“Clandestine” applies to the lovers, not to the guide, in case you thought otherwise.If you and your clandestine louw partner are the twin towers of romance, The city of Chennai is the metaphorical plane (or plain) that is likely to crash into the both of you.
In Chennai, the presence of unmarried girl and unmarried boy within a distance of 10 metres from each other is considered to be a public display of affection. Today, you probably will be, but the policeman patrolling Marina beach is likely to make polite enquiries about your status (Vekkam, Maanam, Soodu, Soranai) and generally haul you back home. The real irony is that the puritanical maamas and maamis of yore are slowly getting used to the fact that there exists this sane middle ground between the extremes of Satyabhama University boy-girl rules on the one hand and teenage pregnancies on the other.
But with almost every engineering college doing practically everything short of neutering male students before admission, Chennai is entering this new weird era where young boys have no clue how to talk to a girl, let alone ask her out.
But if you are the rare breed that has gone beyond staring at your college girls’ profile photos on Orkut (because any real world contact is punishable by medieval torture and slow painful death), and actually want to go out with a girl and not get into trouble with Chennai’s Beeblebroxian-second-head, this guide is for you.
Update: After several comments on this post, I realized that there are broadly 3 levels of clandestinity (cough cough) that people look for.
Level 1 – where boy and girl only indulge in conversation and require a small degree of privacy. The Beaches Central section of Marina Beach, opposite the Ice House.
Level 2 – where a small amount of safe physical intimacy is desired and Level 3 – where, um, hotel rooms are required. For some reason, this is the de-facto lovers zone, and you will find couples seated at strategically discreet distances from each other.The presence of several pairs generally discourages roving bands of shady guys who tend to consider the passing of lewd comments to be on par with .The only invasion of privacy one has to deal with is the Sundal-boy, who operates on the logic that if you want to put kadalai, you might as well buy some ammunition from him. The Southern side of Elliots beach – There is a police checkpost and the cops play mangaatha and lay bets based on the number of couples they break up on a daily basis. Any other beach, especially on East Coast Road – Very dangerous.The Northern side of Besant Nagar beach – closer to the Orur Alcott fisherman’s village. Quite a few kidnappings/molestations have happened there in the recent past. Wear rings on the ring finger of the left hand before going to the beach.Claim to be recently married and act a little offended (just a little) at cop’s invasion of privacy, but commiserate with his overall crusade/struggle against the heinous crime of sitting next to each other on sand without wearing rings/thalis/toerings etc. Additionally create a contact on your mobile phone (preferably girl’s) named “Appa” that actually connects to a close friend who can confirm your “married” status. Sometimes, just acting as if one is dialing that number and handing the phone to the cop is enough to convince him that you are not the typical thiruttu lover case. Ever since Chennai maamas and maamis have started wearing NRI-children-gifted New Balance sneakers and become health freaks, most parks have become way too crowded for couples.But one safe haven remains – the Adyar Banyan Tree, in the Theosophical Society.