Chennai is a city that is homely, welcoming and has its own set of quirks. Celebrating namma Chennai and providing a source of relief to nostalgic Tamilnadu hearts the world over, is part of our mission at Chennaigaga and here are some of the top Chennai elements we have covered in our brand’s journey.
- The Central Station
The fascination for namma Chennai Central station is a common one. The magnificent structure always signals a feeling of anticipation whenever you approach it. In a strong and pleasing hue of brick red, the station is a huge hub for travellers and bustling activity. At Chennaigaga, we first brought out a rather serious and classic design captioned Madras Central, and we later also depicted an animated station. This would be the first-ever caricature of the Central station! We captioned it Chennai Central in keeping with the journey from the Madras that was, to the Chennai that is.
- The Napier Bridge
Celebrating the journey of this warm city that remains rich in culture and traditions from Madras to Chennai, we captioned this artwork just so. A minimalistic design, the Napier Bridge is shown through simple lines of art. A play on colours completed the overall impression, making it a solid one and once again proved the power of simple depictions. North of the Marina Beach and south of Fort St. George and the War Memorial, the Napier bridge is a popular drive for enthusiastic motorists.
- The Filter Coffee and Tea Kadais
If you haven’t experienced thick kaapi decoction in a stainless steel tumbler engulfed in hot, frothy milk and blended to a higher level of bubbly froth with the help of a ‘dabbra’, then you haven’t (yet) experienced the essence of Chennai! At Chennaigaga, we are kaapi crazy and have not resisted the temptation to bring out multiple designs dedicated to south Indian filter coffee. This is a kaapi-loving brand.
Tea-Lovers, we have not left you high and dry. Our ‘Oru Tea Sollu’ design with the quintessential tea glass is a best seller. Going by the number of Tea shops in Chennai, this is not surprising!
- Namma Auto
Our yellow and black three-wheeled delight that zips through the nooks and corners of Chennai streets and manoeuvres narrow spaces meant only for two wheelers, has always been celebrated by us from Day 1 of Chennaigaga’s journey back in 2009. The Chennai autorickshaw (known as tuk tuk in some countries) is famous for being a rebel. Going where others wouldn’t go, asking for a price that others wouldn’t (!), high on efficiency and low on time, the auto here is a dream vehicle, really. Some auto drivers make it their own by not only keeping it shiny and new but also adding embellishments and other accessories to jazz things up.
At Chennaigaga, we have even captured the sight of two autos moving in unison as a caricature design. When one auto runs out of petrol, another auto driver gives it a leg up – quite literally, and aleka pushes him along to the nearest petrol bunk! The auto is definitely a hot element here! *Aleka means ‘smoothly’ or in fluid motion.
- Celebrating the Tamil Language
Tamil or Thamizh is a major language in the Dravidian language family and the official language of Tamilnadu. It is one of the official languages of Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka too. We Tamils are super-proud of our mother tongue and cannot sing enough praises about it. Thamizh is powerful in grammar and literature too. Thamizh is arguably the oldest language in the world! And if these were not reasons enough, the fun aspect which Chennaigaga is gaga about, is the diglossia with respect to Thamizh. Diglossia is the use of two markedly different varieties of a language in different social situations -- as a formal variety at work and an informal variety at home. And then, there’s Tanglish, a mixture of Tamil and English which nearly everyone in Tamilnadu understands!
All these make Thamizh a sheer delight to create a souvenir line around! Our first Tamil design was a simple, straightforward font-based artwork that says ‘I love Thamizh’. Truer words you cannot find in the heart of a true Tamilian! We have also brought out other font based artworks because the Tamil font is unique and rich to behold. Kids’ designs include the Tamil alphabet and Adults’ designs feature popular, motivational proverbs with enhanced design elements.
- Carnatic Music
In 2011 there was no sign of any Carnatic themed souvenirs anywhere and Chennaigaga happily lapped up the chance to launch an exclusive and original Carnatic themed souvenir line for the first time ever! We made a series of souvenirs that began with a cluster of music instruments and a quirky caption ‘Nothing beats Chennai’ that went well with a depiction of the Mridhangam. We also brought out a set of 4 coasters that each celebrated the Tambura, Mridhangam, Violin and Ghatam with appropriate captions and we also created a separate design for the Veenai. Our Madras Melodies mug is one of our masterpieces and a real hit with locals and tourists alike, as it features and names popular musical instruments featured in Carnatic music.
There are many more Chennai elements that Chennaigaga has celebrated through creative designs but the top 6 have been listed here and we hope you enjoyed reading it. Do subscribe to us by signing up for the downloadable pdf on the website which gives you a key to practising the Dappankoothu dance!