The shopping malls of Chennai
It is a different world in there.
In contrast to the dust and the heat and the traffic, the malls of Chennai offer a completely different flavor and taste of Chennai.
City Center Mall, hardly in the center of the city (it is actually close to the coastline) stands out on Radha Krishnan Salai. Although self contained with a parking facility, parking does become a hassle when the facility is full.
The building is impressive from the outside and once you get in, it is the world of 21st century commerce all through.
A fine assembly of brand names and glitzy stores. Of course. What else would a shopping mall contain?
Then there is coffee being served, sorry sold. Espresso. Masala chai etc. The sorry part is that in keeping with 21st century mall tradition, coffee gets brewed in a machine; probably with freeze dried milk and processed instant coffee, with a power run device that generates the froth (nurai). All served in a disposable cup. For a sticker price of Rs 40 I think. Wow! The native coffee that used to be served, and is still served in Udupi ‘hotels’ is still a trademark of Chennai tiffin and it has a taste that cannot be imitated by this machine coffee, how many ever times it is brewed.
Similarly, the ‘chai’ brewed here is also not my cup of tea.
Then there is a cookie place. I was enamored by the variety of cookies. Creative names. There was even a pineapple cookie. It had a piece of pineapple, and some dates as well. These days, anything you fancy goes into a cookie. Nuts, seasame seeds (verum yellu), dried fruits, cinnamon, ginger, you name it. (Even the packaged biscuits come advertised with cashew nuts, they play ‘hide’ with you, what with the miniscule quantity of these nuts, you cant even seek them).
The cleanliness in the mall is striking. So is the noise level. Lots of people, lots of young people. Happy people. People in relationships. People in search of relationships. Lots and lots.
There is entertainment as well. Mall-cinema. All the latest films are on. I sat through part of vaaranam aayiram.
On top of it all, there is foodcourt. Pretty decent fare. Most malls these days have the US based ‘Subway’ with the smell of baking bread that actually flaunts their advertisement that their bread is baked fresh there. I passed. Not Subway in India. Then there is all kinds of other restaurant representation. Tiffin, North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Chettinadu, Corn in a cup. And more..
But, nothing to beat the food spread at the Forum Mall in Bangalore. More on that later.