Book Review – My A To Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsiders Eye By Mayuri Nidigallu
Title: My A to Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsiders Eye
Author: Mayuri Nidigallu
Genre: Non-Fiction, Travelogue
Pages: 36 in PDF format
Synopsis: Mayuri refers to Chennai as her City-In-Law as she settled there after marriage. And in her own words the reason for writing this book is given as follows.
‘Chennai and I have known each other for over 8 years now, and we are still acquaintances. I wondered why, till I realized that neither of us have made an effort to make the first friendly move. When the Husband suggested that I write about Chennai, I surprised myself my agreeing to it immediately.’
Pros: The first thing that struck me as soon as I had finished reading a couple of chapters in this book is Mayuri’s conversational writing style. As I read the book I got the feeling that Mayuri was personally guiding me through the various attractions of Chennai and describing them to me. To put it in a nutshell, it felt as if Mayuri had donned the mantle of a tour guide and is speaking to me describing everything in detail as we cover the length and breadth of Chennai. And what a wonderful guide she is! I really, really loved this style of writing, mainly because when I write I tend to become descriptive. Mayuri’s style is more direct and she establishes a personal connect with the reader.
Coming to the content of the book, Mayuri has covered all the main attractions of Chennai. She starts off with a description of the Adyar banyan tree in the first chapter and then takes us through the wonderful beaches of Chennai, Chennai’s Churches, temples, Dakshin Chitra, Flower market, the Higginbothams book shop and several other places, finally winding up at the Zam Bazaar. And throughout the journey she constantly maintains a steady flow of conversation so that the reader feels the urge to pack his/her bags immediately and make a bee-line for Chennai.
And the book is interspersed with several chapters which bring you the cultural flavor of Chennai. She tells us about elai sappadu, the various ice-cream and sweet shops in Chennai, the Karpagambal Mess where I had my breakfast a week back when I visited Chennai and several other things. Her description of Mylapore which is the most happening place in Chennai and where my parents currently live is wonderful. I have lived in Chennai for 25 years of my life, but other than cursing the heat and the humidity I have never taken the trouble to explore my home city and appreciate it for what it is.
For example I did not know that Nungambakkam had so many attractions. Thanks to Mayuri, I have made up my mind to explore Chennai when I visit the place again this July and really have a good look at it. This is definitely a fantastic book written by a fantastic author
Cons: There is nothing I can really point out as a defect. The only thing I can think of is something silly like the content in the PDF file could have been formatted better. But I really feel stupid saying that considering the caliber of the writing.
Conclusion: A very definite Yay. Do read this book. If anyone wants to know about Chennai and its attractions and decide on places to visit, this is the book for them.
Rating: Normally I never give a full score to any book unless it is really outstanding which Mayuri’s book certainly is. And I don’t think something silly like formatting of the PDF content is sufficient reason for deducting marks. So I go with a 5/5 for Mayuri’s ‘My A to Z of Chennai’.
This review is written as part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program.