When we first set foot in Gurgaon in January 2009, little did we know that we’d come to love this city (except when having to foot bills), so much over the years. We found friends, best friends, long lost friends and distant relatives who became first family.

Renuka_Vipanchi_Parvathy_danceI still remember, during one of our first visits to a local mandi, we met a maami (tamil aunty, they’re easy to spot with their pattu saree and typical tamil diamond ear stud) and my mom-in-law asked her, “Are there many Tamils in Gurgaon?” and she promptly replied, ”You’ll meet a million!”, and  thus began our fun filled stay in Gurgaon.

Our best friends are people from different cultures, but I always get the kick when I see or meet someone speak in Tamil. I voluntarily help them at stores if I feel they’re new to the city and often get looked at sceptically. Well, I can’t blame them.

And soon I found the important shops, thanks to friends and relatives who’d moved in before us. Our veggies are different, rice is different, papad and pickles,mmm we can’t live without and of course filter coffee powder.  Earlier my mom would come visiting us with a bag of clothes and two bags of things that she thought I might need, these days it’s just 1+ half.

There are three good South Indian stores ,

1.Balaji Stores in Chakkarpur Krishna Market ,

What’s good : Good quality  Rice, coffee powder, idiyappam puttu mix,  idli/dosa batter, all varities of pulses and grains.

What’s not : Very old Tamil magazines, snacks not very good, no door delivery.

2. South Indian Store , inside Power Grid complex on Gold Souk Road

What’s good :  Delicious south Indian Snacks, Vegies, variety of pickles, coffee filter, idli moulds, masalas, magazines and delivers at home for an order over Rs.1000. I would strongly urge people to try the “Mambalam Iyer’s Maavadu” pickle. Finger lickin’ good with dal chaval or curd rice.

What’s not : quality of rice and pulses. Not sure about the quality of dosa batter too.

3.Ammu Stores, Sushant Towers, Sector 56

Yet to assess

Untitled 2I grew up in a religious community and I find a visit to the temple very relaxing and comforting. The Siddhi  Ganesh Temple at DLF Ph IV ( well it’s actually in chakkarpur ), is run by members of the Tamil community. It is very well maintained with all the important festivals and events being celebrated with good cheer. We visit the temple  atleast once a week.

‘Bal Vihar’ classes, are mantra chanting and moral values classes run by Chinmaya Mission Volunteers (Tamil Moms) across various places in Gurgaon. These classes are run for free and are open to all.

We also have professionals who teach bharatnatyam and carnatic classical music.

Restaurants  : If it’s authentic Tamil food it has to be Saravana Bhavan@ CP, nothing comes as close. The best one in Guragon is Neivedhyam.

What to order @ a South Indian Restaurant :

  • Idli Sambar
  • Ghee Dosa / Masala Dosa
  • Sambar Vadai / Rasam Vadai
  • Ven Pongal / Sweet Pongal
  • Onion Rava Dosa
  • Rasam – Neivedhyam serves this as an appetiser cum welcome drink.

Saravana Bhavan Specialities :

  • Mini Idli with Sambhar
  • Mini Tiffin
  • Mini Meals and
  • The full Tamilnadu meals,( mmmm ..my mouths watering as I type this)

Delhi has a fairly large Tamil community with many Temples, Restaurants and many stores. How can I not mention Nalli silks and Radha Silk Emporium for pattu sarees and other typical tamil clothes.

There are Tamil Cooks available for catering at parties/ functions big and small.

Pandits and purohits, to conduct your functions and rituals just like the way it happens back home.

I don’t miss much about  Chennai  except friends, family,  marina beach and the freedon to go out or return home anytime, Chennai is very safe. Gurgaon has everything and all the good people to make life as comfortable and interesting as it would be back in Chennai.

Gurgaon, naan unnai ka-da-li-ki-ren! (Gurgaon- I love you!)