Chennai Express – Day 1

Monday morning I got a call. My resource manager was on the line. He said those four words which almost every IT engineer in India dreads – “Relocating you to Chennai”. You can almost hear the drumroll in the background, and the camera panning in and out of your face again and again, like the saas-bahu serials that our channels run.

I gulped in, and said – “Mari, is it necessary?”. He then explained to me that it was, and was pretty much a hobson’s choice. I asked him when should I travel, he said “Tonight”. I tried to reason with him, and after my efforts when he said “Tomorrow”, it felt like I had won the first battle of Panipat.

I told my friends. I told my family. I understood my friends love me more. My friends were treating me with a sympathy that I’ve never experienced. I mean, I have had my fair share of accidents and illnesses – ranging from normal cold to infectious mono, but never in my life have I seen them treat me like this. It was almost like I’ve got Aids and Cancer at the same time. And renal failiure. And perhaps a couple of more tragedies if you’d like. You could hear the sheer pity in their voices. Some coaxing me that it’ll be ok. The others asking me if I could resign and they would help me buyout my notice period.

My family on the other hand, the ladies in particular, were so excited that I could get them Sarees for cheap. Not understanding the trauma of the situation (I guess there was some, going by the reactions of my friends), all I could hear them say was “Kanjivaram” and “Silk”. I was also told that one weekend I could goto Kanchipuram, because that’s where the sarees are made. Seriously? The other family members, were busy chalking up plans to send me to Rameshwaram which is close by (Update: it is 650 kms!!).

All said and done, I wanted to know how true the perceptions of the people are about chennai, so I traveled (foregoing the opportunity to buyout my notice period). Not that I had a lot of choice there.

There were already signs by The Almighty, when 4 stewards boarded my aircraft, and there was no female Cabin Crew. This was going to be one long journey. *sigh*.

I landed, and was blown away by the sheer size of the infrastructure. I mean, after the T3 airport terminal in Delhi, this has to be the biggest that I’ve seen. And the roads, oh my God! They were smooth as butter. I have seen flyovers, but never a flyover like the one in Chennai, where there’s a crossing below and a crossing above. The infra truly is marvelous, and despite the humidity and the heat, I felt drawn to this city.
I don’t know whether it was the amount of money I shelled out for the taxi, or is it the inherent nature, but the escort (yes, you get an escort to your taxi from the Airport to the parking), and the driver were extremely courteous. So was the staff at the reception of the Guest House.

Next morning, due to some policy complications ( don’t even ask), the guest house people said they couldn’t accommodate me for more than a day, as they didn’t receive a particular “letter”. I asked the head office, as to why wasn’t it sent, they said because of the duration of my trip, it can’t be generated. It was only after a couple of hundred phone calls later, that I was ceremoniously kicked out off the guest house for tonight, to be accomodated in Fortune Select Palms. Tomorrow, I have to go back to the guest house, so I might as well enjoy the extra fluffy bed, and the complimentary teas and coffees while I can 😉

All this while, I’m still clueless as to what was I supposed to fix. I had gone to my office, but then found everyone busy on calls. I too was trying to fix a roof on my head for tonight. During lunch hour, I went out, and found that our chennai campus is truly huge – amazing to roam around on a good weather day. Oh wait, did I just say good weather? I’m sorry. So, thanks to the weather, what should be a nice long walk, turns into a damn long walk. Also, as a part of my #ChennaiMythOrReality and #ChennaiTips, I posted that you should try and eat whatever is available here – because the Dosas and Idlis are mouthwateringly good. And the Sambhar, in the name of God! It is THE SAMBHAR. #EatItToBelieveIt

For some reason the normal 3g plan on Airtel is not working (neither in my z10 or on my iPhone), and same is the case of my 3G dongle. Thanks to my trusty bold 9900 and BIS, I’m able to share this with you guys :p

Got a hectic day tomorrow – have to shift from the hotel to my guesthouse, so I’ll call it a night. After all, I’ve got Fortune’s brilliant spread of Complimentary Breakfast waiting.


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