memory leak but not how to fix a fused bulb and stop the water leak. Fixing these small household issues becomes a big headache for the current generation who doesn’t want to move their a** to get things done and somehow never gets time for anything in life. The problem lies in finding skillful workers to do the job, even if we find one, they are never ready to do petty jobs.

Nowadays we got apps for almost anything and everything from booking movie tickets to ordering food home. Luckily there are a few service aggregators who can help with the above problems, but unfortunately, all of them are not trustworthy. Then there is UrbanClap (UC) which is successfully providing services since 2014. It’s been one of the trusted marketplaces to hire 80,000+ professionals for 80+ home services such as Beauty, Photography, Electricians, Plumbers and Fitness . Though I have a Rs. 200 credit to try their service, I didn’t have any requirement for the same. So, as far now, I decided to review their app.

Before jumping to their app, I played around their website for a while. The website is simple, modern and straightforward with a big services search right in the middle of their home page. The site also lists the most trending services and service listed category wise.

Home Page

Home Page

Trending Services

Trending Services

Now coming to the mobile app, the app is available for both iPhone and Android platforms. I tried the app on my android phone and it worked without any issues. The signup process was fairly simple, the users can also signup with their Google+ or Facebook too. The services can be searched directly or browsed based on the categories. The best thing is it suggests the services and professionals based on the proximity and the ratings. The app also allows the user to chat directly with the professionals for clarification and request a quote from them. The app is simple, user-friendly and provides a better experience.

I would definitely try using this app when the need arises.

This blog post is a part of the Chennai Bloggers Club campaign in association with UrbanClap.

Embarrassed – Braced – Embraced

Embarrassed

“Hey, can you help scrap some coconut for me, that’s the best way you can put your teeth to use”. I have heard many say this to me cos of my protruding teeth, some even had a nickname for me as Thenga Turuvi (Coconut Scraper). If you ask me if I am embarrassed about it, actually a big no. Scraping coconut is one of the few things I am really good at and even my mom would agree to the same. Some even ask me if I chew tobacco or do smoke cos of the hard stains on the tooth in my lower jaw. I did brush properly, but they being misaligned and crooked made it much more difficult. Again, I am not embarrassed about this either and I don’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s not an outcome of my conscience decision.  If you are wondering why the hell it’s in the title, it’s for no other reason than it rhymes with the next two words😀 .

“I don’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s not an outcome of my conscience decision.”


Braced

I never intended to wear braces to correct my looks. One of my friends who’s a doctor saw me sleep with my mouth wide open and strongly advised me to have a check on it, as it might cause respiratory problems in the future. Then I consulted another doctor who advised me to see a dentist, as my teeth were obstructing my mouth from closing properly. I did consult a couple of dentists, they all recommended dental braces and it also required 4 of my teeth to be extracted. For a while, I was very skeptical about the teeth extraction and had a huge dilemma in proceeding further.  At the same time, my ex-colleague Mr. Balaji Rajashekar also encouraged me to wear dental braces, he even went ahead and recommended his dentist. I am mentioning his name cos his encouraging words played a major role in breaking the dilemma. But, somewhere I missed the confidence in going ahead. One big problem was most of these nearby dental clinic had a general dentist and not an Orthodontist, the one who specialized in the correction of malpositioned teeth and the jaws. After a bit of searching, I found Dr. Sanjay Jacob an Orthodontist who runs Dr. Jacobs Dentacare which is quite near to my home. When I consulted him, he said the same that the other doctors did. But he somehow gave me the confidence to get started.

It all started with tooth extraction and it was really a painful process. You don’t feel a thing when the teeth are extracted. But it slightly pains for the next couple of days and you can’t even eat the spicy food you like. The only comfort was the ice cream, which I must have after every extraction. I bet the clinic wouldn’t have seen such a notorious patient like me. When Dr. extracted my tooth, Instead of acting like being in extreme pain, I was busy clicking the extracted tooth. I even went to the extent of keeping one of my extracted teeth as a souvenir. I know that sounds really strange.

A tweet from the past😀

Then begin the other orthodontic procedures like bonding the dental brackets and connecting them with archwire and all. I must be the most talkative and curious patient too. Whenever the Dr. begin to do something with my teeth, I never failed to ask him questions about it and he never failed to answer me patiently. There’s one thing I really hated about going to the clinic, it’s the oral lamp above the dentist chair. Most of my appointments are in the evening after my work hours and by then, my eyes are dead tired staring at the screen since morning. Now imagine a bright light above my head and what could be more irritating than staring at it for another half an hour or more with my mouth open. Yeah, I can close my eyes, but as I said I was always curious to see what he does.

I even came up with a few dentist jokes

My dentis is the only person who is capable of keeping my mouth open with out uttering a single word.

Dentist : Bi(y)te Please
Me: Bit my teeth 8 times


 Embraced

Once the braces were put on my tooth, I started embracing 2 things.

First one is my SMILE, yeah, my iconic smile. To be honest, in the beginning, I was a bit hesitant to smile with my braces. But the thing is, even I didn’t like my face without a smile on it, it even felt like not being myself. So, I threw out those fit for nothing hesitation and started to smile just like myself. As I always say, Smile is all that I have got and the following pics would tell how much I embrace my lovely smile (It’s ok if you’re not ok with the “lovely” part).

The second one is PAIN. It reminds me of one of my fav quotes, “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”. Being a foodie, It pains when you can’t eat your favorite food. It pains for 2-3 days when the braces are adjusted every 3 weeks for around 2 years. It pains when kids get scared of seeing those. It pains when people make fun of it. They say “Pain is temporary, Glory is forever”. So, I smiled and embraced it for my own glory to come.

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”

“Pain is temporary, Glory is forever”


My teeth move slowly said my dentist, probably deep down they are also as stubborn as me. It took almost 2 years to finally take them off. I still remember the day when the braces were put on my teeth, it was painful and felt too weird. That day Dr.Rachel Cherian (dentist & wife of my  dentist) comforted me that it’s gonna feel so good when they are removed. I realized her words on 7th July 2016, the day when the braces are finally removed. As she said, It felt so good and worth all the pain.


The following are some of the weight reduction style, before and after pics clicked by my dentist.

 

 

 

If “What a change over mama” is what you feel, you got a company, I too feel the same😀 .

I dedicate this post to the man behind the smile, my awesome dentist Dr.Sanjay Jacob and my sincere thanks to him.

The story ends here, not my smiles. Be Happy, Keep Smiling.

Yet Another Souvenir : Prayer Flag

Trek to Sandakphu – Part 6 – Refreshing Rimbik And The Rest

Recap from the last post: We were at Gurdum celebrating Giri’s Bday at midnight.

30-04-2016 (Day 6) Started as usual with tea, breakfast, and our customary group pic. Just before we start to our next destination, Sowmya thought us all a lovely good night song as tonight will be the last one we all will be spending together. So, we all learned to sing the same tonight.

“The time has come to say good night, to say sleep tight till the morning light.
We’ve had so much fun today, tomorrow is just a dream away.
The time has come to say good night, it’s the end of the lovely light.”

To Be Memorized. Ordered by Sowmya Teacher

To Be Memorized. Ordered by Sowmya Teacher

Customary Group Pic. PC: Sowmya

Customary Group Pic. PC: Sowmya

I thought the last leg of the trek gonna feel tiring rather to the contrary, it felt energetic. The route was down the valley, almost flat, narrow and exciting. Since the start, we heard the flow of the water and that sound was very refreshing. Later, on our way, we saw water flow through. As it’s an unmotorable road, we saw a worker carrying a huge tank over his head. Life is not easy here and these kinda scenes make me realize that life is not easy here. After 6 km of trekking, we stopped by SriKhola (1938 m) for lunch. After our lunch, we spent some time playing with water in the nearby stream. We also did play UNO for a while before resuming our trek. It was fun crossing the iconic SriKhola Bridge. As it’s an old wooden bridge in not so good condition,only one or two persons were allowed to cross it simultaneously. After yet another 7km trek, by late noon we reached Rimbick (1917 m), our last camp. Finally, we got mobile network after 6 long days and the calls and emails began to flow. Believe me, days were much better without the network. As we saw a few MOMO shops on the way, myself and Upma planned to have some. But, all our glorious plan went in vain as the shops shut down as early ar 5 pm here. At the end, we had to console ourselves with some chocolates. To celebrate our MC Giri’s birthday, Manali & Co. surprisingly baked a yummy pressure cooker cake topped with melted Dairy Milk chocolate and Gems. The best part is that they pulled it off with limited ingredients available there. Lavanya and Lakshmi also made a yummy Paal Payasam (Kheer) to top up the celebration. After Giri’s cake cutting followed the grand dinner which officially marked the end of this awesome trek. As planned, the day got ended with Sowmya’s good night song. While my sleepy head went to bed early and dozed off, the other guys DJed and danced along with cool and awesome landlord aunt. Seems I missed so much fun.

Unusually on 1-05-2016 (Day 7) everyone woke up early and got done with our tea and toast as we had to leave early to avoid traffic on our way back to Darjeeling. It was a tiring 60 km Van ride from Rimbik to Darjeeling. Luckily we had a pitstop at Dhotrey, yeah exactly the same place where the trek started. I had one of the best chicken MOMOs of my life in a small shop there just for Rs. 30 for a plate of 8. I had 3 plates plus an Omelet, that yummy it was. The rest of the ride was spent discussing Sambar and Chennai with Sachin who hails from Mumbai. Finally, by afternoon, we reached our base camp at Darjeeling. After refreshing and collecting our certificates, we decided to spare the little time we got on shopping. All I could get was a small prayer flag and some good black tea leaves in the limited time we got.  Then, we packed our bags, bid goodbye to the beautiful Darjeeling and took a Van back to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). It is like Win Rar on vans with high compression rate, 11 of us went in the same van which usually carry 7-8 people max. All I witnessed during this ride was my favorite Thirukkural, “Anbirkum Undo Adaikkuntaal Arrvalar Punkaneer Pusal Tharum”. Which means, Is there any fastening that can shut in love? Tears of the affectionate will publish the love that is within.  We reached NJP well in advance, so we relaxingly had our dinner and boarded the Padatik Express back to Kolkatta. As they say, history repeats itself, this time also a family requested me and nigilan to take the upper berth as they got women and children, and as usual, we happily agreed.

I woke up on Day 8 (2-05-2016) and not so soon I realized that we are running late. As out train was delayed for more than an hour, we had to skip our breakfast and rush to the airport to catch our flight back to Chennai. The sad part is that we didn’t even have time to buy Rasagulla which I promised to many. After munching some MOMOs at the airport, we boarded our flight by 11ish and landed back in Chennai by the afternoon. Once I was out of the airport I could feel the harsh Sun rays on my skin and could hear it whisper “Welcome home my boy”. This is what I have been missing for the past 10 days and nothing feels like home. As I was too hungry then and as Sudhakaran a.k.a puppy decided to give me some company, we hit our favorite Biryani place before returning back home.

IMG_20160430_214759

To be preserved. ID sealed and signed by all camp in charge. PC: Jai

 

Epilogue

Now don’t ask me where is the Prologue or search for it, it’s not there.
This trip was a super awesome one. It still feels like a dream, cos it’s something I did much out of my comfort zone. The high altitudes, the harsh cold temperature, the language and the food, all those are really out of my league, but somehow I managed. What makes travel more interesting than the places are the people. The whole group along with our guides made this trek a memorable one. I should really thank Buddy Jai, Nigilan, and Puppy who urged me to join this trek in the first place.

I recommend each one of you to travel. For me, traveling is not going on a tour with everything planned. It’s an adventure where you aren’t planned for everything. Traveling gives you lots of exciting experiences, open your taste buds to awesome food, befriend strangers and at the end, you will have quite a lot of interesting stories to narrate, just like this. All you must do is shed your comfort a little bit and there’s a lot of adventure out there to last you a lifetime.

The End.

Click By Vinod Velayudhan

Walking Down The OMR Food Street

One awesome thing being part of an awesome group like The Chennai Bloggers Club is you get invited to interesting events. This time, it’s a food tasting event at OMR Food Street. Situated near Thoraipakkam, OMR Food Street is the Chennai’s first organized food street. This place not only hosts a variety of eateries but also gives you a unique experience apart from the typical food court and street food. One could see this place buzzing with people even by 5 in the eve. Though I have been here before, being with blogging buddies is yet another different experience. I am not a food critic and reviewer and all, I am a simple foodie who enjoys food like any other. So, all I am gonna share about is what I had there in chronological order.

That 6pm crowd @ OMR Food Street

That 6pm crowd @ OMR Food Street

With Blogging Buddies PC: Mahesh Lakshmanan

With Blogging Buddies PC: Mahesh Lakshmanan

  1. Paniyaram
    It was Sindhu’s idea to start with Paniyaram first. There was a small shop named C-Tasty which sells a variety of Paniyarams such as Cheese, Mushroom, Paneer and Carrot Paniyarams. But we decided to go for the classic plain Paniyaram. It was soft and tasted good. The chutneys they gave accompanied the dish well, especially the Kara (Spicy) Chutney.

    Paniyaram

    Paniyaram

  2. Atho
    Being brought up in North Chennai, Atho needs no introduction to me. Actually, I was very surprised to see Burma Square, an Atho joint there. I am happy that this Burmese dish which is quite prominent in Noth Chennai areas has spread to other parts of the city. This is one of the things that I really missed after moving to South Chennai. Not only Atho, they also sell other Burmese food such as Sejo, Mohinga, Bejo Soup, Etc. The Atho was good but little spicier than authentic ones. The soup was good too but was slightly on the thinner side than the usual.

     

  3. Thattu Vadai
    I was really surprised to see one of Salem’s signature food being sold here. Once I enjoyed having it in Salem itself and thanks to Thattu Vadai Touch shop for bringing similar experience back. We ordered Thattu Vadai Set, Norukku Mix, and Panagam. Thattu Vadai was really awesome, Norukku was bit mushy and the Panagam  was perfect. It’s been years since I had Panagam, it used to be one of my favorite drink during my school days and remember preparing it even during one of my work experience cooking classes.

     

  4. Adai
    There is a shop here, that sells traditional Millet based food, the same way they do it in good old times even before rice and wheat were cultivated in large scale. So, to go with the kind of food they serve, they must have named it Ki Mu 200 (200 BC). We had Thinai Adai with Aviyal and Thinai Sweet Pongal. The Adai tasted a bit different, but the Sweet Pongal tasted
    quite typical.

     

  5. Paratha
    After munching South Indian dishes, it’s time for some North Indian ones. “Stuf-fed” sells all kinda stuffed parathas here. Out of all their options, we opted for Pyas Paratha. You know why? according to Sindhu, that’s the one which sounded cool😀 . The Parata was typical, but the accompaniments pickle and mint chutney took it to the next level.

    Pyas Ka Paratha

    Pyas Ka Paratha

  6. Crepe
    Friend: Bro, what’s Crepe?
    Me: It’s a thin dessert masala Dosa, where they stuff in fruits and ice cream instead of mashed potato, they also top it with maple syrup, honey, chocolate sauce etc.
    This conversation might not sound funny now, but it sounded then. We ordered Crepe Classic at Zuki&Co. Though it was delivered late, it’s worth the wait. The Crepe was soft, thin and had yummy fresh strawberry fillings. They also sell Nanari sarbat which is a must try.

    Crepe Classic

    Crepe Classic

  7. Ice cream Fruit Salad
    All I thought of was having some juice before entering “Oasis” the juice shop there, but I quickly made up my mind when I saw few others having Icecream Fruit Salad. It was not only eye-catching but tasted yummy too. Their selection of fruits in the salad was good and the syrup over the ice cream elevated its taste.

    Ice cream fruit salad

    Ice cream fruit salad

Just like the way I did If you also like to taste a variety of food under your budget, OMR Food Street is the place.

Look what a good food can do to me, it puts a big smile on my face. Awesome candid click my Mahesh Anna

Look what a good food can do to me, it puts a big smile on my face. Awesome candid click.  PC: Mahesh Lakshmanan

My sincere thanks to CBC for organizing and OMR Food Street for hosting us. It was a great experience to indulge in a variety of food and will definitely visit again.

Featured banner image courtesy Vinod Velayudhan.

Spirituality & The Spirit’s Duality

I am a person who lives on simple ideas about life and SPIRITUALITY is a sophisticated concept for my lean and mean brain to comprehend. So, after some Googling and Wikipediaing, I just realized one thing. For all these time we have been mixing up Spirituality and Religious Devotionality. But, I am not here to tell the difference, hope you can figure that out just like I did.

When I hear people talk about spirituality, they talk about the meaning, purpose of life and all. I tell them, I would better live mine and learn its meaning on the go, rather than just waste time thinking about the same. For me, spirituality is simple, it’s understanding and balancing the duality of the soul. By soul, I mean one’s spirit, one’s character and by duality I mean the coexistence of extremes.

This reminds me of Yin and Yang, one of my favourite symbols. It symbolizes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another (courtesy: Wikipedia). I feel the very first step in spirituality is to understand oneself in depth. Like the Yin and Yang, there is always a co-existence of good & bad and strengths & weaknesses in us. So, it’s highly critical to have a self-appraisal to figure these things out. The next step is learning to balance them, yes as you think it’s easier said than done. The art of channelizing one’s energy is a tough art to master and that’s where techniques like meditation help. If you ask me what’s the end result? It’s the feeling content, fulfillment, and peace within oneself. Those are the most valuable intangible asset one can gift himself.

My Yin Yang Pendant

My Yin Yang Pendant

If even the above feels bit complex and philosophical thing to you, I will try decoding it much further.

  • Be happy
  • Live and let live
  • Try to understand and be true to yourself
  • What you seed is what you reap and the rest you don’t get to keep.

This entry is a part of the Songs of the Mist contest run by The Chennai Bloggers Club and The Monk Key

Star trail as seen from Gurdum

Trek to Sandakphu – Part 5 – Gleaming Gurdum

Recap from the last post: We were at  Sandakphu witnessing a beautiful sunrise.

As said in the last post, 29-04-2016 (Day 5) started with an amazing sunrise. After near zero degrees temperature last night, all my body wanted was some sunshine on it.  With water scarcity here, taking a bath is completely out of the question. Leave bathing, even rinsing after brushing froze my mouth, that cool it was. After our typical breakfast and the customary group picture, we started to trek further to our next camp around 8.20 am.

The Customary Group Pic @ Sandakphu

The Customary Group Pic @ Sandakphu

What’s more painful than climbing up is getting down too quickly. The same not only applies to the life but also to the trek too. Yes, it’s a 10 km long downhill path with a steep elevation drop of 1300 mt. My heavy backpack and no trekking poles made the trek even more difficult for me. Though I took each and every step with precaution, I did slide and slipped a couple of times. Luckily I could get hold of the shrubs and trees all along the path and save myself. But, the best part is that the route is right through the heart of Singalila National Park. Man, this place is captivating with colorful and pleasant smelling Rhododendron flowers all over.

Going down further, the Rhododendron got replaced by the bamboo forest. They say it’s the home of the red panda, but had no luck in spotting one, they are too shy types it seems. At times, I find myself walking alone on the narrow trails. That solitude and the sweet sound caused by the breeze flowing through the bamboo forest are priceless and soul-elevating. I would say it’s one of the best experiences during the trek. While we were resting near the bamboo forest, few of our guys happily started playing Gilli-Danda with the bamboo sticks there. What’s happiness, if not from these tiny pleasures.

As we walk further, the Bamboo got first replaced by fresh smelling pine trees. I even picked up a few pine leaves and pine flowers as a souvenir. These pine flowers are unique and I like them. Most flowers are appreciated for their fragrance and vivid colors, but I admire these pine flowers for their characteristics to stay strong and beautiful in extreme environments. If you want to compare women with flowers, then pine is my type. We took some rest in a small clearing in the pine forest. One thing we found out was, our guide cute Avinash not only climb mountains effortlessly but also climb trees in the same fashion.

Around 1.20 pm we reached our camp, Himalayan Sherpa Lodge at Gurdum (2400 m). This one is located in the valley, so one could see the beautiful view of mountains covering the place from all sides. Not just that, the sunshine and the warmth of the place felt comforting. As I haven’t taken a bath for straight 4 days, all I wanted after reaching there was to take a shower and I felt too relieved when I took one. While I was relaxing after the lunch, few of us played UNO and it was fun see them play. The lodge people were kind to give us their small hall for the evening. So, we had an eventful fun filled evening that day. Sowmya and Geetha danced classical, kathak and Bharatanatyam respectively. Honey danced folk and our MC Giri’s amazing dance moves made us all go crazy. It’s not just dance, we had Pune guys, Mumbai group, Nilofar and Shubham contributed well for the music department too. After all the fun, we headed back to the lodge for the dinner.

Post dinner, I was relaxing outside a small garden kinda place just opposite to the dining area and just gazed above. OMG, I never saw such a beautiful night sky in all my life. It was densely filled with stars, like millions of them. All I did was, lay myself down in the open and gazed at the eternity with my favorite tracks playing in my ears. In me, repeatedly prompted the below lines from one of my favorite Bharathi’s poem “Suttum vizhi sudar thaan kannamma”, where he compares her beauty in dark blue silk saree and diamond ornaments to the night sky and the stars.

“Pattu karuneela — pudavai
Padhitha nalvayiram
Natta nadunisiyil — theriyum
NatshathirangaLadi”

IMG-20160515-WA0000

That’s quite a lot a lot of stars. PC : Akanksha

star trail 2d

Earth rotates, so do I. Star trail well captured. PC : Akanksha

Wow, what a magical moment that was, the one I wanna cherish all my life. Luckily, Mayur and Akanksha patiently clicked the night sky. Then, Myself, Vihari, Upma, Honey, Rishab and Nilofar spent a while listening to Tamil and Hindi songs. We also did click some scary night pics😀, One can call it low light photography😀.

I went early to bed, while the rest of the Tamil gang enjoyed playing cards. I was woken up by my friends just before the strike of midnight. Then, we all wished our beloved MC Giri a very happy birthday. We gifted him our wishes which were written on a small paper napkin and a wonderful impromptu bouquet which buddy Jai managed to make just with the flowers there. After the celebration, I went back to continue my sleep and that’s an awesome day ended.

Enga Ooru Madrasu

Madras or Chennai or However you name it, It’s more than just a city for me. Not just me, I believe it’s the same with most of the Chennaites here. Beyond its history and rich culture, it’s its people that make this city a loving one. The People of Chennai stood strong and united against the worst floods and that portrayed the humble yet mighty spirit of the city. There are million more reasons to take pride in this city. I am a proud Chennaite. This is a prompted post written with Chennai Bloggers Club for the campaign #WhatIsYourPincode. This post is all about PinCodes that were/are not only part of my address, but also part of my life.

600081 – Tondiarpet

This place owns lots of my early childhood memories as we stayed there till my 5th grade. It’s where my dad grew up and it’s where my grandma home is.  This place earlier called as “Lebbai Kaadu” got its name cos of a Muslim saint named Kunangudi Masthan Sahib. He was called Thondiar as he hailed from Thondi in Ramanathapuram District. As he meditated in this place it came to be known as Tondiarpet.

Like many other areas in the north Chennai, this one is an unsung hero too. It houses many manufacturing units, oil refineries, warehouses and export houses. The most famous Metal Box Factory which manufactured iconic ponds powder tins and Indian Oil cans used to operate there. The factory got closed as plastic became more popular and affordable, now only the ruins of the factory remain and sparingly used for film shootings.

How many of you know that one hospital here played a major role in eradicating SmallPox. Yes, it’s Chennai Corporation’s Communicable Diseases Hospital, which is dearly called as Cholera Hospital by the locals. All credits go to Dr. Ayyagari Ramachandra Rao a.k.a Slayer of SmallPox, who was its first Superintendent between 1959 and 1964. He set up a smallpox virus laboratory there and assisted Dr. Henry Kempe of the University of California in developing a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The improved vaccine saved millions of lives and Dr. Kempe was nominated for the Nobel Prize for the same. Now it’s a Three hundred and fifty bedded hospital with a full-fledged laboratory facility for diagnosis and treatment of all communicable diseases also and serving as a teaching institution.

600019 – Thiruvottiyur

This is one place which my heart misses so much now, I miss its people, beach, crowd and the chaos. It was my home for 13 years since we moved out of Tondairpet and majority of my life was built around it. The name of this place originated from the Tamil infinitive ‘orutral’ which means ‘to exempt’. As two stories centered around the origin of this place and both the stories were exempted in naming this place which is special. Anything that’s special gets a prefix “Thiru” in Tamil, so the name “Thiru Orutriya Oor” which means the specially exempted town. Later got its colloquial name “Thiruvottiyur“, the name which is used at present. Very interesting entomology isn’t it.

It’s mostly a residential place. It is surrounded by industrial areas such as Ennore and Manali, so most of its residents were the ones who work in factories and the fishermen who fish by the coast. Talking about factories, it used to be the only place where the Royal Enfield bullets were manufactured until an additional unit was opened near Oragadam.

Thirovittuyur Periya Kovil (Big Temple) a.k.a Thyagaraja Swamy & Vadivudai Amman Temple here is one of the oldest temple complexes in Chennai, which is said to exist since 7th Century. This temple was said to be expanded by Rajendra Chola I son of  Raja Raja Chola. Unlike my dad and my friends who are regulars to this temple, I rarely visit during festivals and uzhavarapani (temple cleaning). Very near to the coast, lies the resting place of the famous Tamil saint Pattinathar.

600013 – Royapuram

Royapuram, that’s where my aunt’s (my mom’s sister) house is. I used to spend weekends and school vacations there along with my cousins as it wasn’t that far from Thiruvottiyur. I would sit up on its terrace for hours and curiously look into the huge heap of iron ore being transferred into bulk carriers and containers being loaded onto the ships by cranes. This place got its name from the famous St Peter’s Church located there. As St Peter is called Rayappar in Tamil, the Rayappar Puram got colloquially transformed into its current name “Royapuram“.

This place is yet another unsung hero of North Chennai. Royapuram railway station which was built on 1856 is the oldest railway station in south India and oldest surviving railway station in the Indian subcontinent. This area is also famous for the Parsi Fire Temple which was built during 1910 and its the only one of its kind in Chennai. It is a major seafood export hub too, The famous Kasimedu fishing harbor which is  one of the 6 major fishing harbors in India in terms of volume belongs here. N4 bridge, my favorite peace spot is an integral part of this harbor. This might surprise you, this area also houses a museum specially dedicated to India’s greatest mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujam. One thing that’s must try in this area is C.Kunhiraman & Sons mango ice cream. This small provision store has been selling their signature mango ice cream for more than 70 years for a reasonable prize.

600126 – Madambakkam

This is where I am now, writing this blog post. We moved here from Thiruvottiyur as we got our first and only own home here. It’s  calm and purely residential neighborhood. “Madam” means multi-storied residents. As this place used to abound of such buildings, it got its name “Madambakkam”.

This place is well known for its Dhenupureeswarar Temple. This 1000+ years old temple is said to be built by Chola king, Parantaka Chola II, father of Raja Raja Chola. This old temple was restored and currently been conserved by  Archaeological Survey of India and has been declared a monument of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains 2010 Act.

My sincere thanks to CBC for the prompt and giving me an opportunity to write about areas that are close to my heart. I felt really good and nostalgic while writing this post. Chennai I love.