Many moons ago when Quote-a-Day featured a story on Annalakshmi, I knew I wanted to check out the place. Though it was somewhere on that rough mental wish-list, it slipped my mind when I actually got to Chennai. I was reminded when Nipun visited Annalakshmi in Singapore. MBJ & YML’s last day in Chennai provided the perfect excuse to finally fulfill the Annalakshmi curiositycraving.
Among the interesting things I noticed were that this Annalakshmi doesn’t have the pay-as-much-as-you-want scheme, except for one day a week. All sorts of unflattering reasons why that may be so came to mind, none of which I will recount here. Also rather refreshing to see people who didn’t cower and cringe as they served my food. An unfortunate fact of life here is that most waiters are somewhat afraid of their patrons, probably through a mixture of caste and class disparities, so it was a nice change to feel a greater sense of equality with the waiters and cooks in that dining experience. The food was great, but the decor was fabulous. It was nice meeting some of Smita’s Chennai friends as well– Kiruba, Archana, and Shilpa. Kiruba wrote about the lunch on his blog and even posted a picture. Kiruba’s picture is a good way to check out how much weight I’ve lost on this trip (look at that gaunt jaw-line!). An interesting fact about Kiruba is that he is apparently one of Chennai’s O.G.’s on the blogosphere, and has a tendency to be at the beating pulse of not only the city, but apparently the wider Indianish-blogosphere– even driving some random traffic to my own well-sequestered blog. He’s all over the map– a connector’s connector, and knew about many of the things close to Charityfocus like Dr. V., ProPoor, BeTheChange, and more. Archana and Shilpa are setting up an NGO that deals with child labor in the leather industry from the “top-down”, an interesting coincidence given that I had just been looking at an aspect of the leather industry from the “bottom-up” for SuryaKiran.
Mostly reticent for much of the meal, I later marveled at the paradox of random coincidences without coincidences that brought a motley crew of globetrotters together to share a meal, and wondered about what might grow from the seeds cast in those few hours.