Eleven years (and then some) after I landed in Madras, a wide-eyed provincial keeping a wary yet naive eye out for people out to cheat me, I am leaving behind Chennai. I am no less wide-eyed or provincial than that day eleven years ago as I prepare to board a train, this time to the City of the Nizams. What wonderful happenstance that I am writing this from exactly the same place where I landed all those years ago – Chennai Central railway station!
Everything has undergone a world of change in this time – Madras Central is now Chennai Central – more swanky and more user-friendly, but still as irritatingly crowded as ever. The city itself has slid more and more into the chaos of a metropolis where the local population is so outnumbered by immigrants that to find a real Madras resident and talk to them is a rare but enjoyable treat.