01 October, 2020

Chentucky Fried

Chennai is no longer a puritan, hidebound town. New blood is coursing through its veins.

Chentucky Fried
It's paradoxical but true. Not very long ago, the spirit of official revivalism that had infected many other parts of India finally reached Madras-and overnight it was reborn as Chennai. The southern city, already the 'marked' one among India's four metros for being perhaps the most regionally-flavoured, was dressing itself up in history. But if this was meant to erase the effects of British colonialism-and take a standing leap back into some glorious, virginal past-it was too token a gesture. And, in these uptempo days, it came one backbeat too late.

For, all the signs are that Chennaiites (a dubious improvement on that much-maligned term, 'Madrasis') have finally unhinged themselves from the force of ingrained conservatism. Time was when in the much-touted puritan milieu, eating non-vegetarian, even drinking and smoking (in that order), was strictly taboo. Call it the effect of movie and TV-mediated westernisation or the spell of the market, a new liberal spirit is sweeping across Chennai's social strata.

The Marina beach and Elliot's beach, once harmless weekend...



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