November 12, 2011

Mad - Rush...!!

I would love to rename Chennai as Mad-Rush for the sheer fun, excitement and adventures that I experienced during my 18 hours stay in this wonderful metropolitan city. My previous two visits did not give any opportunity to explore the city and neither did this one. However I was made to explore the city even though I had no intention of doing it.

On a rainy Saturday morning as I drove from Bangalore to Chennai, the weather gods were kind enough to turn the rain drops into sun rays. However as soon as I entered the city, the fun began as I missed out on many sign boards and happily took all possible wrong flyovers. After manoeuvring through the traffic and taking U -turn in the belief that I have got on to the right track, I happily went in the opposite direction towards Anna Nagar. That was indeed an achievement. After inquiring with a couple of  people on the road, I got back on the right road only to take the wrong turn on top of another flyover. More traffic, more U-turns, more signals and with a lot of difficulty I end up at my destination, Chromepet after one and half hours of struggle in Chennai city. I had to travel in the evening to Kilpauk and with the north-east rains taking over the city, I didnt want to experiment further with a drive through Chennai.The next best option available was the local train from Chromepet to Chetpet. My only previous experience of travelling in local train was in Mumbai, 3 years back. Having booked a first class ticket, I had to run and search for the compartment. As soon as i figured it out, the train left. I even had a second thought of jumping and clinging on to the rods, but decided against it. It would have been fatal had I done it. Another train arrived within a few minutes and this time I hopped on with a perfect timing. The compartment was half empty being a weekend and also due to the fact that it was a first class one (I really couldn't make out the difference between a first class and general compartment). The train also stopped a few times as the tracks were submerged in rain water. It was raining heavily as I got down at Chetpet. To my misery there was no power in the station. Staring at darkness and brushing past strangers on the platform I headed towards the exit, drenched in the rain. Heavy rains had flooded many roads in Chennai and the road that the exit led to was not spared. I had to wade through the muddy waters in the rain to get an auto-rickshaw. Then it was a 15 minute ride through the water logged streets of Chennai. That was fun. I dindnt want to take a risk of going back by local train as it was still raining heavily and chances were that the services might be stopped in between. So got back to Chromepet in a call-taxi after waiting for more than an hour. Even though it had rained the whole night, I never thought that my drive next day from Chennai to Cochin in the early hours of morning would be a tough affair. With the roads still flooded and traffic jams adding to the chaos at 6 a.m., it definitely wasn't a smooth drive through the city. It felt as though I was sitting inside a boat and travelling in knots. The only song on my lips at that point was- Row row row your car gently down the streets...!! :). Without knowing where the ditches and gutters were I slowly drove the vehicle only to see another vehicle go down into one of the ditches. The last that I saw of it was its back wheels spinning and splashing water all over. Felt really sorry for that guy. To add more misery, one of the transport buses had broke down right in front of Coyembedu bus stand craeting more confusion and more traffic jams. After an hour of sailing through the waters I got back on to tarmac and the frustration of having stuck in traffic for long had after effects. One more wrong road taken and the only expression that I had was- "What the hell?". However that was the last of my adventures in Chennai as I got back on the right road to Cochin very soon.

That was indeed one of the exceptional travels I have had in my life. Even though it was devoid of destinations, sight seeings and arrivals, I did experience Chennai in a very unusual way. Sometimes its these kind of journeys that remain etched in memories for ever. 

Signing Note- It is the  journey and not the destination that matters...!!


  1. I cried when I landed in Chennai leaving Bangalore but slowly discovered the place....ul think people are very rude but thats their way of talking :) stayed at the cultural centre of Chennai on Kalakshetra road......east coast road next door...we would go off on long drives to a new place on weekends.....if nowhere to go the long stretch of beaches from Besant nagar to Neelankarai.....Chennai though being a metro still has the old world charm....worked at the most beautiful school :) would wait for rains...cyclone very interesting things happen...schools close...strong winds...roofs come flying past :)people disappear into open manholes while walking.... loved the holiday drives to Bangalore would start early in the morning and reach for breakfast or plan for a Woodys breakfast after nine years cried to leave that much more to see :)
    ur write up brought bac memories :)gud one :)

  2. Thanks Shylaja. I would love to live in that city someday. Btw, have you moved to Chennai?

  3. I also experienced the same when i was in chennai few days back. Since I was in call taxi I din't had to face much trouble. It was raining heavy and actually I was enjoying the flooded roads from central to mahendra city early morning.

  4. Looks like you had a harrowing experience. Chennai isn't all that bad you know :)

  5. Yes, it was tough, but i loved it. :)

  6. You were in Chennai?
    You were in Chetpet?Should have given me a buzz, i live in that area!! :)

  7. Was in Chennai only for a day. Shall definitely call you next time am in Chennai.

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