The season, Chennai celebrates art and culture, It also paves the way for new opportunities. Meeting new people, playing host/hostess, enjoying the company of artistes and travellers to the city, and the bonus - add-ons to one’s income.
Mylaporeans are slowly opening their doors to visitors and sharing their private spaces. Families whose children have flown the nest still have something to look forward to by offering accommodation facilities and services to rasikas. Wellappointed deluxe rooms, breakfast/dinner included, a bungalow setting, within walking distance of sabhas and auditoriums . . .are on offer.
Bed and breakfast services are coming of age in traditional Mylapore. Some hosts share their views and experiences in this feature. Radhakrishnan from Alwarpet, who travels abroad often to visit his children and looks for home stay options himself, is hosting a young man from Singapore for the first time this year.
The flat is in the midst of the hub of sabhas. Radhakrishnan is excited at the possibility of making friends, providing information and help to tourists, sharing his interests in music, as well as putting his spare bedroom to good use.
At the same time, he is cautious about inviting new people into his home and is taking steps to ensure the enquiries are serious in nature.
Depending on the quality of email/telephonic interaction with a prospective guest, he is ready to share photographs of his spare room, which is available for rent during the December season only.
He says he is keen to let out space on a short-term basis, despite the discouraging voices of friends and relatives. He has even been asked if there are economic pressures for him to resort to such activities.
However, after seeing the number of calls he has gotten after placing an advertisement, the same people are now considering the possibility of following in his footsteps!
Sudha Narayanan used to be a Doordarshan newsreader and it is her command over the English language that strikes foreigners when they contact her over the phone.
Sudha lives in a sixdecade old independent bungalow on C V Raman Road and has converted her garage space into a luxurious and comfortable little nook with a touch of India’s culture and tradition.
Wooden carvings and Tanjore paintings are a prominent part of the decor. She gifts Indian artifacts and Kashmiri embroidery garments to her guests when they leave, cementing a friendship that continues via email through the years.
She has had return guests who enjoy her warm hospitality further enhanced by the cooking skills of her 90-plus mother-in-law, who enjoys preparing traditional Indian delicacies for their guests. The spare room given out during the December season has the comforts of a portable TV and a geyser in the attached bathroom, in a bid to provide maximum comfort to visitors seeking private accommodation.
Lawyer Gouri Tirumurti travels frequently for work and leisure. She is away from her home many times a year and is offering her entire apartment to Margazhi season aficionados. The centrally located plush apartment with French doors in Mandaveli is elegantly furnished and would appeal to people from foreign countries, says Gouri. Different sets of people have approached her, and a sharing option would be available if all the parties are comfortable with the arrangement.
She is equally happy to rent the apartment to just one person/couple.
She offers a wifi connection, a cable TV connection, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, an RO water system and provides thoughtful little touches such as stocking up on basic ration like microwaveable storable milk, tomato puree, sugar and tea for the convenience of her guests.
Her domestic help and cook are also available if required.
Susheela residing in CIT Colony has been hosting the same people from abroad every December. An Indian couple and single gentleman who reside abroad stay at her simple residence every year. Avid fans who try and attend as many music concerts as possible during the December music festivals.
Susheela says she and her family enjoy the company of like-minded individuals who visit the city during this time. The family looks forward to meeting their guests every year, having established a cordial rapport over time.
She says her guests are happy with the no-frills accommodation services provided to them and prefer the personalised home atmosphere and the company.
Susheela is open to offering her space to others as well, but only based on referrals.
The popularity of short-term tourists has also attracted the eye of service apartments like Orange Inn at San Thome and Hanu Reddy Residences at Alwarpet and guesthouses like Cloud 9 in Mylapore, which offer all the comforts of a hotel at reasonable rates.
Time for Mylaporeans to tap the tourist flow.
Reported by Sumita Pai
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