2014 is in, may it be a memorable year for us!

2013 was in many ways a forgettable year for me, except that there was a significant contract win at work the third week of December soon after I landed in Chennai on a three-week holiday.

So I am not going to indulge in recollections about the year that has just rolled into the annals of history. In fact, I will go a little deep into the past for a bit of fond nostalgia.

Fountain Plaza, Cisons Complex and Alsa Mall in Egmore were some of my favourite haunts as a student in the 80s. They were among the first shopping malls in Chennai and Whannel’s Road, Egmore is where I grew up.

Hot Breads at the Alsa Mall and Cakes n’ Bakes on Nungambakkam High Road used to sell the city’s best confectionary items then. I generally bought my shoes from Saddlers at Fountain Plaza, just as I would pick designer shirts from Elsons on Anna Salai.

The last two days of 2013 saw me go around Egmore with my family. Fountain Plaza now stinks, with Alsa Mall and Cisons no better. That’s a pity — trendsetters presenting a poor shadow of the past even as new mega malls have sprung up everywhere!

Ramprasad and the Matsya were among the Udipi restaurants I frequented in Egmore then. We had lunch at the Matsya yesterday as Ramprasad is now history.

We visited the Phoenix Market City a few days ago and found it pretty impressive, housing some of Chennai’s best shops — Rmkv, Kalaniketan, Shree Niketan, Globus, Big Bazaar, Lifestyle and what not!

Just as we were going past the mall along Velacherry Road, I noticed a “no U-turn” sign and cautioned the driver against doing so. But he ignored my advice and did just that only to be hauled up by the traffic police who had positioned themselves strategically in front of the mall, knowing where violations are bound to happen!

But the driver knew how to avoid having a case booked. A 100-rupee tip to the cop did the trick and off we went into the mall!

Some things never change in India!

Here’s wishing you a fabulous 2014!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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