Travel Episodes: Revisiting Chennai

March 03, 2007

It was quite late at night, when I stepped out from the Meenambakkam airport to be greeted by a swarm of autowallahs pushing against themselves in search of, possibly, their last customer of the night, and a sudden smack of gripping heat that slapped against my face. The latter reinstating the arrival of Chennai city.

Chennai has never disappointed me. Be it the young girls adorned with jasmine flowers, or the rushing office goers commuting on the footboard of dusty green buses, the autowallahs who never switch their meter on but nevertheless always have one, the ecstatic and aromatic beaches, the erstwhile conservative outlooks that some say is changing of late – albeit slower than the snail next door, the Central Station that still radiates the nostalgic remains of the past, the gripping sticky sweaty heat that is sure to engulf you like you are out of a steam sauna.

More so, when you are just coming from a bone numbing cold weather of -24 degree Celsius in Columbus. It was only over 48 hours ago, that I was wrapping myself in multiple layers of woollen clothing over a thermal wear and topping it all with heavy jacket – all to counter the heavy snowfall and the cold wind that cut across the face. And here I was, wearing the thinnest possible tee and a jean, and already wiping the sweat off my face, becoming more restless by the minute to seek refuge in the guest house.

Thirty minutes later, I checked into the guest house where I would be spending the next few weeks. The AC in the guest house was, ironically, warming. A much needed relief from the sultry outside weather, even at that time of the night. After spending the past few months warming our Columbus apartment to over thirty degree Celsius, it now seemed time to cool down, as I set the temperature to 18 degrees. Brick walls and carpet-less floors made sure the cold permeated all over the place unlike the wooden homes of the colder hemisphere that restrict the movement of cold.

Now that I am in Chennai, there are a few things I should keep in mind. Like, I’ll have to endure the 1.5 hour journey to my workplace (where, my mobile often slips into roaming automatically for god knows why) from the guest house, if I miss the morning bus I could only hope to make it to work in time for lunch, there will not be any high-speed wireless connectivity which was my lifeline in Columbus. And the foremost being – never sit next to a woman in the city’s buses. Because, in this city, you are not allowed to.

This begins the last leg of my travel episodes which began last September – in this very city. As they say, what goes around comes around.

Kishore is a techie based in Bangalore. When he's not writing software, he spends his time writing himself out trying to understand the perfection of reality. Read his musings over life, nature, music and the art of living at Dayswork.
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March 4, 2007
06:30 AM

a link to ur older travel articles in the comments section might help. otherwise it is pretty neat. there is a bit of confusion over the use of the word latter in the lead. sorry, sub's dilemma.

March 7, 2007
07:38 PM

Very nice - reminds me of stepping out of Customs last June into the humidity of Chennai, and my friend Manoj watching me wipe the persperation off my face at 2 in the morning and saying, "Oh, Peter, you will never survive the heat here." I did, and I'm happy that it is a good memory.

Good luck to you!

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