Thursday, May 04, 2006
Chennai- A Cultural Blend of Life for All
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
I am a firm believer of visuals and love to make my blogs appear as colorful and attractive as possible. It never ceases to amaze me about the cultural changes happening in Chennai, no matter, how many times i hear about it from family and friends or read about it on papers.
Although, we keep hearing that Chennai has now become a cultural potpourri for youngsters and the BPO boom has changed the pace of lives and activities in the city,
there is a lot more to Chennai than just that. Its been 2 years since i last visited and i try to keep up with the hot new happenings, and have my own impressions about this city where i spent 21 years of my school and college growing up.
To me, Chennai has always been a cultural medley of the traditional/conservative and the modern folks. The uniqueness about this city is that it caters to all kinds of people in a variety of ways. For instance, the traditional south indian carnatic music concerts/kutcheris, dance and temples have always been there. Although, this is predominently visited by the middle and old age community people, there are a lot of youngsters who expose their talents every year- proof of it can be seen at the December music season in sabhas.There has always been the Nalli and Kumaran silks saree shopping,crowds of Ranganathan Street, Pondy Bazar and Naidu Hall shoppers to add to this. Fragrant jasmine flowers, hot chips and Marina/Besant Nagar beach outings with a group of friends in two-wheelers have all been present.
On the newly evolving lifestyle, trendy coffee shops, shopping malls, expensive eat-outs with varied cuisine choices, disco and pub hopping, partying into the wee hours of the night, tight cotton short top kurtas, jeans etc. are adding fervor to the youngsters lives in this metro city. I guess in some ways, many of these youngs adults who have comfortable paying jobs are now working hard and partying more. Its these folks that make the headlines and gossip columns stating that Chennai has lost its conservative touch and has become a loose environment for bold youngsters.
So, is all this just bad news for the city's image? My answer is both Yes and No. I am glad that the work culture has improved and people are giving importance to academics, its not just engineering alone anymore, but other fields such as marketing, sales, arts,etc. seem to be evolving and jobs are being created for many. Its good to break barriers and norms to blend in with a group of co-workers in order to be more outgoing and have a better overall personality. The middle class folks definitely need that kind of exposure and not just being book worms and getting top scores in exams. In some ways, the social mixing is good, as it doesn't make you be a loner. The parent and elders need to take into account this kind of transformation and encourage it positively, for example, if your son or daughter wants to work in a pizza hut to earn a few bucks to become independent, its a good thing. Its not wise to say, just stay home and study, we will give you the money. But, at the same time, the young adult must recognize this and not misuse the freedom given to him/her and lose out on academics by just hanging out in pizza places, coffee joints etc.
In conclusion, i feel that Chennai is strongly evolving to become a blend of the old and new inspite of the modern additions. It is the same crowd that attends the Sanjay Subbramanyam, Nityashree kutcheris that also hang out at Shankar Mahadevan and Zubin Mehta's concerts. It is this crowd that distinguishes the BGM in an Illayaraja tune and compares it to the rock n roll rhythms.
Let us go with the flow and always keep in mind that Chennai will still remain a place that has the ancient Kapaleshwar temple, Santhome church, Thousand lights mosque and also is making room for Quickie's Coffee Pub, Zara Spanish Bar and the LifeStyle Shopping Malls.