Title – My A to Z Of Chennai
Author – Mayuri Nidigallu
Publisher – Blogchatter (May 2019)
Price – Free
Format – pdf
Pages – 36
Genre – Travelogue
Language – English
Rating – 4/5
This book review is written as part of Blogchatter Book Review Program.
Book Blurb (In the words of the author)
“I had my first glimpse of Chennai as a 4 day old, mint new Bride. We drove into the city after a trip to Tirupati, and my first thought when I saw the skyline of Chennai was, ‘Where are the high rises?’ For someone born and brought up in Mumbai, I was so used to the concrete jungle of high rises that the lack of them seemed obvious.
Chennai is my City-in-law, I told myself and wondered how our relationship would turn out to be.
See Chennai through the eyes of an outsider, me. What caught my fancy, what I love and maybe what I don’t, in alphabetical order, no less. For you may know your city like the back of your hand, but an outsider may always see something you missed.”
About the Author
Mayuri is an established Tarot Card Reader, blogger and a bibliophile at heart who stays in Chennai which she also refers to as her City-in-Law. She is a Mumbaikar who has traveled extensively with her husband and finally settled down in the city (Chennai) which still feels like an acquaintance. This book is her attempt to take that relationship a step further and in the process share her exploits with the readers too.
The book although falls in the category of a Travelogue but I personally feel it is a journey of emotions and celebration of discovery within ourselves. Mayuri has tried her best to be as neutral as possible despite being a resident for 8 years in the city. Her narrative has a depth and soul unparalleled to most travel books and that is the real USP. All through the 26 chapters in the book the intent has remained uniform and personalization had added charm to it.
The author took the pain of revisiting places to dig in more relevant information and did not just rely on word of mouth and Google alone. She starts with the famous Banyan Tree and the history related to it which mesmerizes a reader into a world totally unknown followed by a beautiful description of the beaches in the city. The sheer thought of diversifying the content and presenting the real picture showcases the genuity.
The book is an in-depth and well-researched account of the rich heritage and culture of the city which includes information about places like Raj Bhavan (The Governor’s Residence), LIC Building (tallest building in India till the mid-1990s) and Zam Bazaar (a century old market). Mayuri has infused every flavor in the book in her unique style ranging from surprise, humor to nostalgia. Be it the description of chaos in the markets or the anxiety for mouth-watering delicacies, she has remained raw and exclusive. I personally feel the author has good command over the language and makes it an interesting read.
What’s in it for You?
As a reader be prepared to encounter the city of Chennai from an organic point of view. Devoid of any promotions or sugar coating the author presents the city in a most natural and defined state with her hand-picked choice of places to explore and things to experience. It boasts of wide coverage of destinations ranging from religious places, markets, food joints, public places and even the lifestyle of the people in the city which definitely adds richness to it. She has therapy to offer for every kind of traveler.
The kind of research and efforts being put in the book makes it an interesting and effective instrument for anyone traveling to Chennai. Another aspect which works in favor of the readers is the length of the book. Being 36 pages long it is neither an exhaustive read nor too short on information. The author gets an additional mark for keeping it concise yet covering the most important aspects beautifully.
The Low Points
Honestly, I didn’t observe any disconnects or forced information but what the author needs to work upon is presentation. A well-curated book is always a treat to keep by your side. Apart from that, rich and tasteful photographs were missing which would have added bling for sure. Moreover, travelogues without photographs seem more like manuals which isn’t the case with Mayuri’s book but would have accentuated her effort even more.
This one needs to be grabbed at the earliest for sure as it not only gives a glimpse of the historic city of Chennai but captures the spirit of an explorer too.
Till then keep SMILING and LIVE some more while you can, for there’ll be plenty of time to drag on 🙂 !