Chennai Express – Days 11 to 20

Fortunately for the good of the general public,I’ve been asked by my doctor to refrain from typing – something to do with RSI. So you shall not be bombarded with blog posts daily. I can already envision people dancing with joy.

The one thing I love about Chennai is the fact that the government has mandated the maximum rate of any movie ticket to be INR 120, immaterial of which show, which day. And why shouldn’t it be in a place where movie actors don a demi-godlike following.

A small example – there was this tamil movie that was released, I’m forgetting the name at the moment, but it was big. It was so big that Mayajaal, a local cineplex that has 16 screens, was playing that movie on all 16 screens. And guess when the first show started. Not 10 am, nor 9, nor 8, or for that matter neither 6. It started at 5.30 AM!! And it was housefull. 😐 People truly love their movies. All this while, I’m here sitting watching Jolly LLB, and I could write about the movie, but all I’ll say is that I like it. For more information, watch the movie πŸ˜‰

I’ve shifted to Aloft – and they take their tag of being the trendiest hotel seriously. Very seriously. I expected it to be good, but this was something that takes your breath away for a moment. I knew, that the journey that started with the flight full of male cabin crew, was taking a turn. *happy-dance*

The neon colored interiors in the elevators, to the multi-striped carpeting, to the design of the room, everything oozes style. A lot of the conventional crowd might complain, but not me. I even loved the F&B team donning nice blue and green polo tees and blue jeans. It made it feel more my age, than my dad’s. Disclaimer : My dad is a lot more cooler than me, age seems to have no effect on him 😐 – as told to me by my hostel mates.

After the movie, I had to visit one of my relatives at Kottivakkam, and it was lovely. I had home food, something we people, who stay away from home, miss a lot. And it was the first household that I’ve visited, that wasn’t related to IT. It was truly refreshing to talk about people about things that were not related to Technology. Seriously, there’s more to life than that. Note to self : remember this when you start a rant on technology next time. *phew*

Finally I visited a beach that was clean, well kept and had the crowd you expect on a beach. Perhaps it was because of the proximity to NIFT (its a college that teaches Fashion Technology – and transforms girls into… well, this is a public blog, so nevermind).

Chennai has a real estate boom, albeit perhaps a skewed one, because there was this one place where I saw an advertisement that was demanding Rs.10,000 per sq ft. Also, it was for sale only to “Vegetarian” people. I saw. I passed. I returned. I rubbed my eyes. I saw again. I reconfirmed with my Uncle (a Tambram). Yes, it was for sale to Vegetarians only. I was literally in disbelief – and you’d have seen my eyes widen in surprise, if only I wasn’t laughing so hard. Its a family thing, if I laugh, or for that matter even smile, my eyes slide shut. *damn genes*

On the following Sunday, I slept in late. Very late. Late enough to wake up and wish my mum good afternoon. Lazed around the entire day, watching a couple of movies on the television. Again, you really have to watch these Tamil movies, they’re so amazing, that even Newton would be forced to re-write physics – for more details, I’ll paste the letter to my dad, I wrote 2 and a half years ago.

Monday to Thursday just flew off in work. Holi was somewhere in the week, but I almost missed it till I saw bbm updates in the afternoon. I mean it was the first holi that I could wear a white shirt to office, walk 1.5kms, and still remain white. But then, the people here are accommodating. We didn’t have colors, but were awash in music. A mega mash up of Tamil,English,Hindi and Punjabi songs hit us in the evening, when our office people organized a DJ party for us. The tamil music is really mind blowing! Makes you realize why the first oscar for music in India came to this place.

One thing I like about Aloft, is their amazing spread (again, this is what separates the best from the rest). And, the staff, they’re just so courteous. They are almost telepathic. In a good hotel, you’re treated like a guest, in a great hotel you’re treated like THE guest. Way to go Aloft, next time I’m given a choice, I’m choosing you.

This brings us to Good Friday. Now I had to do something to celebrate it, as I missed the morning mass. So, I went for a late night movie. Tried to see GI Joe, but as it was housefull, settled for Himmatwala. I understood why Silk Smita must’ve been what she was, and the Dirty Picture’s storyline just got a little more real. Every move, every punch of Ajay Devgan was treated with a cheer, and Tammanah is truly world famous in Chennai. Every frame that she was captured in, was like Sachin reaching his two hundred in the ODI. You could actually see people dancing with the stars. And the atmosphere – it was more like a stadium, than a movie theatre, complete with a few honorary commentators.

I had thought that the problem would be coming back from the Cinema hall. It wasn’t. There were all these Autowallas standing, waiting for us, like guardian angels. Only these angels were known to charge the heaven and earth. Which surprisingly, they didn’t – never ceases to surprise you, this city. I remember in Pune, around 1AM, an autowalla asked a friend of mine for INR 800 for a distance of 1.3 Km. Here, in the shared auto, he asked for 20 apiece – that’s a total of 80 rupees, at 1 AM for 6Km. When we did reach, there was some argument, about the other guy paying only 30 for 2 people, while I awaited my turn to pay.

I remembered the law of the garbage truck. This was probably the last ride of the night for him, and he was heading home – and because someone paid him INR 10 less, he would be frustrated, and probably take it out on someone, and the chain continues. I paid him ten rupees extra – and the change in his attitude was worth every paisa (Indian version of the dime/cent). Probably those ten bucks won’t pinch me as much as the happiness it brought him. I sleep a happy man tonight, and the weekend, I’ll be writing all this down in my blog. Till next week, over and out from Chennai Express.


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