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Time For Another Walk, Gracious Ladies!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    Festive season in on. Deepavali is round the corner. It is not fair on my part to load you with the woes of Rajis and Radhikas during this season. So, let's take another walk (or shall I say ride, a bike ride) around the busy streets of Madurai.

    Yesterday I had to go to the town, the Temple Area with a weird shopping list - a foldable steel clothesline for my wife, a high-quality handsfree attachment for my mother in laws cell phone and the year's Anandhavikatan Diwali Malar. (Remember, my story is there; it is in a separate thread).

    The Chitrai streets (the streets around the temple) were quite unusually crowded. What I described in the last walk was probably the usual festival crowd. With a 100 CC poweful machine of a bike which can speed up from 0 to 80 kms in 5 seconds flat, I had to go so slow, that the walking crowd was overtaking me. In many places I had to just use my legs and slowly push the vehicle.

    And I saw Rajmahal, the famous silk saree shop in Madurai. The shop which has a very catchy ad slogan, "Thottu Thodarum Oru Pattu Paarampariyam". Even from the outside I could see that the shop was full. And people were waiting outside too. There was no place to stand outside the shop let alone park the vehicle.

    I started to pray for my parking space. As an answer to the prayers a person came to pull out his bike from the crowded parking lot. I drove in mine and started to walk to my destination.

    My God, what diverse varieties of people! And festive happiness is in their faces. Especially the people from the surrounding villages. Their hands were full of shopping bags. It was pleasant to hear their dialect. These people usually talk in long-winding sentences and sprinkle their speech with a lot of proverbs, most of them home grown. (One was saying to the other, "Endi, dosaiya thiruppi podalam, idliya thiruppi poda mudiyuma?; We can turn over Dosa, but not idli" A simple simile and a profound truth).

    People from the villages used to have neem oil on their hair in those days. The usual reason given is that it is good for health and good for hairgrowth. But you go a mile near them you cant bear that pungent, bitter smell. I can think of one practical reason for the use of neem oil; it is the best protection for women from the urban men. No can go near them let alone touch or molest them.

    Coming to the problem of eve-teasing I remember the words of my good friend who used to be the correspondent of Senthamizh Kalloori. (College for Tamil Literature) A lawyer steeped in Sangam literature he used to recount his early days in Madurai. This 80 plus gentleman has been living in Madurai all his life. He told me once that in those days people in some of the villages west of Madurai never used to wear a blouse. They will simply roam about topless in the streets. People never thought anything odd about them. And there were no eve-teasing incidents. But this was some 70 years ago.

    It was only the media, mainly the mags, cinema and TV, that introduced some kind of "vihalpam" a kind of vulgarity about all these things.

    I walked around the temple savouring the crowd and the temple sights. They have now fixed some powerful searc lights at some 10 feet above the ground level. These lights focus on the temple gopurams. So when you have the right angle you see the Gopuram bathed in very powerful light.

    Just to report to you I bought a packet of Kondakadali sundal for Rs.3. It was laced with onion shavings, green chillies and coriander leaves. It tasted really good.

    I walked in Vengalakadai Street and it is here we have the textile giants - Kumaran, Rajmahal, Madurai Silks et al. The other end of Vengalakadai Street is Therkavani Moola Veedhi where we have Madurai's jewellery bazaar. This street used to transact in millions in those days. But one person came out it and opened a huge show room in the adjacent Dindigul Road. The shop is called Thanga Mayil Jewellery, another famous landmark. That shop used to business in crores when Alukkas set foot in Madurai. They have their huge showroom in West Masi Street. And beleive me Alukkas showroom is as crowded as Rajmahal's.

    It was towards the end of my walk and ride, when I had almost finished shopping, something happened that made me to post this thread. I was in Town Hall Road now. The Kondakadali sundal packet was still half-full. I had parked my vehicle in Kaka Thope Street (another busy street of Madurai; all the houses in the street used to be very long and narrow. Some houses are 200 feet long and less than 10 feet wide. And all the houses have common walls. You cant do anything with your wall for it will be the wall of your neighbour too. The problem of continuous construction. Once used to be a residential area now this street has become highly commercial. The long, narrow houses became ideal for pipe traders. So much so that the street is now nicknamed Kaka Tube Street)
    As I was walking in Town Hall Road the power went off. Imagine a busy thorough fare where hundreds of men and women are there. Women wearing jewels. (To display your wealth by means of jewellery is a trend in Madurai) People loaded with shopping bags. But nothing happened. People continued to go about their way as if nothing had happened. Nobody even raised their voice. Except an inebriated man who was talking to himself, who just raised his volume by a bit when it became dark. But even he did not attempt to do anything untoward.
    That was the moment when I was really proud of my people. These people stuck on to their moral values not because of any policing (which is of course awfully bad around here) but because of the taste they had in morals per se.

    Purnima, I think this to some extent answers your question. Though we are bad in some respects in some aspects we are good. In fact better than many other nations.

    Thanks once again for coming along,
    regards,
    Varalotti
     
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  2. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Shall i tell you the truth Varalotti?

    I truly and thoroughly enjoyed this weeks post! It felt as though i was buzzling through the streets of Madurai! Incidentally we(i am in Palakkad at my inlaws place right now) had gone for Diwali Shopping yesterday, so reading your post today seriously has brought in the true festive season. I am looking forward to all IlLites to talk about their diwali shopping.

    Varalotti, i have been to Madurai a few times. The two things that i really love in madurai are:
    1)The Meenakshy temple-- i love the 1000 pillars each of which has a 'tune' attached to it. The huge luxurious walkway within the temple just seems to accomodate millions of devotees who come to visit our dear Meena Madam(as you rightly put it) with great ease! Also i love the parrots which fly all around the temple. and after a walk through the temple, finally when we see the goddess, we feel a kind of bliss , which cannot be explained, and that bliss, i dont get in all temples!

    2) Madurai Malli-- The awesome fragrance of Madurai malli still lingers in my nose. In fact, after a very long time i bought malligai poo from palakkad, which hardly had any smell!!!I immediately told my MIL "sho Amma, malli na madurai malli thaan"

    I have not been in Madurai long enough to experience other good things, but from my short and sweet stay the above 2 things has always stayed in my heart now and will forever!

    Thanks Varalotti, you are different and creative in every aspect!

    Purni
     
  3. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    As a co-Maduraite, I am walking with you, Sridhar!

    Please tell me Sridhar…..Whether you have taken a Deepavali resolution to make me feel very homesick all over again! As you are aware, it is just 2 weeks since I returned from our dear hometown.

    We lived right in the middle of Town Hall Road ( now I realize that we had been next door neighbors to your parents-in-law!). You are right, our house being toooooo long, the backside of our house was Kakathope Street. That name, which, as a young girl, I thought sounded “funny” now is music to me. Such unique names like Valayalkara theru, Manjanakara theru, glasskara theru, vaikolkara theru, Gopalakothan theru, nellupettai, Periyakadai veedhi, kalrai chandu, Chinnakadai veedhi are the specialties of our town.

    Will you believe, the gold Kamakshi Vilakku, I have posted in my Puja format, was purchased by me on the day Thangamayil opened their show room. Since Modern Restaurant is almost next door, a visit to Thangamayil, the “gold shop”, will always be “polished” with Patnam Bakoda from M R and Visalam Coffee on the way back home.
    Now, don't tell me that neem oil served the purpose , you have mentioned. For rustic men living in villages, I am sure, that must have been an "inviting" smell from their womenfolk. This is a speciality in the nearby Achambathu.

    The “power cut” incident, you have written, makes me pat us on the back, for our extreme tolerance. I feel, people living in metro cities have less patience and are always in a hurry, in their lifestyle. We Maduraites are the true followers of Desiderata and “ go placidly amid the noise and the haste”. So much for our mental make-up!

    We always had “topless” housemaids (ofcourse wearing saree in Madurai style with mun kosavam), who used to wear “pambadam” in their ears. My father, as a surgeon, was famous for “ reconstructing” it to normal! The typical words of my maid to her son were “ aelai Thangarasu, gundakka mandakka ethinaachum chenchitaathae, angittu ingittu poyirathae thambi,ekkuthappa ethunaa ayirum “. The words “gundakka mandakka” , "angittu ingittu", "Ekkuthappa" are all typical of our place.

    As you rightly wrote, Maduraites are generally simple at heart and content with small pleasures. We never complain, there are not many recreational facilities or beach etc.
    Nothing can ever equal a walk around the 4 Adi Veedis. Visiting our Meenakshi almost everyday without fail is a must for all Maduraites who live
    “ downtown”!!

    I hope, I won’t plan to run to our Madurai, to celebrate Deepavali, after writing this! The temptation, needless to say, is too much.

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.


     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2006
  4. safa

    safa Bronze IL'ite

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    Happy Reading!

    This time Deepawali and Eid come together! My child is so happy coz she and her friends are in the mood of festivals and discuss what they are going to do on that days..
    I love reading travelogues and personal experiences than stories and other stuff. This time you took us for shopping in the crowded streets of Madura. I hadn't purchase any thing for Eid yet, but imagined that I did a shopping there..Here, I do not feel the importance of special days, living in this Big City everyday is a celebration and couldn't find any difference..If I was in Kerala, it would be really happy to enjoy all the particular days with our family..:cry:
    I miss my home , parents and every one in home...
    The only place I know in Tamil Nadu is Palani, that we passed through it when we were going to Kodaikanal ten years back..I still remember the temple there.
    what you said about the patience of people in Madura is true. I believe most of the villagers are innocent people..
    Thank you so much for sharing a beautiful evening with us..
     
  5. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    2 in 1 reply....

    Hello Sridhar,

    thanks for your warm welcome to your Madurai. shall make it sometime. after reading your posts the urge is more to visit Meenakshi temple & to eat some authentic madurai food. thoroughly enjoyed the walk around Madurai streets except couldn't taste the kondakadala sundal. I too love walking thru busy shopping streets during festive days - its a refreshing experience but haven't done it for a looooong time now; things changed after marriage..

    Now coming to Blore walk around - I too know why you enjoyed walking down brigades & com st - to witness the "fashion parade" there, right??? we tooo witness a lot more there ;-). I still remember a lot of naughty stuff that we did there on those roads -pls don't let your imagination run wild, naughty -yes but we were such nice, cute, goody girls.. to move around without touching or to save ourselves from other's advances was a challenge then. Every birthday, every increments, new jobs & first salaries, we've celebrated / treated each other at restaurants situated in & around that area followed by watching a movie in the nearby theatres - have lazed around eating chats, chur muris, ice creams, pop corns, etc in the evenings. met each others boy friends, crushes there, list goes on & on.... do miss those days a lot.

    Now, for the pengal oor - I think the whole world is pengal world - without us is there any fun?? Imagine Men going for shopping - I really wonder why men don't enjoy visiting a dozen shops before buying things. why shldn't they see a dozen shirts & slect one. why not enjoy chocolates & ice creams & pani puris?? why don't they dress up neatly atleast presentably. without women do you think the festive season will have any meaning at all??? Its definitely our world, Sridhar!!
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I am making you jump the queue because...

    Hello Meena,
    I am making you jump the queue because you touched something close to my heart.
    We had been to Bangalore this September for a Masonic meeting. As four of us friends were strolling down commercial street and the Brigade road, we took upon ourselves an interesting topic of research - the messages on the T-shirts. My God! I have now enough material to present a doctoral thesis on that. One attractive girl had the message, "Eat, drink and remarry." The rest I don't want to narrate here lest the organisers should haul me for violating the forum etiquette.
    As we were nearing the end of the walk there was one 60 plus man with us who had not spoken anything about the message. And finally he clinched the talk,
    "Young men, you were studying the messages and I...." this also I can't say here I respect our forum rules.
    His quote was so poignant that we forgot for a moment we were standing in the MG Road intersection and were laughing like mad.
    If you want his quote I suggest you write to the moderator and let me get the quote approved by her before sharing it in the forum.
    When I say Pengal Oor it does not mean that women dominate but only means there are lot of woman. You have immediately taken the feminist's role that the whole world belongs to the ladies.
    I am not foolish enough to contradict your statement in this forum. But let me just add something to balance your views. As life without women would be boring and listless for men, so it is the other way round.
    Men and women are actually one organism existing in two parts.
    This also reminds me of an incident that happened a few years back when some families had gone to Bangalore. We were taking our stroll in the commercial street when the wife of one of my friends shouted at him,
    "enough, sight manna! dont look at other women especially when I am by your side."
    I thought there was going to be a showdown right on the road. But my wise friend replied with a smile.
    "Honey, let me enjoy looking at beautiful woman here. When we go back to our town (I wont say which town it is, lest the women of that town might get offended) there would be no beautiful or fashionable woman to look at. There you are Miss Universe, the Aishwarya Rai of our town. I would not look at any other woman there. But here, let me have my way."
    The wife a lady with a good sense of humour laughed aloud and all of us felt a sense of relief.
    And you have reminded me of pranks. I will devote one whole thread for pranks. regards,
    sridhar
     
  7. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    "Pengal Oor"??!!

    Hey hey...wait a sec..when did 'Bengal oor' become 'Pengal oor'?..:))))

    Just as I was enjoying all that walk and sundal, patnam bakoda and visalam 'kaapi' of Madurai, in pops my own Bangalore, thanks to Varalotti, Chitra and Meena:) Espcecially Meena, a fellow Bangalorean I presume:)
    Oh, this thread has made me nostalgic and listless alright. I may even be able to go back to Bangalore, but how will I be able to bring back those carefree days of mine..tsk tsk:( Brigade road always touches a chord in me, my school is just a stone's throw away from there. Also the very first beauty parlour I visited and Koshy's, Nilgiris and oh so many other things.
    I also had to think of the numerous innocent pranks we played as youngsters and Diwali was especially a time when we threw those little crackers which would burst behind innocent by-passers! I forget the little 'pattasu's name! Onions or something!! (Mind you, we took care to choose other healthy youngsters as targets, not some ole' frail ones!)
    I bet the parade at the said roads did leave its impression!! So when will the doctorate be awarded Varalotti saar?;)
    I too enjoy reading travelogues and about places of interest and importance. Thanks Varalotti for bringing in a new spectrum to your themes. I am enjoying this thread immensely.

    L, Kamla
     
  8. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    nice walk with the ILites...

    Hello Sridhar,

    I only hope I won't be kicked out of IL for instigating you to write all about the quotes on T-Shirts & for the yet-to-start new thread on pranks.

    I thought each place had its own brigades &com sts., since I haven't been to such hang-outs in other places I don't know what makes you say, Blore is pengal oor. anyway, I feel nice about it.

    there seem to be more ladies joining us in teh walk. it would be nice to hear about other places toooo. all in all, a nice walk with Ilites. I enjoyed thoroughly.
     
  9. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    beautiful walk from madurai to Blore

    Hello Kamla,

    welcome aboard -- we've been walking from Madurai to Bangalore and after tasting sundal, pakodas, kaapi, its time for pizzas, mexican wraps, KFCs, etc. Like you, I do have so many special memories of my days in Blore.
    I'm not very far off now but still I do miss that place.

    have you ever watched a movie sitting in the first seat of low class? I had to do it once with my friends. Once while shopping on residency road we saw the posters of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam & it was the first day of release in Galaxy.the threatre was soooo crowded. My friend pestered so much so we went to buy tickets. the I class tickets got sold out & nobody willing to sell tickets even for double /triple the price; we had to try our luck at the low class ticket counter & we were the lucky few who got the seats at the last minture and it was the first row. We had to look up at the screen all thru & came out with a neck pain. one incident we still talk about when we meet. One of Aish's best movie ever. We were five of us but enjoyed watching it together. Hubby keeps bullying me even today about this incident.

    Now let me share a secret with you - the Blore roads are so very special to me. the traffic wasn't this chaotic at that time & we had these spots/points called kissing points. at these points hubby would steal a kiss from me. without a kiss, the car would slow down & come to a halt and I used to be so shy, so embarrassed, (I'm blushing here). but later, after few months, I got over it. I started using dark lipsticks & gave a nice kiss on his cheeks, collars of shirt, hands that the car used to speed up & reach the destination fast. the KPs were scattered all over Blore - residency road, MGs, queens Road, koramangala, jayanagar all most all teh blocks, malleswaram, etc.

    the last time I'd been in Blore, we spent half a day at Garuda mall & met as many friends & famillies we could. It was the most enjoyable day.

    I'm looking forward to my next trip to Blore.

    Love & regards,
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Sridhar, where all are you leading the ladies to ????

    My dear Meena,
    I am such a conservative Madurai Ponnu still, that I cannot get over your letter - ha ha ha !

    Sridhar, being "young", "dashing", "sauve" & last but not least " daring" in spite of living in old-fashioned Madurai would have identified K P s in the narrow, crowded streets of Madurai (can't call them roads) & I must check up with Indhu on that point, when I meet her next ! Let me have some "spicy talk" with her !!!
    How can we allow Madurai to lag behind the stylish B'lore ?

    Your enjoyment of those " stolen moments" is very obvious, why you do you write ( for the sake of writing?) that you are blushing ?
    Was it just K ...... G' or more, I am curious, my dear dear Meena !
    Love & regards,
    Anonymous.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2006

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