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    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: Tranquebar
    • ISBN: 9789381626337, 9381626332
    • Edition: 2012
    • Pages: 344
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    ‘While in other big cities tradition stays mothballed in trunks, taken out only during festivals and weddings, tradition here is worn round the year.’

    This is just one of the author’s many keen observations of Chennai. With mordant wit, this biography of a city spares neither half of its split-personality: from moody, magical Madras to bursting-at-the-seams, tech-savvy Chennai. And, a minute into the book, the reader knows they are inseparable-and Bishwanath Ghosh refuses to take sides.

    And yet, he tells us, while Chennai is usually known as conservative and orthodox, almost every modern institution in India-from the army to the judiciary, from medicine to engineering-traces its roots to Madras’s Fort St George, which was built when Delhi had only just become the capital of the Mughal Empire, and Calcutta and Bombay weren’t even born. Today, the city once again figures prominently on the global map as ‘India’s Detroit’, a manufacturing giant, and a hub of medical tourism. There have been sweeping changes since pre-Independent India, but even as Chennai embraces change, its people hold its age-old customs and traditions close to their heart. ‘This is what makes Chennai unique,’ says Ghosh, ‘the marriage of tradition and technology’.

    Bishwanath Ghosh wears a reporter’s cap and explores the city he has made his home, delving into its past, roaming its historic sites and neighbourhoods, and meeting a wide variety of people-from a top vocalist to a top sexologist, from a yoga teacher to a hip transsexual, from a yesteryear film star to his own eighty-five-year-old neighbour, from the ghosts of Clive, Wellesley, Hastings and Yale to those of Periyar and MGR, two people who redefined the political skyline of Tamil Nadu.

    What emerges is an evocative portrait of this unique city, drawn without reservation-sometimes with humour, sometimes with irony-but always with love.

    About the Author
    Bishwanath Ghosh was born on 26 December 1970 in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he began his career as a journalist before moving to New Delhi to work with Press Trust of India and The Asian Age. In 2001 he relocated to Chennai where he spent seven years at The New Sunday Express and three at The Times of India. He is currently a deputy editor with The Hindu. In 2009 he wrote the bestselling travel book, Chai, Chai: Travels in Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off, also published by Tranquebar.
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    Book Details
    • Publication Year
      • 2012
    • Author
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    Most Helpful 
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    By Certified Buyers 

    Bringing a city to life

    One would expect a book such as this to cater to a very select audience, because books on a particular city either end up doing a deep dive into the history and geography of the place, or take us on a picture postcard tour across the ‘places to see’, functioning as virtual tour guide.

    In Tamarind City too, there is history – lots of it, there is politics, there is religion, there is tradition, and of course, something that Chennai would be incomplete without – Movies. What makes Tamarind Cit...

    Sudeep Chowdhuri

    Certified Buyer

    18 Apr, 2012

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    A Treat!

    I like Bishwanath Ghosh for 2 reasons – his writing is simple and straight from the heart- he does not pretend to be someone else and never tries to impress with complex words or ornamental sentences. That said, there is always a touch of poignancy in his observations that do not preach, but leave the reader with questions to ponder over.

    As someone who has enjoyed his columns in newspapers immensely, I found 'Tamarind City' a treat – almost visual, as Bishwanath paints Chennai in varied c...

    Dharma Raman

    Certified Buyer

    16 May, 2012

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    Adelightful read

    Amazingly delightful read. People of Madras would love to read this. Interestingly the author knows more about the city than a true blue Madras-ite like me :)

    Shankar V

    Certified Buyer

    7 Oct, 2015


    Excellent tea-time companion

    I'm a Chennai-ite, and I'm impressed. The author has done a great job in trying to cover all aspects of the city, including the people's appeal to cultural values and taboos.. If you've never been to chennai before, this will make you visit it. A great read.
    PS - Chennai has changed a lot than the author's time, but the roots still remain...

    Shruti S Ramjee

    Certified Buyer

    8 Mar, 2015


    interesting but....

    the book is very interesting. it talks about many aspects of the Chennai...its history, people, cultural etc. but i found too much history in it. first two chapters (lengthy one) talks about the history of the city since from its establishment. rest of the chapters are very good. overall a good reading.....

    Arun Kumar

    Certified Buyer

    9 Jan, 2015


    Just grab this thing in your cart !

    Awesome narration. Its a complete jukebox of awesomeness one reader would expect. My eagerness for Madras has gone to a next level after this TAMARIND CITY experience. ! Luv you Ghosh da :-) Hail for the city of Tamarinds .

    Nisarg Kanitkar

    Certified Buyer

    29 Dec, 2014


    keeps you hooked!

    travel writing is surely an interesting genre!
    having read Maximum city by Suketu Mehta earlier [ which was about mumbai]....i was intrigued by the title of this book!
    and i have no regrets picking it up!
    a thoroughly interesting read that keeps you hooked without any boring lines! though I've been to Chennai only a couple of times- reading this book made Chennai a really interesting city for me now!
    Ghosh is certainly a terrific writer- the way he described the city with different adjecti...


    Certified Buyer

    26 Jun, 2014


    Great Read

    This book provided a good insight about Chennai and its rich history. Loved the narrative style and the layout of the book. Looking forward to reading more works of this author.

    Ganasunder Narayanamurthy

    Certified Buyer

    29 Jan, 2014


    Not a Travel Guide!

    A very nicely written book. The book talks about Chennai and its evolution and its philosophy, and also about eminent personalities of Madras upbringing.
    Art, Culture, Music, Movies, Food, Technology, Healthcare, Education, Economy, Politics, Romance and Sex all are given proportionate weight-age and written in a brilliant manner to get me thinking..whoa Chennai does stand for this...and pretty more...
    The author takes the readers through a journey of his life in Chennai, thereby, subtly intr...

    Lakshman Srikanth

    Certified Buyer

    26 Jan, 2013


    Not just abt history

    Doesn't bog you down with too much of history/geography. It does help if you have bit of an idea about chennai though. Easy read and nice selection of characters to view chennai from their perspective(including the author's). History abt the December music season was interesting and surprised to learn that the tradition is not that old as few claim it to be. The chapters have been arranged in such a way that you don't feel bored and each one has a distinct flavor of its own. The author shari...

    Arvind Jayasankar

    Certified Buyer

    23 Jan, 2013

    View all 14 reviews
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