J is for Jaya & Jasmine #BlogchatterAtoZ

Talking of Chennai and not mentioning tthe late J Jayalalitha , or Amma as she was known as, just does not seem  right. The power that lady held was simply phenomenal.

I remember driving into Chennai from Bangalore the first thing we would see, as we reached the outskirts of the city, would be huge cut-outs of her, in her trademark cape, and later Green-hued sarees. I miss the red and black party flags and cut outs of her lining the streets outside where her home used to be. Amma Unavangam (Canteen) still stands, serving South Indian vegetarian food at subsidised low cost rates. You could have a full meal hear at the price of a basic chocolate bar, i:e for about 10 INR.

Her car used to have a custom inbuilt light shining down on her, as she sat in the front seat next to the driver.

From a top actress to a politician, Jayalalitha was someone who learnt on the job and excelled in every role she played. Ruthless, decisive and ambitious she overcame every failure and drawback only to emerge stronger than ever, till death came as an untimely visitor and claimed her.

Jasmine, or Malli Poo as it is known as in Tamil, is a flower you will see a lot of. it is sold everywhere. On streets, in markets, outside temples. This small, pristine white flower with a heady fragrance is a considered an auspicious flower.


Wearing Jasmine is considered to be a sign of prosperity and luck. The beautiful fragrance it emits doesn’t hurt either. Which is why you’ll see women adorning their hair with a string of it. Some wear it daily, while others do so on certain days of the week or festive occasions.

When you attend a wedding or a felicitious traditional ceremony it is most likely that you could be offered a string of Jasmine. Never refuse it, even if you may not wear flowers in your hair. Take it, thank the person who gave it to you, keep the string with you, maybe wrap it around your wrist. Giving a lady guest a string of jasmine is considered auspicious, so naturally refusing it is not taken very well.

After you finish praying at a temple here, you could be handed a string of Jasmine or loose flowers by the priest. Consider it prasadam.


I love the fragrance of Jasmine. However I don’t wear flowers in my hair. So what I do is place a string near the air-conditioning vent, at home and in the car. The room and the car both smell so good!

Written for the theme

My A to Z of Chennai: The City Viewed Through An Outsiders Eye


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