Chennai Express – Days 3,4 and 5

Day 3

No complimentary breakfast today, so will have to make do with the Everyday milk powder and Nescafe coffee while I wait for my room-mate to get out of the shower. Its weird I believe, that 2 people who don’t know each other, are supposed to share rooms. And bathrooms. I mean it is like a forced arranged marriage. Only here you don’t have any honeymoons. And if some people do, then its behind closed doors. I doubt if there is any other scenario when you’d be sharing your room with a stranger (of the same gender), for a short time, without being in distress. Why can’t they just make smaller, single seater rooms? *sigh*

After a quick shower, I was off to my office (the problem though is staying dry – if you leave immediately after the shower, you start sweating like crazy). More of the same stuff in office (probably boring to my readers, but if there’s anyone who wants to know – I’m helping a team reduce the number of code defects and functional errors before going live).

Went for lunch and had things that I’ve probably never had before. The people I sat with didn’t know what its called in Hindi or English (so I couldn’t Bing – similar to google but better – what I was eating before I ate it), and I couldn’t either understand or remember their local names. But as always, the Sambhar and Rasam were amazing. Met the Juice counter guy – he was from the same state as me. He was so happy to see me that it isn’t funny. He gave me a free juice for talking to him in our local dialect. Poor guy. I feel bad for him. I should visit him more often. And drink free juices *evil smile*.

After a tiring day, I reached back to my room, and realized that there is a God who listens to us. Though my room-mate isn’t exactly sleeping under a mango tree, but he sure is going back to Bangalore for the weekend. And I have the entire room to myself. *dancing-in-happiness*

Day 4

It’s a sad sad day today. It’s 16th of March, and my li’l cousin Akash’s birthday. No it’s not sad because of that, it’s sad because I was supposed to be there, and I’m here in Chennai solving stupid defects (which I didn’t cause in the first place), while Jaskaran is working for the AVB concert in Mumbai. I was supposed to be an on-stage Crew too! I mean attending it is one thing, but organizing a gig as big as this is not only entertaining but a great learning as well. So while Akash and his friends attend AVB, where Jaskaran is sure to be sitting with Arnej and the rest of the artists, I’m sitting here in Chennai, sweating like crazy, because somehow the AC doesn’t seem to be working in my ODC. (I asked the guys, they said it was on. I went there, they said it was on. It was cold where they were sitting, while where I sat it felt like a sauna – hot and humid). Well, atleast I’ve got the entire room to myself tonight. *sigh*

In the evening I went out to take a walk. Sort of a long walk. A 9.4 Km walk to be exact. To the beach and back. Here’s a fun fact – Sun rises in the East. It sets in the West. Chennai’s beach faces the East. You don’t go to Chennai’s beaches for a sunset. You’ve got Goa for that. #StupidMe. Anyways, the water was very clean, and the beach extremely dirty. I mean this was one beach where you just can’t take off your shoes. People littering all over the place – plastic poly bags, cigarette buds, food packets, broken shoes and sandals, even small kids peeing on the beach – it was disgusting. If you look at the water from a distance, it is so blue that your heart skips a beat, and you run towards the beach, and then literally skid to a stop thanks to the sight. They’ve got a beautiful natural retreat, but the government and the people need to do a lot more to keep it. This is a new beach (Golden Beach or something), but then in a few years if things don’t change, the waters will turn grey like everywhere else.

One thing I realized is as soon as the people here think you’re a tourist, the entire perception changes. No Company ID hanging from my neck, and people are polite to me, and the rates that were shooting through the sky for the autos, come down drastically. For example, I wanted to goto a certain place that is 4.3 kms from my office, the autowalla asked for INR 200, whereas this gentleman on the beach – which by the way is farther down – asked for INR 60. Its amazing, how the people think that if we’re in IT then we’d be minting money. #StupidPerceptions

Also, I want to say I empathize with the girls who get stared at, or are checked out by guys. I truly understand how you can actually feel the eyes traveling over your body, scanning through, and that discomfort of being followed. The funny feeling in your stomach when you know someone’s looking at you and probably talking about you to their friends, but you are helpless and can’t do a thing other than walking away. And that laughing (giggling in this case), when you do. I can finally understand how that might feel, perhaps not completely, but atleast a bit.

What I like about Chennai is that people are God-Fearing. What that translates to in real-life is that a basketball can lie in the basketball court, and you know no one will take it home. Tennis rackets are lined up near the tennis court, with balls not locked, but none of them are ever missing. Same hold true for TT bats, Badminton rackets and Footballs. I mean, if this were to happened anywhere else, they would probably go missing in a day, and be utilized for the party that night.

People in Chennai are very punctual. Or so it seems atleast in the cafeteria. It is a 24×7 cafe, but works only on set timings. Unlike Pune or Bangalore or Hyderabad, where I could get vada pav or Dosa or Biryani respectively at any time of the day, here I can have idli only at set timings.Unfortunately, working for so many timezones – Australia, Singapore, India, Zurich, London, NewYork, LA – have all taken a toll on my body clock. It now doesn’t know when to feel hungry! It just feels hungry whenever it wishes to #StupidBody. So I had to make do with lime juice. 8 glasses of them. A guy sitting next to me saw my plight and probably overheard “Kuch Nahi Milta” during my phone conversation. He gave me a number and in his broken Tamil-English, (and my broken English-Tamil) told me (or I understood) that there’s this particular guy who would deliver to the campus. I was so bloody happy because I would have to wait for 7 more hours to eat in the cafe. Turns out, after a pretty long phone conversation, that I had to wait for 7 more hours. I dialled the number, and a guy picked up. He also offered me a wide gamut of choices and they were not non-vegetarian. But, turns out they weren’t vegetarian either. They were actually not food at all. All he delivers 24×7 is alcohol. Wherever you want, whenever you want – for the MRP plus INR 100 for delivery. And for an extra 50 bucks he would send over Vodka in sealed Bisleri Bottles. Amazing. I mean now I have an Alcohol Guy, but still no food.

 

Day 5

Day 5 has been spent in the room. As I just got up at 4 PM, was watching United’s match last night. And the rest of this boring Sunday would be spent in giving ILP – a test that we have to give to prove that we know what we are supposed to know (Seriously, you can’t make it out from our work? Also, what if I top this exam and goof up my work, and deliver a code with a thousand defects – would that mean I’m intelligent or I’m a dud? ). Stupid policies to make life miserable for us. I mean the policies that they make up are totally irrelevant to real life scenarios.  But then that would take a complete post (or maybe a series of posts) to itself – and I haven’t resigned (as yet). What was that about Brutus being an honorable man? – Oh yeah, these policies are stupid, and they make us cry, but then my friends, these people are honorable men (and stupidly theoretical and idealistic).

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