January 23, 2005

A break at last!

I was getting bored with the routine schedule and needed a definite break from it. So, we planned to go to Chennai (it is the nearest city to our place) on Saturday. We started quite enthusiastically in the morning at 8:00a.m. We went to the bus terminus and got into one of the Tirupati-Chennai buses. Though it was a long journey of 4 hrs, we managed to overcome our boredom by talking about a variety of issues from promotions to politics, puzzles to perplexing problems, etc.

At 9:00 am, we had a halt at one of the on-way dhabas. We gulped down a banana each and munched on the chips we bought. My father ended up arguing about the unhealthy profit margin the shopkeeper was making (Almost 40% extra on the MRP, which was too much!). In the end, we had to give in as we were on the receiving side. We reached Chennai at about 12:05p.m. We got down from the bus at a place called Guindy, the first halt in Chennai. The first problem we faced was with the auto-rickshaw drivers. They won’t leave you until you get seated in their vehicles at a price demanded by them. But, somehow we managed to escape from them. Then, we looked for someone with whom we can converse in English. The second and the most annoying was the language problem. Very few knew Hindi and English and we did not know Tamil.

We walked a long way from Guindy till we came across a hotel at 12:40 p.m. We had a hearty lunch and an ice-cream to top it all. We, then, headed towards the nearest bus-stop at 1:40 p.m. and made further enquiry in whatever way we could. From there we went to Triplicane and then to Mount road, Anna Salai. We spent three hours at the book shops, one of them being
Higginbotham’s, the biggest in Chennai. I bought four books at a very cheap price. My bargaining skills came handy at that time.

At 5:00 p.m., we went into one of the biggest shopping malls in South India-the Spencer Plaza. We hired an auto-rickshaw at 6:15 p.m. and went to the Central railway station. We preferred a train to bus because we were told a train would reach early. Also, the bus terminus (for the uninitiated, the Chennai bus terminus is supposed to be the biggest in Asia) was far away from the plaza when compared to the railway station. At 7:00 p.m., we ate food and bought two tickets to Tirupati. I heard the signal at 7:15p.m. I saw the train go past the platform and watched the buildings, hotels, trees, vehicles and people left behind as the train gained speed. I felt the cool air and breathed heavily. I opened one of the books I bought to read and whispered to myself- Bye, bye Chennai.

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