It was a warm sunny day in August. I was on a holiday abroad in Langkawi, Malaysia and was visiting a small island there. I was just being a regular, curious tourist and exploring the locality. One of the streets there was full of colourful stalls selling different types of souvenirs and t-shirts. I admired many of the little knick knacks being sold, the colours and the artworks on them. I observed how they offered just a picture of a coconut tree or some wild flower printed on a bookmark or magnet. They had hundreds of t-shirts in whites and blacks with just the words ‘Langkawi’ or ‘Malaysia’ printed on them.
For some reason, even as the idle tourist in me browsed through those shops, I felt strangely unsettled. Also, it was around the 3rd day of my stay abroad and you know how you start thinking about your home and hometown a lot after just a few days away from it?! And so, my mind wandered back to Chennai. I wondered if I had ever come across a Chennai souvenir like the ones in front of me there on that tiny island. Also, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about that cluster of islands apart from Nature’s gifts — beaches, sunny skies, the sparkling seas and the people …and yet, they had a whole range of memorabilia to offer their tourists.
I then viewed home ie Namma Chennai, with fresh eyes. Chennai is so rich in culture, heritage, the arts, etc. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that we Chennaiites have so much to celebrate: the iconic landmarks, the beaches, the arts, music, cinema, cuisine, and the people of Madras a city that’s now known as Chennai. Moreover, the quintessential elements of India as a country and Chennai as a city, offer immense souvenir potential.
I couldn’t wait to get back and begin my souvenir hunt in namma Chennai. I was looking for regular, daily-use souvenirs that are available across the the world – tshirts, fridge magnets, mugs.
As soon as I returned from that vacation a few days later, I visited various shops across Chennai and noted that there were no chennai-themed tshirts or souvenirs!
“How could this be?”, I wondered in disbelief mixed with a fair amount of excitement. I spent a few days wondering if I was actually on to something or not. Being a T-shirt and knick knack collector myself, the concept of creating a Uniquely-Chennai souvenir line was all the more appealing to me. For some reason, I as a person, have always been simply gaga about T-shirts.
That it is an apt garment for Namma Chennai weather, is a happy coincidence.
Since then, right from figuring out a brand name to deciding the product line and core values, Chennaigaga has been an invigorating venture and an enlightening experience with no dearth of FUN. Coining a brand name is also one of the most fun exercises ever.
After listing out around 26 possible Brand names for the venture, the name CHENNAIGAGA was coined because the sound of it rang well and ‘gaga’ conveyed the enthusiasm and craze for namma Chennai. The tagline mantra: Go Gaga over Chennai! followed naturally enough.
Hope you liked our little story of The Start of Chennaigaga.
To share your personal anecdote of the city with us, or contribute to the Chennaigaga blog, do email us at email@example.com