21 January, 2021

Chennai Diary

The fragrance of jasmine fills the air with a sweetness that brings to mind images of clouds and birds and the intoxicating rhythms of ancient Tamil poetry.

Photograph by R.A. Chandroo
Chennai Diary
Goats in summer
“I think I’ll take the goat,” I said. Lakshmi my cook-lady sniffed. Being a native born Tamil it was more like a goat sneezing. “Ptchay!” As a veteran harvester of free gifts to the voters of Tamil Nadu, she had the list off her fingertips.
“They are offering laptops,” she said. “The other side is promising free Wi-Fi. Why do you want a goat?” “My grand-mother kept goats,”I explained. “Whenever we went to her house in Thallassery, she bought a nanny-goat with a kid for us to play with. I remember one of them had a white pelt and a beard that she allowed us to stroke. Thallassery goats from north Malabar are famous. Even today.”

This brought on a fit of head-butting on the part of Lakshmi. She struck the flat of her hand on her forehead. “Ptchay! It’s only in the mofussils that they are distributing goats,” she explained. “You have to go to...



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