This post has been written by a good friend Kishor. He is a story teller and a very talented person who has an inclination towards comedy and movies. His posts can be read at Blind Man’s Bluff and you can check his videos out at “Moving Images” on YouTube.
Sowcarpettai – First thing that comes to mind is “Saroja, samaan nikaalo”. But this place has a rich history and is a very distinct neighborhood. Sowcarpettai or Sowcarpet has a huge Marwari population.
I moved from Chennai to Cuddalore during my high school days and one thing that Cuddalore has in common with Sowcarpet is the Marwari population. Cuddalore is home to many migrants from Rajasthan and Gujarat and they share links with the people from Sowcarpet.
The street is a time capsule, as nothing drastic has changed in this area for decades now. We all know the wholesale and money lending shops that decorate Sowcarpet, but Sowcarpet also preserves one the oldest identity of “Madras” – Rickshaws. Once upon a time, these 3-wheeled wonders were the identity of Madras. With a rich history, rickshawalas were essential to everyday lives of Madras-vaasis as much as the milkmen and paperboys. So much so that they were portrayed by the one and only MGR in his movie. Losing their business to autos, the once hundreds in number rickshaws have dwindled down to about one hundred now and they all predominantly run in Sowcarpet. Thanks to the continued patronage of the Marwaris in Sowcarpet, the tell-tale three wheels still turn.
Sowcarpet is close to Parrys Corner and the Central Station. Try the lassi while you are there and holi is the best time here to authentically drench in vivid colors.
If you are in the mood for a quick trip to the North of India, just catch any bus to Parrys Corner and you should reach your own personal Rajasthan.
Sowcarpet is also the best place to taste chaats and North Indian sweets. You can also shop till you drop there and find amazing tailors nearby.
The beautiful images found here are by a fellow blogger, Srivatsan, whose stories can be found here.