In the year 2008 I decided to move away from home, I gathered a lot of options from Malaysia to New Zealand, but I had a lot of constraints. It wasn’t easy; I don’t come from a supportive or financially stable family. But I always wanted to get lost in a big city with lots of people; maybe movies had influenced me too much. I was not into academics, but I wanted to get an education combining studies and independence. I had to choose from Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Delhi and finally I choose Chennai for better prospects.
Moving to Madras
I decided to pursue a course in communications and fashion, college and adjusting the first three months were difficult. Maybe the cultures clashed, and it was a big city and a lot of people to deal with. I was getting jittery, and the living conditions weren’t good, even I rented a small place in Nungambakkam. The convenience mattered a lot. I was a shy and quiet person, maybe because I was morally put down and bullied. After sometime, adapting to the city and people my reserved nature left me. I shocked and thrilled at the comments I used to get about my potential. Going to Colombo was never on my mind, I was literally cursing as to why I should go back. I every time in Colombo I was counting days to go back to Chennai. My roommates became my closest friends and new found families everywhere, and still the bonds continue. This was indeed the meaning of life for me, with adventures every day and activities by the hour this indeed what I wanted to regain my confidence.
Studying and working
I did a vocational course afflicted to Loyola College and Madras University, honestly more than studying I wanted to move away from home (Sri Lanka) live in a cosmopolitan city. The city is full of vibrancy and diversity, so many ethnicities housed in one big city it was amazing compared to where I came from.
What enthralled me were opportunities I got not being an Indian national or Chennaite, but in no time I was accepted as a Madrasi girl. With events constantly happening, from movie launches, to product launches and mingling with celebrities and eating the finest Indian food and travelling to places I only see in movies all for free and getting paid.
With Actor Arya during the IrandamUlagam Audio Launch
The money helped me shop and travel, T-Nagar, Pondy Bazaar and Sowcarpet and much more. I used to intern at RADAAN MEDIAWORKS, what was interesting about working there was the lunch served at the rooftop and seeing Raadhika Sarathkumar performing. I used to walk from Sterling Road to T-Nagar passing the famous site Vallur Kottam.
Once college was done, it was all events. Weekend if no events, it’s a movie marathon; tickets are so cheap compared to Colombo and the snacks cheaper. Sathyam, Inox, and Ega Multiplex were my favorites and watching a movie with the Chennai audience is an experience and privilege in one word it’s thrilling. The audience entertains you more than the movie. Most often you bump into a celebrity if only had a proper camera phone and knew how a selfie works back then.
The work in Chennai, helped me build character. The people worked with motivated and inspired me. Still remember sitting at the Rajkamal office or hearing of Mani Ratnam shooting nearby or doing my first shoot at Prasad Studios. What memories I have. One was the best was welcoming Actor Madhavan for a lunch, my God that smile and personality.
Try my best to be in Chennai, as long as possible. I hated going back to Colombo, it was boring for me. For years I did so much, and I had grown as person mentally and emotionally. My level confidence and approach to life was different. I am thankful to those events and event coordinators, specially getting the opportunity to work for A.R Rahman concert at Swarnabhoomi in 2009.
Thank You, Madras
In 2014, I moved back to Sri Lanka. Still regret the decision. Everyone told me not to be foolish and I will regret and yes I still do regret as to why I came back. Not a day goes by without recollecting the good times, adventures and the warmth of the people.
No matter where I am in the world, Chennai will have a special place in my heart; I will always call it home. It has so much to offer, the happenings, hangout spots and the beaches were you can walk for miles. And not for getting the late night bike rides.
As Madras turns a year older, its heritages, diversity and people is what makes it unique. Whatever calamity, the unity will never break.
Madras my dear, I thank you and your people for those endless opportunities, and accepting me as one of yours. I miss your street shopping and train travels. I found the true meaning of life and the purpose to live with your memories.