CHENNAI: Model-cum-actress Sahithya Jagannathan has been modelling since 2010 and has walked the ramp for renowned Indian designers. A lover of namma ooru beach, sundal and the eclectic combination of architecture, culture and welcoming people, she shares her take on this city — her sanctuary...
What makes you a Chennaiite? What’s the one thing you fancy about namma ooru?
Born and brought up in Chennai, I live here by choice. Despite its reputation for having a conservative population I think Chennai is way more welcoming and accepting of the LGBTQ community.
A Chennai based celebrity whom you would like to date or go out with?
Actor Siddarth! I think conversations would be interesting if his speeches are anything to go by.
Two things here that can’t be found in any part of the world?
Sundal on the beach and Madras mamis jogging wearing sneakers
Would you like to change anything here? What and why?
The littering and people’s inability to follow traffic rules.
If you would want to make a fashion statement in Chennai style, what would you do?
Style a dhoti or lungi with a white shirt to an event or mallipoo and kemp jewellery with a beautiful dress
Where would you take a person who is new to the city? Why?
Kapaleeshwarar temple and the area nearby because I grew up there and I have fond memories. I would also take them to Mahabalipuram and show them the sunken shore temples on a catamaran with the fishermen.
One part of the city or a specific area that you want to explore?
Parry’s corner - it is an eclectic combination of old buildings and architecture and stores where everything you need is available and the food in some of the street stalls there is just simply brilliant.
Two madras bashai words that you would teach a new bee?
I’d prefer to teach them this phrase I learnt from when I lived in Mylapore. “thiruvaya moodindu porela” such a polite way of telling someone to shut up.
Something from Chennai that you would take to any place you travel.
The beach if I’m going to someplace that doesn’t have one. I love the water and the beach is an integral part of my many memories.
If you had to draw a comparison between Chennai and any other city/country...what would it be? and why?
I can only compare cities that I have lived in and I would say you can compare Ahmedabad and Chennai...there is a wonderful amalgamation of respecting the past and embracing the future in both the cities.
What is the craziest thing you have ever wanted to do in the city? And where?
This might not be crazy but I have wanted to build a shack on the beach like the ones in Goa with beach beds that serve yummy food, beer and wine. Also, want the Adyar river to be dredged and to have a ferry system. Imagine travelling from Adyar to Mylapore in 5 mins...it’s brilliant!
If you would like to install another statue at Marina beach, what or who would it be?
A man and a woman wearing swimsuits. Not models, but normal average Indian figures. A woman with Indian hips and some fat, so that woman today know that they are beautiful no matter what size/shape they are. It should be okay to wear a swimsuit because that is what you wear to a beach, be it Marina or Bessy, instead of the saris and salwars that they wear now which make them look like large jellyfish in the water or a parachute and is quite unsafe. Also the creepy men can ogle at the statue instead of the women. That way, we can all have a good time.
Describe the city in your own words and style!
Chennai is my home, my sanctuary, the one place in the world that i can call my own! This is also a city with a heart! No matter what adversity we face the people who live her come together and pull through. its heart warming to see that and I’m proud of the people who live here and proud to call Madras my home. I love the name Madras just as much as I love the name Chennai. to me the names refer to this wonderful quality that chennai has where you constantly feel like a time traveller with one foot in the past and one in the present.