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Morning Musings in Chennai vs Kolkata

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Morning Musings in Chennai vs Kolkata

Chennai has its little nothing ways of making you comfortable. Hordes of akkas and annas, who start their life at 5 in the morning with rice flour designs or kolam in front of their houses, dedicated hard work as an offering to life. Their gold and the kanjeevarams flickering in the sunlight and their dark glistening skin of experienced streaks say a thousand stories of yore and today. Take a turn into the markets and the first smell of jasmine entices you as a calling from beyond. Curry leaves everywhere and the rustic compassion in a metropolitan is overwhelming. The highways and main roads look like small conventions of bikes. Oh Lord, the bikes of Chennai!

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Corporate has a huge contribution to making this city a metropolitan. Most women work, is something that stands out on levels beyond superficial discussion, in India at least. The flavours of the local bakeries and the sea roaring in the distant, dosa batter on oil and so on and so forth. Wonders are just a notice away from unparalleled appreciation. It has been over two years in Chennai and with its flaws and surprises through silly demeanours and slightly mistaken intellect, it has found a way into my heart in ways I never expected.

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Back at home in Kolkata, the striking differences make me want to become a poet. Crude radio stations playing old classics or a small political gathering by local wannabe politicians and the prominent fragrance of mustard oil and turmeric.

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Newspapers and the over-opinionated Bengali at home or at a tea shop, never fail to surprise me. They are full of vigour and internal courage of intellectual confrontation in some amazing ways. A typical Bengali household is always running late and a small tiff and fight are unavoidable.

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Along the Ganga though, the sight is different from our mechanical world. There, people bathe and get oil massages and live their life. There is life in the slow progression. With metro, trams, buses and the fleets of over-enthusiastic autos, rickshaws and people, it is a place that comes back to you as a subtle reminder of where you belong. It is stunning and beautiful and so very interesting.

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Two cities …. different flavours, different lifestyles, different traditions ….. yet both joined together by a thread of rich cultural heritage, may it be music or dance, and also, intellectualism. What do you think? Please share your comments below

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