Vijaya Store

Well Chennai is not a regular city at least for someone like me who can’t speak the language! (No offence to the people who stay here though) I meant it’s not like any other city where you can pick up your bags and roam around the city alone. Eat somewhere and buy some knick knacks. You seriously need to know the language to do that. As in I have got lost around 10 times! It’s also because of my poor road sense. Well so I got to know about this place called Vijaya Stores in Mylapore. I saw the stuff that you get there and it was amazing. Fell in love with the stuff the moment I saw it. So today I kind of left office a bit early around, 6’o clockish. Waited for 41-D (that’s a bus number). I waited in the bus stand for around 10 minutes. Auto ‘wallahs’ from the opposite were nudging each other and calling me out. I pretended to pay no attention. After 10 minutes I crossed the road. Then I hear the screeching sound of a bus. I strained my head and turned back and saw that the bus standing proudly out there was none other than 41-D. I again missed the bus because of my sheer stupidity . So I thought I will get hold of an auto. ‘Annah’( that’s brother in tamil) “Mylaporah Indian Bankah”! I try to add the Tamil accent thinking that they just might charge me less. “Annah! How muchah”. Another try you see. “50 Rupeesah”.

“ NO Annah no 40 rupeesa. Annah please” . I don’t even know how far is Mylapore from Abhiramapuram. So he takes me through these lanes and I just suspected him that he is taking me somewhere else. But Annah had taken me to the right place only. I got down from the auto and to my right is Indian Bank. Then I see ‘Vijaya Stores’ just a couple of shops away. Yay! I felt so happy. I paid him 40 rupees and ran away yo Vijaya store. Well this Vijaya Store didn’t look to me like the one I was expecting. I scrumbled through some of the knick knacks there. Colourful glass bangles, sindoor boxes, false hair, wooden boxes, Magenta pink wooden birds. You name it and they have it. But they didn’t have what I was looking for. I went up to the counter and god save me that girl could speak in English. I tried explaining what I was looking for. She tried a lot to help me but they didn’t have that. I just tried one more time and asked “do you know of any other Vijaya Store”? She was like “ya ya just go straightah 10 shops”! I was like yay! So I started walking .A walked quite a bit and came back to this roadside vendor. There were these two ladies sitting there and they had this big thela kind of thing. They had the worlds smallest diyas . They looked so cute. But I can’t buy something which is breakable. I started walking past and there there was a smaller ‘Vijaya Store’. Tried explaining there what I wanted luckly one guy understood what I wanted and told me to walk past the temple and to this shop called Rashi. Hmm so I came out of the second Vijaya Store and started walking and then I saw to my left a shop selling kurtis . I hopped to that shop. Ya it had nice jaipuri kurtas and lots of nice wooden toys for children. I started asking this guy to show me kurts in English. He showed me this pink kurta and I really like it. And guess what this guy started talking to another guy in Hindi. The other guy looked like he was from Kashmir. I was like “Bhaiyya aaaaapkoooo HINDIIII aaati haiinnn”!!! He was like haan. Dhut So I bought this kurta and started walking and then I saw this lady sitting on the other side of the road and she was selling trinkets and beads. So I had to had to cross the road. I crossed the road. There were these two regular college girls one wearing a green cartoony t-shirt and she was buying something. I asked ‘Aka’ (Aka is sister in tamil) “how much?” she said something. Then I asked the other girls what she said and they said 10! I was like paradise for Shreya Sen. Earrings for 10. I picked up around 3. I saw these amazing ceramic neck pieces, they were really nice nothing heavy very wearable. “Aka how much ??” She said twenty. I picked up one which had a chrome yellow cylindrical bead with crimson spirals on it, another one was a square slab half lemon yellow and half white. I particulary found this piece really interesting and different. I picked up one emerald bead too. Then I started walking, I walked pass the temple. The place looked very shady to me. But I told myself its ok you can do this. ‘JAB MANN MEIN HAIN VISHWAAS!”. I started walking and took a right as told to me by the second Vijaya store owner. I started walking jumped over a little puddle. I started walking and to my right I see this emporium kind of thing. It looked pretty interesting to me. I crossed the road and saw the hoarding. It said ‘Rashi Emporium’. It felt awesome to have finally reached the place. That place was awesome. There was a little girl there who kind of understood little English but she was very sweet. Then I saw this box with little little wooden animals. I picked up one box. I called up ma and asked if she wanted anything. She told me to get something which was unbreakable and small hmm something like a photo frame. I found this really interesting photo frame and picked it up. I wanted something for my room. I saw this one stringed hanging thing. Like the ones you get in Dili haat. It was for around 55 bucks. I gave all the stuff for billing. Then I saw this hanging thing which has 6 colourful wooden camels and lots of beads in the stings. I asked the price. 300. Hmmm I thought there will be no other place where I shall find such wonderful stuff. Thought of giving some hold to my misery habits.. Me“Anah in place of the one stinged thing Annah please give me that”. Annah, “Okah!”. “Annah wait wait wait” and then I thought of getting the other box with animals. It had around 9 animals. I could identify some, one was a lion, another tiger, a black elephant. It was amazing how the form of these animals remained same but the colour made all the difference. Bill :600 something. Me, “Do you guys accept debit cards”.Annah, “Yeah yeah”.Took those and jumped into an auto.Me, “Annah Mandaveli, St. Johns Schoolah,starightah , second leftah , Annah 25 annah 25”…before he could say anything I sat inside. Ha ha shameless I have become.

Today was the day I understood the exuberance of street shopping. You can actually smell the place and feel it. Its the streets where you meet and see such interesting people. It’s very much unlike malls. I absolutely detest malls. They are the same everywhere. You will never get such satisfaction in malls.

Today I have fallen for Chennai!

p.s. While I was coming back in the auto I see three other Vijaya Stores!


  1. Sen!! That is such a vivid description!! beautiful!! walking on the streets is surely the best way to explore :)


  3. Thanks Priyankar da...thanks a lot for the encouragement!

  4. Hehe. Next time, try coconut oil on your hair instead of the ‘+ah’ appendices.

  5. Coconut oil! ha ha should try that too!


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