Jun 142006
 

Visiting [tag]Chennai[/tag] was an impulse. Patti just turned 83 – and I wanted to spend some time with her. Eversince I returned to India in 94, I have been promising her that I would come down and spend a week with her – but it wasn’t to be. One fine day I was sitting in office and before you could say Chennaipattnam – i had booked a return trip. I had actually wanted to get to Munnar for a walking holiday, I ended up in Chennai for a mini pilgrimage. patti My grandmother [tag]Jet Airways[/tag] was late by an hour. I had booked online a week earlier and got my return for around 5800 -which by all accounts is a good price. The Jet Price was about a few hundred more than Deccan or Spice. The former, I had heard nightmare expereinces about and the latter didn’t fly direct to Chennai. There are somethings that don’t change about Jet. The accent of their personnel for one. The air stewardess had an incomprehensible accent that managed to maul two languages. Just one odd thing – no one in Jet bothered to check photo ID with the e-ticket that I had – both on the forward and return journey. While i appreciate the vote of faith, I would be very unhappy if a terrorist got in using the same method. The first day chitti - mom’s younger sister – took us down to [tag]Dakshin Chitra[/tag] – a few acres of traditional south indian heritage from the colonial period. Home preserved as they were a couple of centuries ago. Located on the Muttukadu road on the way to Mahaballipuram, Dakshin Chitra is a labour of love. Dwellings of various communties are painstakingly recreated – brick brick transported from elsewhere. There are Chettiar, Syrian Christian, Brahmin, Weaver, and Agricularalist homes that are built to scale. Step over the kollam decorated steps and you are transported to another time Traditional Kollam (rice powder drawings) at Dakshin Chitra Dakshin Chitra is more than a museum that houses homes, artefacts and accessories of a bygone era. It also provides a base ofr artisans and craftspeople from all parts of India to come in and display their art and sell their wares. I ended up buying Rajasthani bangles from a bangle maker and seller! If you are in Chennai and have a day to kill, this is quiet corner where you can get a good dose of traditional culture.