'Only place for outsiders to become popular'
CHENNAI: Architect-cum-fashion designer Swathi Purushothaman has been stitching clothes for herself since she was six years old. Fascinated by temple architecture and the scenes of the city, this namma ooru vaasi talks to us about home ...
What makes you a Chennaiite?
I was born and brought up in this city. I went to college in Ahmedabad and never wanted to get back here for I thought the world outside had better opportunities and was far more exciting than a city like Chennai. But something about this place brings me back to it and proves me wrong every time. I absolutely love working here and it’s been an amazing platform to start afresh.
Your favourite spot in the city and why?
The beaches along the ECR are my favourite. You can get away from the city life and be at peace just looking at the water. It makes the city seem so small and distant with it’s never ending stretch of water as far as you can see. It is the most relaxing experience ever to take a drive down the ECR, get out on a serene beach and just keep looking out at the water.
If you had to design an outfit that screams ‘I am a Chennaiite’, how would you go about it?
The madras checks cotton used in a shirt blouse with either a cotton sari or skirt.
Where would you take a non-Chennaiite friend on his first visit to Chennai?
The shore temple and the stone light house at Mahabalipuram and Kalakshetra
Three words in Madras baashai you would teach him/her?
machaan, chumma and aiyyo.
Chennai or Madras?
Madras, of course!
An incident you witnessed that made you think, ‘This is namma Chennai’
The December floods.
A Chennai-based celeb or personality whom you would like to date or go out with?
I don’t know about going on a date, but I would definitely like to meet and interact with filmmaker Mani Ratnam.
Three Chennai things here that can’t be found in any part of the world?
The Marina, filter coffee and Margazhi dance and music festival.
A stereotype that makes you roll your eyeballs?
That men here wear lungis all the time.
The most ‘Chennaiite’ thing you've ever done
Learnt Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music since the age of 6.
If you had a chance to create an outfit for one of the many statues installed in the city of great men/women...whom would you choose and why?
The Kannagi statue. Though sari is timeless any day, I would like to take up the challenge of how I could dress her in a powerful manner that would compliment her fiery nature and command respect.
Describe the city in your own words and style!
This city has retained its culture and traditions while always welcoming global trends. It makes people from all over the country feel at home, and provides equal opportunities to all. In no other Indian city can an outsider dream of becoming popular, let alone be a superstar or the CM. This city has not lost its charm on the race to westernisation like the other big metros and makes its people proud for whatever it has to offer.