Trip Tick! #1

I was anxiously sitting in my seat, kids in the front seat were busy watching the in-flight entertainment, giggling at Mr. Bean’s tantrums; in my case the word Bean reminded me the yummy "Beans pArupusali (பாருப்பூசலி)" my mom cooks. As though the captain read my mind, he announced "flight attendants prepare for landing", moments later I felt the 777 decent towards the earth, my ears completely blocked but still managed to capture little babies scream, and nervously I peeped through the window, a familiar sight - St. Thomas Mount on Horizon, Chennai! Here I come.

Chennai airport has been upgraded and looks great. The luggage pickup was well organized, No need to run around carousels to find the luggage. Clear signs are posted about your flight in every carousel and luggage arrives only at the posted carousel. The whole airport was well lit and secured. You can book prepaid cabs, No shady deals, you can also book train tickets to anywhere in India. I saw a Southern Railway counter, a sweet and flower stall and few duty free shops at the airport. As I drove out of the Airport, I saw a board – “Anna International Terminal ISO 9000 certified”, I guess IS0 certification has some meaning to it.

First thing that I noticed in Chennai was, the entire city was covered with “something”- if you have guessed it smog “beep”– NO; the real beauty of the Chennai has been over shadowed by tons and tons of advertisement hoardings. Believe it or not, Entire city is now covered by hoardings of various sizes and messages. Even new buildings with well designed architecture were covered by giant size banners of trendy looking models posing for computer designed Sarees, Jewelry stores and their Gold dripping ornaments, newly built shopping malls, variety of Indian and international cars, Cell phones, Tele serial banners, movie banners, moreover annoying huge political posters with their beloved leaders posing for brightly printed glorifying Tamil words lifted from the million year old Tamil literature. Even the front gates of residential houses and colonies had hoardings with a fine print: “Do not park in the front of the gate”; when asked about this outbreak, no one really cared, it seems hoardings fetch lucrative amounts. Eswara!, [someone would offer money to suffix this with the word “Silks”]

Traffic was as usual at its best – or worst. An over bridge is being built right in front of the airport. It took me about an hour to travel from Airport to T. Nagar; thanks to the early morning time; the over bridge construction at Guindy “kathipara” junction is a day and night mare, I was told that it takes couple hours to cross this place. The flyovers are expected to be completed in few years, until then - royal mess for the motorists. Two vital elements prevent accidents in Chennai – 1. Extraordinary Reflex and 2.Sheer Luck;

People generally don’t seem to care for traffic rules or safety. Government buses, trucks, 2 wheelers and of course the yellow bumble bee of Chennai - auto rickshaws are notorious for such mindless driving. No one stopped for Red Lights, unless there was a cop waving at them. In my opinion, the driving culture found in Chennai would rank the worst in the world. People just move their vehicle if they see open space on the road, regardless of right or left side. They don’t seem to care for oncoming traffic, if there is “space” just move in, soon this would shut down the whole road causing serious traffic jams. Traffic police cannot do anything if people don’t behave like human beings. Make sure the main gates and doors are locked, else Auto drivers could use it as a detour route and would not hesitate to trespass into your house and go on to the next street.

All said and done - my home town would be the best place for me to spend my well earned vacation. Development in Chennai is quite remarkable. ..



Narayanan Venkitu said...

Enjoy your stay in Chennai, be careful with eating out/water etc.

What's you've written about Chennai - absolutely right.

Please be careful on the ECR road especially.

Autos using detours - LOL :-)..very true.!!