Sep 12, 2009

Trip to Chennai

Warning: Long pointless post. Like most ones in this space.

Since the last post, things have improved. Thankfully, Ms.Asthma wanted just a one-night stand this time around.

The week started off well. I was to catch a train to Chennai on Sep 3, and I reached VT (ok, Raj, Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus!) without any issues. In spite of the fact that it was Ganapathy (or, Ganpati as Mumbai makkal say) Visarjan. And no, I wasn't running away from the threat that I may be mistakenly drowned by drunk revellers. Though my friends like to hint at it, not too subtly.

One of my good friends (and for a very long time, the only reader of this blog who did not call himself SRK) was getting married.

And though it has been ages since I wrote this post, I wanted to see if I was still nostalgic about sleeper class. I walk in, and it looks like a ghost compartment. Yes, 72 seats, and not a single person other than me (and the voices in my head). I was slowly getting the joke that my father had made when I mentioned that I was taking the Madras (ok, MK, Chennai) Mail. "The train that stops every time a buffalo wanders within 5 metres of the tracks to let it pass.", were his exact words.

Anyways, I had a very interesting read to give me company. A 150 page report full of descriptions of once-through boiler specifications, cooling water chemical dosing pre-treatment and other engineering stuff that I attempt in vain to understand. And after failing spectacularly, start writing posts cursing the damn engineers. You see, unlike mere mortals who carry a boring novel, we nation building champions of infrastructure lug along mega power project project reports. Small sacrifices for lighting up the country.

I drowsed off by the time I was in the second para of the executive summary of the report. I wake up to the sounds of chai garam and bread aamlayte. Smell of vada pav and bhajia.The stink of the loo (I was in seat 72!). People. And more people. Three guys sitting in what was supposed to be my seat. And telling me they'll get off at next station, tension nako. Aah, good bye empty train, welcome nostalgia.

And while I struggled through civil works and mechanical design, the stations hurtled past. And I drowsed off again. Yes, the train takes a day and two nights to do the Mumbai-Chennai distance.
This time, I was woken up by the tap tap tap of a police lathi on my berth. And before I could yell "you can't arrest me for killing that cockroach on my berth", he drawled "Chennai Central" and moved on to the next berth. Phew. Why hadn't my alarm gone off? I looked at my watch. Damn Indian Railways, how can Madras Mail arrive 1/2 hour before time. My dad might say there were no buffaloes near the track.

Having been forewarned about the greedy auto rickshaw guys of Chennai who think meter is such a peter concept, I just hopped along to Park Station and caught a local train. To St. Thomas Mount. Why does Chennai have such peter names for stations? Leave the Elphinstones and Currey Roads to Bombay and have more stations with names like Pazhavanthangal. Uphold Tamizh tradition I say.

Blame it on the effect of having stayed in Bombay for 11 years now, that I expected Nanganallur to have naked chicks. OMG, I am making lame indhi payyan jokes. Shudder.

Couldn't do too much sight seeing in Chennai. Short two day visit, punctuated with visit to uncle's place, visit to cousin's place where the 1 year old niece absolutely refused to come anywhere near me (in spite of chocolate bribes), and I spent most of the time at the wedding hall.

Which brings me to the only point of this post? Where have all the pretty girls gone? I was given coffee by a azhukku veshti payyan, there were no cute faces at the entrance sprinkling rose water, all the malli-poos were on the head of old maamis... damn, even the girl who sang Mukunda Mukunda was not an Asin lookalike, but a tiny eight year old!

PS1: The pretty girls may be missing, but the food continues to be divine. Thank God (and the caterer) for that! If I had to choose between a good girl and a good payasam, I'll go for the latter. Unless the good girl can make good payasam...

PS2: And the friend, in spite of agreeing with my Mehendi post, had two big red circles on his hands. Traitor!


  1. This is the second time you've written about something before I could get to it. Thank you!!!! Having lived in Chennai for a year now, I can safely say, no pretty girls between the age of 18 and 24 live in Chennai unless they fall in to one of these categories.

    1) They belong to a super-upperclass closed social circle that can only be seen at Khadar Nawaz Khan Road, upscale fashion and dining launch events, and at private pool parties on ECR.

    2) They usually are escorted American witness-protection style by burly men (supposedly boyfriends and their friends) covering every possible line of sight (pardon the pun.)

    3) They are dropped off and picked up from college exactly on time to ensure that no one outside of their professors and those who share the first bench with them realize they exist.

    Outside of these groups, the best one can do is find a somewhat so-so looking girl, and chances are she has a boy friend, a backup and 3 super-backups already picked!

  2. @Idling
    Couldn't resist replying to your comment first. Awesome understanding of Chennai and how the opposite sex works here?
    I stay in Nanganallur and was good to see a few known names like Pazhavanthangal. :)
    I hate train journeys because of the only fact that I end up getting seat 72 tickets everytime I take one! :(

  3. I used to love Bombay Mail when I was a kid because of two nights in the train. Sleeper class has its own charms! Even as I write this I can still smell and taste the sukha bhel, lonavla chikki and the oil dripping cutlets... :-)

  4. @ Idling:
    whoa, that is some analysis... I was never a madras resident, so I haven't done such detailed research...

    all I wanted was some eye candy at a wedding...

    @ Chiju:
    yeah, i remember it partly bcoz the non-Tams guys really struggled to pronounce Pazhavanthangal :)
    and i guess they pack off the single guys at seat 72... so that we don't end up ogling the gals travelling with their families...

    @ Juggler:
    yeah, the best thing about sleeper class is the eatables... makes even the stinking loo seem ok!

  5. Anonymous1:18 PM

    ohh..I miss travelling by train..and eating everything they sell! :-/

    Just like you complain the pretty girls are missing.. I just cant find any decent, good-looking men wherever I go! :-|


  6. @ Anon SS:
    May be we are all suffering from over-expectationitis...