"One bright morning, I decided to explore the city on my scooter. What better way than to go phut-phutting around, seeing the signs, street life and the clamour of a city?" Join Vinay Kamath as he peels open a slice of life in Chennai...

One bright morning, I decided to explore the city on my scooter. What better way than to go phut-phutting around, seeing the signs, street life and the clamour of a city? But, the scooter had a puncture. Well, nothing to do but push it all the way to Arun Puncher shop. Sweaty, tired and hungry, I was, by the time I fixed the ‘puncher’ and decided to stop for an ‘orange’ cola at Sandhya’s Hot and Cool Bar. It wasn’t cold enough and I told the owner, who was in a cut banian, that he needed to get to Re Jillers and get his fridge repaired.

I was hungry too; pushing a heavy scooter for a kilometre is no easy task. Right next door was a joint serving up some ‘hot pups’ of which I devoured two. Having got on the outside of some tasty ‘pups’, I set out on my journey. Soon, my stomach was rebelling. Evidently, the ‘canine’ snack didn’t go down well with my tums. I needed an antidote and drove my scooter to one of those ubiquitous medicals. Damn, why can’t they have these stores on the ground floor? My fat heart palpitating, I staggered up two floors and picked up the required gas mathrais at Lub Dub Medicals.

Feeling better, I set off again. I swerved as I passed Cut Piece Junction. I recalled the rather morbid comment by a friend that the home of the villainous Auto Shankar, who chopped up his victims with appropriate kolaveri, could be called Shankar Cut Piece Junction.

Now, careening along smoothly, another sign caught my eye: Chubby Chicks. Interesting, I thought, fattening ’em up for a meal. It sounds better than those ‘protein’ shops that have sprung up across the city. And, what was this on the left, Gay Travels? It must’ve been named in more innocent times when the word connoted plain joy and pleasure, I thought to myself.

All that riding around nalla Madras made me quite peckish. I thought it would be a good idea to attack a ‘barota-egg curry’. The lips were smacking. The choice was between Hotel Traffic Jam, quite creatively named, at a traffic signal. But seeing that a gleaming glass and granite monstrosity stood where the restaurant was, I turned to Hotel Runs. Or, perhaps, I should try the gopi manjari I saw advertised at a wayside hotel. And, top it all off with a glob jaan!

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