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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The fun of travelling in Second Class

Train travel has always been a very exhilarating experience.

However over the years, it’s become boring mainly due to being caged in the Air conditioned compartments that give very little view of the outside world, sans the fresh air and the noisy surroundings. Travel time is spent mostly with books or sleep in state-owned rugs or the odd chat with the co-passenger.

A last minute trip gave me an opportunity to relive the growing up days. Call it ill luck or providence I was left with no choice but travel by Sleeper Class or Second Class as we always knew it.

From the moment I boarded the train, I never regretted having this chance of going Second Class, I felt earthly sitting in the train amidst the cackle of the vendors and the chatter of co passengers.

My daughter was mighty pleased with the view from the window, the refreshing breeze that cut the rocking and the crackling of the train.

The trees seemed to be disciplined in their line formation and were passing at intermittent intervals. The greenery was all encompassing.

I reveled silently in the verdancy and felt at peace gazing out of the window continuously. It was the perfect way to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of living in a choked metropolis.

The tranquility was amazing and it was intermission time with nightfall.

I woke up to the first ray of sunlight cutting through the glass window and soon continued to relish the chill in the air.

Couple of hours after dawn we reached our destination and the world soon turned concrete.


I am yearning for more of this pleasure which had nothing “second class” stamped on it.


An experience that surely reflects my way of life – Down to earth Simple…!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Nostalgic trip down memory lane...!

June 1990: I joined as a Medical representative and was posted in Chennai. My office was on the beach road behind Santhome Church and the work area was Purasawakkam, Doveton, Vepery, Vyasarpadi, MKB Nagar, Moolakadai, Kodingyur, Red Hills and Uthukottai.
Well, new to Chennai, it took me some days to get to know these places, then the people and their whims and fancies. I took a room - a single room accommodation - in what was touted as Bachelor's Paradise - Triplicane.

At 20 years, I learnt to live alone, commute on buses to office and place of work, every day eating at a new joint - breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Had quite a few friends - mostly Hindi speaking - common thread - Non Chennai Bachelors.

Apart from the weekend getaway to relatives' places in and around the far off Tambaram, my only other time pass was the beach, movies - mostly Tamil, the only Hindi movies I saw in Chennai then was Aashiqui & Naam, and the endless discovery of the lanes and by lanes of Chennai on foot.

Six months later I bid adieu to Chennai to be back permanently to Hyderabad - my home!

I carried many memories, the late night binges, the care free lifestyle, the solitary travels and travails, the road side eateries and the endless walking. I also found my caption for life during these days - An insurance company advertisement hoarding on Mount Road screamed "Life is Too Wonderful to be Spent Worrying"...! I captured that as my own for life...! Even today I believe in the borrowed adage.

18 years later: October 2008:
I am back in Chennai, for a holiday with my family. On a Sunday morning I take my cousin's bike on a drive through the lanes and by lanes of Triplicane, my room in Lal Begum street (incidentally I was one of the 1st residents of the then newly opened Mansion - see pic), the shop in Big street, the breakfast hotel on Pycrofts road, the lunch mess on Triplicane high road, the dinner joint (a small dhaba kind) on Bells road and of course to the home of a very old friend on Meeyan Sahib street. A really nostalgic trip down memory lane...!

Time flies, infrastructure develops, technology takes over, people grey...

What remain are the fond memories...!

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Chennai Diary

The Dasara Holidays for my daughter was the ideal vacation time for my family. Of all the exotic locations that I could think of, One name missing was Chennai. Well I ended up going to Chennai - more on a religious trip - rather.
Its been an exhilarating and enlightening trip, for I realised the Vaishnava in me.
Hectic - would be an understatement for the seven days passed off in a jiffy, criss crossing the city and its environs, catching up with relatives after almost a decade, and also a few friends after 18 years.

Fortunately I found the weather not too hot, sultry though. I liked the organised traffic in Chennai (surely something that's missing in Hyderabad). However the density of population leaves little to manouvre... Well I wasn't driving though.

I admired the Navaratri celebrations.. the Kolu, the fanfare, the shopping centres of Usman Road, T Nagar, Pondy Bazar... The unwavering autowallahs, the ever crowded city buses, the deft driving of the Taxis, the silent yet swift electric trains, the enchanting Marina beach, and the early to rise spirited Chennai-ites.

The highlight of the trip was the visit to Singa Perumal Koil near Chenglepet for the Samasrayanam. There is an excellent writeup and summary of Samasrayanam in this link: http://saranagathi.org/blogs/articles/samasrayanam/)

I found Chennai - A metro quite different from the other three big ones, one that is passionate about everything it does.
A salute to the Capital city... from a born tamilian who just spent six months here - almost two decades ago!

Back to Hyderabad - I feel the cooler weather - a home coming that's well - Home...! and that's where the heart is !!!