Do you like Old Madras or New Chennai? Have you moved on or do you still long for the old?

Spirited lot!

Looking back, the people of Chennai when observed on a time graph have been the same warm bunch always. The simple clan that is firmly rooted on value-based systems and is ever-friendly to people, the residents of Chennai, let in positive mutations enrich their system and uphold the eternal Chennai-ite spirit. A city whose heart and soul is a perfect culmination of modernity, tradition, sense and simplicity, it would be absolutely fitting and perfect to call Chennai, a city that's ever changing yet never changing!

Divya S., III Year, E&I, Sri Sairam Engineering

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Missing fragrance

I miss the malli-poo, the balcony ticket sambar- idly combination. It's only in the last five years that I have noticed alarming changes in Chennai. The malli poo trend is fast disappearing, even among the older generation. Even five years ago, no matter what you wore - Jeans, skirts , salwaar - your attire was not complete without malli poo. Often ridiculed as a fashion disaster, jasmine flowers still mean the scent of home! The balcony ticket; sambar-idly combination is an interesting but rapidly decreasing phenomenon. When the whole concept of instant tickets was a fantasy to Chennai, watching a movie was almost a ceremony. *Balcony ticket' was considered a privilege and often snacks in theatre were limited to popcorn. On the brighter side this meant most families would go to a restaurant afterwards and families would settle for sambar idly and ghee roast! These two things are more than just changes that happened! I very simply miss the fact that those things that stood for the simple pleasures of life, like a scoop of ice-cream have been replaced with other things now.

NANDHITHA HARIHARAN, XII, CHETTINAD VIDYASHRAM

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Lingering memories

Though born in Madras (now Chennai), I became a permanent resident of this metro 20 summers later. I would come during the summer vacation from Kanpur. The lingering jasmine fragrance that came with the flower vendors who boarded the train at Basin Bridge, the buses and the suburbans trains were the sweet memories that I calways arried with me. I can also never forget my trips in taxis. With restrictions on the number of passengers, I would be forced to kneel and keep my head below the window level for fear of being hauled up by the traffic constable.

M.S.VAIDYANATHAN

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Clean the Cooum

My grandma used to tell us that the first wish she made after moving to the city was to look around the places in Madrasapattinam. Being a station master it was no big deal for my grandpa. Every time she starts this story, she would say “Both of us used to walk near the Cooum every evening we were here”. And now I can't even travel over the bridge sitting in a car. But the movie “Madrasapattinam” was an eye opener and made me understand what my grandma was talking about. Let us not let our city down by leaving the Cooum as it is. Surely if we all work together, we can bring back our lost glory.

V. Ganga Bharani, Final year CSE SriSairam Engineering College

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Old and new

There have been too many changes in our city. When it was called Madras, it denoted life and joy than now when its re-christened as Chennai. Our city was full of greenery but where is it now? I can only see tall buildings all around. This proves that we have ruined our city. I know we have good changes too like flyovers and sub-ways to ease traffic but memories and wishes are hard to erase.

V. AKSHAYA, B.Tech, Rajalakshmi Engineering college

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No Drive-in

What I miss most about Chennai is the Woodlands Drive-In. It was a typical Sunday night dinner spot for me. Sitting there in the comforts of your car, getting sneak peaks at celebrities frequenting the joint, and chatting up the waiter was all that I used to do. It used to be like a whole new jungle inside a city. Enjoyable driving too. I might miss that a few notches more than Woodlands also. Driving can be a nightmare in the city and with the Metro coming up, things couldn't get worse.

Sameera Ahmed, III Year, IT, MIT

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Bird-watching

The city is no more kind to winged visitors. No more chirping, shy presence or flutter of tiny wings. Sad that there has been such a mighty 'Fall of the Sparrow'.. Though the IT Revolution has empowered India in many ways, it has destroyed much of our flora and fauna; a typical case being the OMR

Vasupradha Mahadevan, IV Year, B.E C.Sc, SRM Easwari Engineering College

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Less traffic

Five years ago I was a student in school. Chennai was then less clogged with cars, lorries and over-bridges. Presently we can carve up Chennai into two stages: upper Chennai and lower Chennai with the space between them immensely increasing. Less traffic meant more space for *healthy-verve-seeking' pedestrians like me. Now we get to notice more of AC buses, which are not exactly pocket friendly. Trees which provide us with fresh air and shelter flourished in our city then but now there are hardly any.

V. Mouniga, II, B.Tech I.T, Madras Institute of Technology

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My hometown

I've been living here only for the past four years. But my memories of the city dates back to the time when I used to come once every year during my vacation to visit my grandparents. The travel in the taxi from the Central station to Anna Nagar is unforgettable. I remember how I used to stick my small head out of the window and stare in awe at all the huge buildings. Little did I know that years down the line, those would be counted amongst the smallest buildings! I have seen Chennai grow...like literally! I see a new showroom or a mall cropping up every single day. Gone are those days when you had to travel for an hour to get to your favourite pizza place, now there is one in every corner. Chennai has definitely become more fashion conscious...its a good thing but sometimes i just miss the simple living…the times when wearing the local brand wasn't a crime! But one thing that hasn't changed and hopefully never will is the friendly atmosphere and the wonderful people. From a one yr old baby to a 90 yr old granny...everyone is addressed as “amma” or “akka”. Everyone is treated with so much of respect, something that is uniquely Chennai. Some may call this place *conservative', I prefer calling it *rooted in tradition' and I am proud of it. Chennai is most definitely changing…and changing fast, but some things never change...like our love for our city!

Hiranmayi Narayanan, II Year, BA.BL (Hons), The School of Excellence in Law

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On the move

When I think about the five years I have spent in Chennai, I find that the city has undergone many changes. The city on the whole has taken a giant step into becoming a metropolitan city. There has been a huge increase in the number of shopping malls and multiplex theatres and in terms of infrastructure, there have been numerous flyovers and multi crore buildings built such as Anna Centenary Library. A few years back, there were only a handful of people who had cell phones and access to the internet. Now many people including most of friends find it difficult to stay even a minute without these things. What surprises me most is that they have become extremely preoccupied with either sending a text message through their cell phone, or an instant message through face book that they neglect the living, breathing people around them. What makes me happy is that despite all these things the culture and heritage which forms the backbone of the city is still perfectly intact.

Prasanth G. Narahari, XII, Chettinad Vidyashram

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Different beach

I came to Chennai in 2000.The first landmark I saw then was the Marina beach. The beach was quite different from what it is now. Horse riding and tasty sundal have somehow taken a backseat. How can I ever forget the rides in the merry-go-rounds and last but not the least what I really miss is just standing on the shore for a long time, something I don't get to do now.

Gayathri S. Rathnam , II, IT, Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College

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Old is gold

The thing I miss the most is not calling it Madras anymore! To call it by any other name sounds wrong and forced. I frantically whip out my Digicam on the rare instances I see an old board or building that still has Madras in the place of Chennai.

Seyed Rabia (Recently finished M.B.B.S. at Sree Balaji Medical College & Hospital)