Namma Chennai

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
My blissful driving experience

Submitted: April 12, 2017

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Submitted: April 12, 2017



To me, driving on traffic-free ECR in the early hours never gets bored at all. If someone asks me the meaning for 'bliss', without referring a dictionary, I would confidently say its 'driving on ECR in the morning hours listening to Illayaraja’s music with a vigorous search for a steaming Idly-Vada or Masala Dosa serving restaurant”. 
No vegetarian dish can even stand next to Masala Dosa if its rightly prepared. Unfortunately, only a very few restaurants in Chennai serves you the authentic Masala Dosa. The rest of the restos charge us only for their advertisement and rental expenses. The bottom portion of the dosa must be roasted/cooked well with a generous pour of good oil or pure ghee and the upper portion must remain 10% raw, with the nicely prepared potato masal stuffed and rolled to perfection. 
And eating the first piece of a best Medhu Vada is an art. One must take his face and mouth close to the plate to inhale and relish the aroma of the crispy orange-brown vada, Idly and Sambhaaaaar together. But must ensure to keep the body stretched away from it to avoid staining your shirt. Then must dip a piece of the Medu vada and allow it soak in the hot sambar for a few seconds and before the sambar could drip back into the cup, must lift and drop it into his mouth in a flash and close the eyes to immerse in its taste. The juice of the sambar shall spread across your tongue and the middle of the vada shall begin to disintegrate while the outer crispy portion which must now be a little soggy will give you a chance to chew a few bites. Hmmm just divine and awesome. 
I did that exactly today. After my early morning Fajr Salah at 5:25am. Had my bath and got ready to start on a very important work at Anna Nagar. Usually, before I dress up, it's my 13 year old son Zuhair's affectionate order that I must keep his school uniform, socks, banian, school ID, cream and his roller comb ready on his bed before he comes out of his bathroom after bath. I have never violated (t)his order. 
Alhamdulillah!! we both sat together and had our breakfast - Idly, Dosa, coconut chutney and sambar made of fresh ground/pound ingredients. My taste-buds gratefully thanked my wife for that mouthwatering sambar which she had sincerely prepared in the morning, sacrificing her holiday sleep. May Almighty bless her with good health and more such sumptuous recipe?. 
After dropping my wife at the nearby grocery, I proceeded to drive on the ECR listening to my evergreen favourite, Illayaraja melodies, belonging to the 90's. 
Hah!! Next time when I write I shall find a word better than 'bliss'. Will ecstasy be right?? 
I deviated from my usual route and took a right at Thiruvanmiyur to travel via Valmiki nagar and then through Besant Avenue. The car, the drive, the music, the early morning weather and stomach filled with steaming idly - chutney - authentic sambar, I continued my drive with a feeling of being blessed through that picturesque Besant Avenue, forest road as I call it, seriously attempting in many ways to bring out a piece of roasted and fresh ground 'Dhaniya' seed with my tongue that was refusing to come out from between my teeth. ????
The previous night's gardening/watering had made the road look more black and the trees greener. I drove through Theosophical Society, KFI and Karpagam Gardens. Aunties and smart looking uncles were competing with the current day youth to keep themselves "fit" doing their morning walk. I must confess that was definitely a good warm-up!!! 
The continuous huge white compound walls on both sides came along with me until I reached Adyar, Aavin signal. 
From then on, started the chaotic traffic, dusty roads, stinking sidewalks, faulty or no signals, pot holes, discourteous public servants, unsolved public issues etc.,
Despite these minor irritants and inconveniences, #NammaChennai, is Chennai. I love Chennai for its "no hatred attitude", receptive and helpful nature, tradition & vast culture, Marina Beach, Kaiyendhi Bhavans, innumerable biriyani outlets etc. Chennai is the only city in the whole of India, where a person can happily eat and survive in less than ?30 a day. 
Thanks to #AmmaUnavagams across Chennai for that. An astounding initiative by the late Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. 
Vibrant Chennai. 
M Abbas Naushad

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