Chennai- A City with a Cultural Equipoise

       This post is part of the blog tag titled, The CBC Tablog – 3, where CBC stands for Chennai Bloggers Club, a group where diverse bloggers who are connected to Chennai talk about a variety of things including blogging. The theme we’ve chosen this time is “CHENNAI – A BLEND OF THE TRADITIONAL AND MODERN“. Sriram Acharya, who blogs at My Paradoxical Paradise passed the blog tag to me. Thanks Sriram for introducing me and you can read his post on the some theme here . 

       I think my generation is the first to grow up in the so called “Modern Chennai” and adapt ourselves to this changing Chennai. When I just walk across the streets now, rewind my thoughts and pause to see how it was 10 years ago, all I see is a calmer and a less crowded Chennai. The best thing about Chennai is that all the rich culture and traditions that this land holds has stayed on for years with only constructive changes rather than being completely overshadowed by a new culture. One example which I’d like to say for this is Carnatic Music. It’s one aspect that is so specific and so close to Chennai. With so many complexities and intricacies, this art form has held on for centuries primarily because of the importance laid on it at home. I strongly feel that the knowledge about the value of traditions should be properly passed to children from a very young age so that they don’t lose the identity of this land, the trademarks of Chennai.It’s not just Carnatic Music, gaana songs which are very famous in North Chennai have stayed on for years.

       The reason I call Chennai, a city with a cultural equipoise is because Chennai is a cosmopolitan city and it has allowed each culture to grow in a healthy manner. To illustrate this, as you walk across the streets of Mylapore, you see the famous Kapaleeshwar Temple which plays Bharat Ratna M.S Subbulakshmi’s suprabathram, when you walk further and take a right, you see a Jain Temple where people meditate in midst of city’s busyness, a little more further across the beach you see the Santhome Church where you can hear the carols and behind the church you can find the people happily singing gaana songs. All these things happen within a small radius of 2 km and yet none has overshadowed the other. This doesn’t mean people in Chennai don’t hear to discos or don’t have a nightlife. DJ Nights, Discotheques also exists in Chennai and it attracts people who sing Carnatic Music in the evenings and enjoy the pumping music at nights. 

      To get the real flavor of “Chennai, a Blend of Traditional and Modern”, I would say hear to “Why this Kolaveri di?” song from Tamil Movie ‘3’. I’m not sure whether Anirudh has understood the heartbeat of Chennai but his songs has a generous mix of traditional elements. Take for example, in this kolaveri di song, you see Dhanush singing on the seashore, a Tamil-English-Gaana(or even rap) song with nadaswaram and taval (traditional elements) along with saxophone playing in the background. Every element is used so wisely that the final product is so unique, diverse and entertaining. 

                  That’s Chennai for you, we welcome all, embrace every culture, understand the difference and importance of each culture and we’ll let every culture grow without interrupting the growth of the other.

From here, I pass the baton to Salesh Dipak Fernando who blogs at


Ram Thilak

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