Always a pleasure to come to Chennai. For starters, I don't know anywhere else in this country where you have so many enormous -- and I do mean enormous -- billboards for traditional and not-so-traditional saris. Meaning there are these fetching young women draped in gorgeous colours smiling down at you all over the city. A definite visual treat. Though I found one, near Nungambakkam High Road, not quite like that. It says something about an angel coming to earth (words to that effect) and the woman is in an electric blue sari and there's something just a bit unsettling about the way she stares electric-ly at you.
But it's not just the sari-draped ladies high above. It's the sign on the airport road that reads "Speed Thrills But Kills", and immediately after it is a chunky camouflage-painted Army tank with a gun that goes on forever. Certainly sends home the message, that tank. It's the tall three-wheeler that weaves past you in heavy traffic, carrying a load of chickens, followed in its weaving wake by a tall truck carrying motorcycles, followed in turn by an open three-wheeler and all you can see it are three plump bovine rumps. (Well, one was pretty bony). It's Sanaa Tailor ("specialist in Salvar Kamizes, Machine Embroiding and Hand Embroiding") sharing space with Sanaas Beauty Parlour. It's the large hoarding with a smiling moustached Lothario at the bottom, carrying this slogan: Mother India is our Pride, Mother Sonia is our Guide. It's the multicoloured posters everywhere that say "Building Demolition in 48 Hours, Ideal, Phone 98-something".
And finally it's the flowers. Is there another city in this country where you see so many so often so colourful? Strands in women's hair. Clumps sold on the roadside. No wonder a small establishment near Besant Nagar is named "Anand Floweriest."
This is the floweriest city in this country, no contest.