Dosa and degree kapi
On the day he retained his world chess crown for the fifth time, we dig out from our archives Viswanathan Anand's memories of the city he calls home, which he had shared with Manisha Mohite
My earliest memory of Chennai is living in one of those grand Railway Houses, off Haddows Road (my father was with the Railways), and enjoying cycling with my brother.
Chennai now boasts of some of the finest restaurants in the city, but in the eighties, we eagerly looked forward to our treat on Sundays, a dosa at Woodlands Drive. Here I must mention that one of the things which I sorely missed during my trips abroad was the degree kapi.
When I started playing chess, I would go to the Tal Club on weekends. The prize for the famous blitz Sundays would be Rs 10 approximately and in those days, you could get a fantastic dosa and a sundae for that.
In a way, you can say that it is Chennai which helped me to discover chess. The Tal Club was a hub of activity then and the atmosphere used to be really charged. We were all basically amateurs and would play these blitz games on Sunday. The winner stayed and the loser had to stand in line. That is the main reason behind my speedy play.
We moved to Besant Nagar when my Dad retired. At that time, there were very few houses in that area and the beach would be virtually empty. After every trip abroad, I would yearn for the sea breeze of Chennai.
Image: Six-year-old Anand strikes a pose for the camera before heading off for his first game of chess.
Images Courtesy: Viswanathan Anand (Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited)