Tamarind City: Tangy and tasteful

I recently read this book ‘Tamarind City’ – a unique chronicle of Chennai, from its earliest avatar as the foundation of modern India (even before Delhi & Kolkata were born)  to its present day reputation as a tech-savvy yet traditional city.

This book is a treasure trove of trivia. For instance, did you know that:

  • The Yale University was established with wealth from an illegal diamond trade in Madras?
  • The capital city of Tamil Nadu is named after a Telugu-speaking Chennappa Naidu?
  • The oldest railway station in this sub-continent is in Chennai?


 Candid, but non-judgmental, the author Bishwanath Ghosh touches upon:

  • The political landscape in Tamil Nadu
  • Showbiz and the politics within
  • Religion and spirituality (esp. the long standing yet amusing ‘feud’ between Iyers and Iyengars)
  • Culture and literature (Carnatic music, the sabha culture, Chandamama, etc.)
  • Sex and the city’s changing mores
  • Chennai’s growing prowess as a technology hub

..and more

Enriched with anecdotes, interviews and the author’s personal experiences as a Bengali in Chennai, this book beautifully describes how this city holds its own against metros like Delhi and Mumbai.     

An interesting read, do check it out.

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