Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, and is on the coast. The climate is hotter and more humid than Bangalore.
We woke up to breakfast by Shalini, and soon Krishita, Jay and Shalini’s daughter, was home from nursery. She immediately wanted to tell me all of her rhymes – she has a book of them and recites lots of them for English practice at nursery. She reeled off about a hundred of these before Shalini managed to get her to have some lunch.
Sellappan and I went on the grand tour of Chennai, and the first stop was Madras University, which we reached via a road going along the beach where Sellappan, Alka and the gang passed many a spare hour. We walked around the campus and Sellappan introduced me to a few of his teachers.
Next on the list was present shopping for the friends and relatives Sellappan has in the area, or more accurately, for their kids. We spent some time in a department store and picked up toys and clothes for a variety of ages and then headed downstairs again to get them giftwrapped. Meanwhile, I made a quick phone call to a patchworker to wish her many happy returns.
Our next stop was Loyola, another beautiful set of buildings which we weren’t allowed to photograph. Sellappan reminisced with his teachers and told me stories of his time there. We stopped for milk (I had mango milk, Sellappan had blackcurrant) to rehydrate and then it was time for the next visit.
Sellappan’s sister-in-law Renuka lives on the other side of Chennai with his nephew, Raghav. They were just coming back from school and we went to their place for a quick visit and passed on Raghav’s birthday gift to him. He was very excited to see Sellappan and showed him all of his toys, lining up dinosaurs and elephants for inspection.
After a little while we headed home to meet Shalini, Jay and Krishita to go out for dinner. We went to a restaurant specialising in middle eastern food, and had a mixed grill with hummus to start, and then Indian food to finish off. The restaurant was busy as it was Friday as well as being Valentine’s day. We ended the evening by going to the beach, and played in the sand with Krishita, much to her delight! She really loves playing in the sand, almost as much as she loves copying Shalini cooking with her toys.
Back at the flat we gave Krishita her gift of mini stainless steel pots and pans and cooking utensils. She cooked us up a mean invisible chicken biriyani before we went to bed.