Deepavali Shopping Polamaa??

The road opp to Lalitha
[Click Pic. The above pic was taken a few weeks back and hence it looks uncrowded]

With just 29 days to go for the biggest festival in India, here’s a commentary on Deepavali shopping as lived by me, a proud citizen of Chennai.

So, what do you remember when you think of Deepavali? Not Diwali. Deepavali. Pattas, Tappas, Lakshmi Vedi, Laddu, Boiler, Mullu Murukku, Seyakkai, Marundhu, New Jeans, Rajini’s pudhu padam, Mathaappu a.k.a Susuravathi, Rockets, Patti Mandram, Pottu Cape. Which one comes first?


I have amazing memoirs of all that is listed above. I love to keep talking about Deepavali as I enjoyed it during my childhood. Now, It’s just the crowd that comes to mind. If you are living in Chennai, you would badly appreciate what I say. Yep, the race for the shopping mela has already started. It’s the immobility that you face on the streets of T.Nagar and Purasawalkam that frustrates me as a Chennaite. Well, we all know the rising urbanization of the Metros, especially in Mumbai and Chennai are worrying everyone. But as the bazaar gets on the all-time high during Deepavali, its tension time for the ‘city’zens.

If you call me a pessimist, showcasing only the alternate side of the festival, hold on. Hold on, dudes. Either you are living outside the city/country now and just yapping/dreaming about the city of Chennai as you lived ‘those days’ or you have never seen the heart of Chennai. Those days are those days only. Let’s not be on a dope. Let’s get it straight. It’s crowded man. Over-Crowded. And if I were take you through a sunday round-up of diwali-ready T.Nagar, this is what it might look like. Pile on; let’s drive around with my modest Splendor.

That new building opp to commercial-heart-of-chennai near panagal park is RMKV Silks. And you know that these guys have created the longest running silk saree. A Guinness record to boast off. So we see a huge crowd of only ladies flocking the shop. Oh!! this one just before it. That’s Lalitha jewelry. Yep, they have this new ganpathy temple outside their shop, built of gold. Or is it gold polish? Anyway let’s come around the panagal park to get to Pothys.

The traffic gets higher and higher as we drive around Panagal park. Still some people inside the park sleeping on the benches and reading Junior Vikatan. As we get to the side of Pondy Bazaar, the traffic doubles and literally an auto rickshaw runs over. The auto driver shouting, ‘Podang …thaa’. Say ‘Thanks you, Mams’. Keep driving.

Turn your head to left now. That’s Nalli Silks. The old one. The new one as we know is opposite to Pothys. Nalli seems to be crowded throughout the year. Only in Marghazhi there aren’t any marriages. But you have the carnatic music season. And all those who fly across from Boston and LA and sing in Music Academies, hang around Nalli to get the best designed Pallu for their Pattu Pudavai.

As we move forward, onto the left, comes Prince Jewllery. You might be reminded of that woody voice [Prince Jewellery, Panagal Park, Chennai] in the Prince Jewellery Ad shown only big screen, dark theatres of Chennai. Kumaran Stores is here. Hey!! Stop Stop. We have reached the junction leading to Duraiswamy subway. Keep a huge rock on the brake and relax. This is the densely populated area in the world. So go have a coffee and be back. Get me one, too.

And as we reach the entrance of Pothys, try hard to locate the entrance. All we could see is only human heads. No entrance found. Parking Full. Obviously. The security man politely asks us to move forward and find a comfortable parking space. Before which a Tata Safari honks behind like nobody’s business. We turn back and utter a four letter super-good word as we are highly allergic to unwanted honks. He cares not to hear and utters the same word in Tamil. ‘Thank you, Mams’ again. Move forward. As we reach the next street corner, it’s already 24 minutes since we reached the Panagal Park junction. We are forced to take the next left after the Aanju Maadi Kumaran, where there is a heap of vehicles one above the other placed haphazardly. Is that a parking? A man pulls those crookedly parked vehicles and loads it onto a truck. Towing going on.

As we move forward, a traffic inspector who is shouting at the crowd to move fast, comes near us. ‘Sir, Ponga sir. Fastaa Ponga’, he says. We ask him where if there is a parking lot elsewhere. He replies in an agitated voice “No Parking. No Parking throughout Usman road. Enn sir neenga vandiya eduthutu vareenga. Use public transport“. As we move forward, we are forced to think, a reasonably good cop who found to time to answer logically. The traffic gets thicker as we reach the end of the road. Turn left and you reach the famous Venkatnarayana road. Keep moving for few yards. Now, we are back here at the same spot. Is this a Deja Vu? Not exactly. We were here on the same road just opposite to Lalitha Jewellery, some 20 minutes back. So for the last 20 minutes, I was taking you on a world tour around T.Nagar. Here we are back at the same spot. Unlike last time, we turn right on the road. We decide to park finally at RMKV silks. Manage to make some space and sandwich the pity Splendor between them. The security man there asks, ‘This is a special parking for RMKV silks’. Are you going here’. We hate to lie. Tell him ” We are going here, also”. Also. He smiles back friendly and replies, ‘Poittu Vaanga sir’.

Take a breather. So we finally park the bike at one end of Usman road and start walking onto the other side. Oops !! this 12g Pallavan bus nearly ran over us while we cross the road along with hundreds of enthusiastic shoppers. Give a bloody finger to the driver. The driver gives a damn and zooms past us. After 5 minutes to high pressured blood being pumped into the heart, we manage to come back to the Pothys entrance. Wow !! . So how do we get in. As we think, it starts to drizzle. Wow again!!.

Shopping Continues….Until then you might want to check out my previous Diwali rant.

46 thoughts on “Deepavali Shopping Polamaa??

  1. Pattas, Tappas, Lakshmi Vedi, Laddu, Boiler, Mullu Murukku, Seyakkai, Marundhu, New Jeans, Rajini’s pudhu padam, Mathaappu a.k.a Susuravathi, Rockets, Patti Mandram, Pottu Cape.

    Guru. You dont like deepavali legiyam? 😉

  2. Pattas, Tappas, Lakshmi Vedi, Laddu, Boiler, Mullu Murukku, Seyakkai, Marundhu, New Jeans, Rajini’s pudhu padam, Mathaappu a.k.a Susuravathi, Rockets, Patti Mandram, Pottu Cape.

    Guru. You dont like deepavali legiyam? 😉

  3. As a person living in Bangalore, I miss all that.. Yes..even the over crowded feature unique to T.Nagar.. Personally, I dont enter Pothys anywhere near this time… But, still it feels good to think on these things

  4. As a person living in Bangalore, I miss all that.. Yes..even the over crowded feature unique to T.Nagar.. Personally, I dont enter Pothys anywhere near this time… But, still it feels good to think on these things

  5. Tooo goood machi… U literally brought T NAGAR in front of my eyes.. Worked in chennai for a year and stayed very close to wot was erstwhile Nagesh Theatre..If Panagal Park was bad, then Pondy Bazaar was no better.. Still remember the serpentine Qs inside Sri Krishna Sweets, the shoppers catching up with lunch/dinner at Balaji / Arya Bhavan….Chennai rocks !! And Deepavali time is the best…

    PS: Thanks a tonne for saying Deepavali and not Diwali..Ppl think i am crazy abt these small things but for a Thamizhan all this matters :-)))

  6. Tooo goood machi… U literally brought T NAGAR in front of my eyes.. Worked in chennai for a year and stayed very close to wot was erstwhile Nagesh Theatre..If Panagal Park was bad, then Pondy Bazaar was no better.. Still remember the serpentine Qs inside Sri Krishna Sweets, the shoppers catching up with lunch/dinner at Balaji / Arya Bhavan….Chennai rocks !! And Deepavali time is the best…

    PS: Thanks a tonne for saying Deepavali and not Diwali..Ppl think i am crazy abt these small things but for a Thamizhan all this matters :-)))

  7. During normal time pothy’s used to have chairs outside – facing the roads -for people waiting.

    it was as though people are sitting on grandstands and watching a formula 1 race

  8. During normal time pothy’s used to have chairs outside – facing the roads -for people waiting.

    it was as though people are sitting on grandstands and watching a formula 1 race

  9. lazy,

    for a few minutes now, i feel like i have been walking on that crowded usman road. i remember the days circling around panagal park with my LML Vespa Selectwithout knowing where to turn into pondy bazaar and avoiding cops as i did not have a licence then…

    Chennai with all its flavor is still a great city… yes! ofcourse, when you are there on the spot u dont really appreciate the feeling coz of the wait and the pollution.. Its only when you are outside will you know the true importance of the flavor. im sure everyone living outside chennai will have a similar feeling..

    Machan.. whatever you say about the traffic i tried enjoying it in my own way.. stopping your LML Vespa next to a young mami on a sunny or a kinetic honda just to get a glimpse of that innocent tension and beauty that glows inspite of the sweat and dust around us….

  10. lazy,

    for a few minutes now, i feel like i have been walking on that crowded usman road. i remember the days circling around panagal park with my LML Vespa Selectwithout knowing where to turn into pondy bazaar and avoiding cops as i did not have a licence then…

    Chennai with all its flavor is still a great city… yes! ofcourse, when you are there on the spot u dont really appreciate the feeling coz of the wait and the pollution.. Its only when you are outside will you know the true importance of the flavor. im sure everyone living outside chennai will have a similar feeling..

    Machan.. whatever you say about the traffic i tried enjoying it in my own way.. stopping your LML Vespa next to a young mami on a sunny or a kinetic honda just to get a glimpse of that innocent tension and beauty that glows inspite of the sweat and dust around us….

  11. As an erstwhile resident of T.Nagar, I have enjoyed the Deepavali season immensely. It has been over seven years since ive been home for deepavali and I wish I could be there right now. THanks for the whirlwind tour …. feel pretty nostalgic now. Do they still run the Standard FireCrackers wholesale near the corner of S.Usman and Doraisamy? It used to be on the firstfloor of an old building right behind the bus stop there. Do stores like Kings Corner, Roma, Robe still exisit in PB? How about Ganesh Coffee? I can keep going on and on. But my most wonderful memory of Diwali is that of my paati getting us all kids ready for an oil bath preceded by a small pooja , vethala paaku etc. The previous night (deepavali eve) is one of magical restlessness, the kind that kids here in the US go thru about visiting DisneyWorld! Well, I’ve also tried to win the award of “Who has the most kuppai(paper-shreds from the crackers) in front of their house” but in vain:-) Happy Deepavali Wishes to All

  12. As an erstwhile resident of T.Nagar, I have enjoyed the Deepavali season immensely. It has been over seven years since ive been home for deepavali and I wish I could be there right now. THanks for the whirlwind tour …. feel pretty nostalgic now. Do they still run the Standard FireCrackers wholesale near the corner of S.Usman and Doraisamy? It used to be on the firstfloor of an old building right behind the bus stop there. Do stores like Kings Corner, Roma, Robe still exisit in PB? How about Ganesh Coffee? I can keep going on and on. But my most wonderful memory of Diwali is that of my paati getting us all kids ready for an oil bath preceded by a small pooja , vethala paaku etc. The previous night (deepavali eve) is one of magical restlessness, the kind that kids here in the US go thru about visiting DisneyWorld! Well, I’ve also tried to win the award of “Who has the most kuppai(paper-shreds from the crackers) in front of their house” but in vain:-) Happy Deepavali Wishes to All

  13. Chennai Pothys was opened in my town last week. Saravana Bhavan opened middle of this year in KL. Nescafe sunrise Indian TV commercial is shown unedited in Malaysian paytv. This year’s Deepavali going to be the most Indian for me!
    Lazy pls post some pictures of Tappas, Lakshmi Vedi, Boiler, Mullu Murukku.

  14. Chennai Pothys was opened in my town last week. Saravana Bhavan opened middle of this year in KL. Nescafe sunrise Indian TV commercial is shown unedited in Malaysian paytv. This year’s Deepavali going to be the most Indian for me!
    Lazy pls post some pictures of Tappas, Lakshmi Vedi, Boiler, Mullu Murukku.

  15. ah.. making me wistful for my pettai.. thanks for the plug on my “native place” 😉 5 mins from the famed doraiswamy subway is my house .. sigh 🙂

  16. ah.. making me wistful for my pettai.. thanks for the plug on my “native place” 😉 5 mins from the famed doraiswamy subway is my house .. sigh 🙂

  17. Crazy, Athellam onum illa rasa.

    Prabhu, BTW, when I said marundhu, I meant his legiyam not the vedi marundhu. I wasn’t communicating right. agreed.

    Sowmya – your’re right. it’s not that you don’t want to enter. you can’t

  18. Crazy, Athellam onum illa rasa.

    Prabhu, BTW, when I said marundhu, I meant his legiyam not the vedi marundhu. I wasn’t communicating right. agreed.

    Sowmya – your’re right. it’s not that you don’t want to enter. you can’t

  19. Jupee, Yep, I personally love to say deepavali. Even if not about tamil fanaticism, the word deepavali calls for all those nostalgic memoirs, unlike diwali.

    Arvind, Thanks for the note. I have also experienced the feeling that you have mentioned. I’ve been outside the country and did understood the feeling of beig outside chennai. But as you had mentioned, when you are here, such things really get you on nerves and leaves you with a feeling when would such things change here, in a great city called chennai.

  20. Jupee, Yep, I personally love to say deepavali. Even if not about tamil fanaticism, the word deepavali calls for all those nostalgic memoirs, unlike diwali.

    Arvind, Thanks for the note. I have also experienced the feeling that you have mentioned. I’ve been outside the country and did understood the feeling of beig outside chennai. But as you had mentioned, when you are here, such things really get you on nerves and leaves you with a feeling when would such things change here, in a great city called chennai.

  21. Raj, I am happy to have brought back the nostalgic memoirs. you seem to re-collect every single thing around. thats so cool.

    The cracker shop that you mention is still present. Thats one place where you get crackers round the year. It’s a standard cracker brand outlet.

    I was in Chicago during last year’s diwali. We were in the Aurora temple for the fireworks. It was fine experience but I did miss the biking around on diwali night cluded with smoke and zero visibility.

  22. Raj, I am happy to have brought back the nostalgic memoirs. you seem to re-collect every single thing around. thats so cool.

    The cracker shop that you mention is still present. Thats one place where you get crackers round the year. It’s a standard cracker brand outlet.

    I was in Chicago during last year’s diwali. We were in the Aurora temple for the fireworks. It was fine experience but I did miss the biking around on diwali night cluded with smoke and zero visibility.

  23. Maran, Would do that. And btw, are you ignorant of all these that you had mentioned or just wanted to glimpse them now. I know it’s not the former.

    Divya, Yeah, I know you would say that.

  24. Maran, Would do that. And btw, are you ignorant of all these that you had mentioned or just wanted to glimpse them now. I know it’s not the former.

    Divya, Yeah, I know you would say that.

  25. All said and done, I miss all the Chennai fun. In Washington Dc, the traffic sucks so much on the “Capital Belt way”, it takes an hour to pass 20 kms [so called High speed interstate road that goes around DC metro] 🙂
    Chennai Chennai than…I wish I had an auto in DC – If the front wheel goes in I get the right of way 🙂

  26. All said and done, I miss all the Chennai fun. In Washington Dc, the traffic sucks so much on the “Capital Belt way”, it takes an hour to pass 20 kms [so called High speed interstate road that goes around DC metro] 🙂
    Chennai Chennai than…I wish I had an auto in DC – If the front wheel goes in I get the right of way 🙂

  27. Bharteeya Blog Mela

    Hello there. How are you? Take a seat, won’t you? The show will begin in a minute. How about a cup of virtual coffee? No? You’re sure? OK then. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages… MadMan’s…

  28. Bharteeya Blog Mela

    Hello there. How are you? Take a seat, won’t you? The show will begin in a minute. How about a cup of virtual coffee? No? You’re sure? OK then. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages… MadMan’s…

  29. I came across the site searching for Chennai related blogs. Now have become a regular reader. Thanks for keeping me in touch with the city more so than ‘The Hindu’.

    As yet another Chennai-ite living in Bangalore, thanks for bringing wonderful memories of Panagal Area so vividly to my mind. I used to roam around the area mainly for the crowds and the overall ambience which is desperately missing here in Bangalore (Except Gandhi Bazar area which is almost like Pondy Bazar). Maybe I will also hate it for a daily commute but virtual visits are much more pleasant.

  30. I came across the site searching for Chennai related blogs. Now have become a regular reader. Thanks for keeping me in touch with the city more so than ‘The Hindu’.

    As yet another Chennai-ite living in Bangalore, thanks for bringing wonderful memories of Panagal Area so vividly to my mind. I used to roam around the area mainly for the crowds and the overall ambience which is desperately missing here in Bangalore (Except Gandhi Bazar area which is almost like Pondy Bazar). Maybe I will also hate it for a daily commute but virtual visits are much more pleasant.

  31. Never could figure out why we in Madras celebrated Diwali a day earlier than the rest of India.

    You know the Delhi newscaster would wish us a Happy Diwali after we were all done. For ‘them’ it was just beginning.

    The marwari houses across would start with
    their fire crackers, once our enntire pile was over except for the ones we would keep for Karthigai.

    Does any one know why our calendar is surging ahead by a day – can’t account for the phase difference since it is the same calendar isn’t it?

  32. Never could figure out why we in Madras celebrated Diwali a day earlier than the rest of India.

    You know the Delhi newscaster would wish us a Happy Diwali after we were all done. For ‘them’ it was just beginning.

    The marwari houses across would start with
    their fire crackers, once our enntire pile was over except for the ones we would keep for Karthigai.

    Does any one know why our calendar is surging ahead by a day – can’t account for the phase difference since it is the same calendar isn’t it?

  33. hi Lazy,

    this is the best of your blogs, it is very lively can i copy this send to all my friends, or shall i give this link to them,

    i am regular visitor to your blog and i also advise my friends to do this in US

  34. hi Lazy,

    this is the best of your blogs, it is very lively can i copy this send to all my friends, or shall i give this link to them,

    i am regular visitor to your blog and i also advise my friends to do this in US

  35. Lazy i have no idea what is a Tappas, Boiler,how a Lakshmi Vedi looks like (but i heard them in movies) and Mullu Murukku i’m guessing is a variation of murukku. 🙂

  36. Lazy i have no idea what is a Tappas, Boiler,how a Lakshmi Vedi looks like (but i heard them in movies) and Mullu Murukku i’m guessing is a variation of murukku. 🙂

  37. Great, I could visualise panagal park. It is been 2 years since I have gone to chennai & living in UAE, deepavali vedi’s are just oru kanakkalam.

    Enna crowd, pollution irundhalum, pondybazaar, panagal park, T-Nagar madhir oru lively place engayum kidayadhu. I just remember Ilayaraja’s song, sorgamae endralum adhu num naattai pola varuma……

  38. Great, I could visualise panagal park. It is been 2 years since I have gone to chennai & living in UAE, deepavali vedi’s are just oru kanakkalam.

    Enna crowd, pollution irundhalum, pondybazaar, panagal park, T-Nagar madhir oru lively place engayum kidayadhu. I just remember Ilayaraja’s song, sorgamae endralum adhu num naattai pola varuma……

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