A tale to tell when my city wakes

Its not often I get up early in Chennai for there is nothing much to do at that hour in a holiday. Nevertheless I did today. the city rises early and as a consequence, sleeps early. So at four in the morning you can very well hear the sounds of women splashing water across their veranda. By five thirty all of them have made the mandatory kolam outside and gone in to boil milk. The first strains of Suprabhatam starts and by six thirty people have already taken a bath and have settled with the morning paper. Many people will blame me for stereotyping when they read this post. But that’s how the city is , that’s its character and that’s its soul. So today morning when I got up, I heard all the familiar sounds and because I did not know what to do I started flipping through channels. Much of the channels were wrapping up their late night entertainment by five. And then at five thirty all the channels started streaming devotional songs or carols.I was at that point tempted to blare gal mithi mithi bol on my speakers but was distracted with the morning coffee. I let the idea pass for then. Chennai or Madras as I prefer to call it is primarily a fishing hamlet. It has retained that essence knowingly or unknowingly in many queer ways, getting to work much before the crack of dawn is one such example.
Many years ago when I was still in that little protected heaven called school , I remember during the month of Margazhi, we used to get up at five wear our pattupavadais (silk skirts) and skip around to Bharatkalachar to recite Vishnusahasranamam. I would most times do so half asleep on the stage but the auditorium would be full in anticipation of the Upanyasam by Shri Velukudikrishnan that would follow.It was a routine then but now when I look back,I am pleasantly surprised.I have not been to Bharatkalachar in years but I suspect it must still continue with each passing batch of students.


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