ABOUT SUJATA TARAKESAN

They call me Sujju or TeeSu, or just plain Su. My childhood was Santhome, which seemed at the time the center of the universe. From there my avatars went from being a Rosarian, an Ethirajian, a ship manager, a private Pilot licensee, a journalist/ columnist, freelance writer… to becoming the proud co-creator of Chennaigaga. It’s been quite a journey, and one that still gives me a great reason to spring out of bed each morning.

Chennaigaga has rekindled the adventurous beast in me, the first sign of which I discovered when I learned to fly a single engine aircraft. The thrill and the highs (quite literally!) and the sense of achievement all came together again with Chennaigaga. It has been a fantastic experience over these 13 years and counting. It’s made me pause and think, it gives me sleepless nights, has helped hone my creative skills, and has introduced (and still does) me to so many wonderful people from all walks of life.

I grew up with parents who travelled half the month, and if we got lucky, my sister and I could tag along too. So there were always gifts to buy, gifts to gift and gifts that were gifted. A gift from here could be anything from a kancheevaram saree to a scarf to elephant memorabilia.

When I grew up and went on my own travels, I came back with souvenirs of cities I’d visited yes, but I really never found any to take, that said ‘Namma Chennai’. And so, the idea was born. My friends and I huddled up, thought up designs, wrote out captions and launched Chennaigaga in 2010. Because that’s what we are: gaga over our most beautiful Chennai.

At any given point in time I can find a soul sister/ brother/ dog/ cat in any ’theru' of Chennai. That’s the spirit of this place - something for everyone. From the steaming coffee mugs to melting softie ice creams; from paatu kutcheris (Carnatic music concerts)  to hip-hop pubs; from temple jewelry to eco-friendly bamboo bracelets; from Rolls Royces to Namma hot meter auto rickshaws – baby, we got ‘em all. And that’s what we wanted folks who came here to take back with them. A bit of the Chennai vibes and Madras memories to go gaga over.

So we bundled up the weather, the beaches, the poongavanams, the traffic, the landmarks, the cuisine, the unique Madras baashai, and simply the high energy that is Chennai and translated them into T-shirts, gifts and souvenirs like mugs, key chains, fridge magnets, coasters, mousepads and much more.

I invite you to explore the website and pick your choice of what you, or your giftees, would go gaga over. We’re online post Covid, and hope to also provide some version of brick n mortar to you soon enough. For now, enjoy browsing and shop some Chennai online!

Share your feedback and thoughts with me to sujata@chennaigaga.com