Some things in life are meant to be memorable. This trip to Chennai was one of those things…
As a freelance content writer, I get to do business with a variety of people from different parts of the country / world. This particular new assignment required me to visit my new clients at their offices in Chennai.
Well – for me, this was like a two-in-one pleasure trip – because the first pleasure here was the work that I was to understand, and the second pleasure was of course meeting up with PK.
Isn’t the Goddess great!!!
The flights to Chennai and back are scheduled in a very funny way – flights out of Pune to Chennai are all in the afternoon (around 4 ish or thereabouts) while the flights out of Chennai to Pune are all in the morning (around 10 ish or thereabouts). I had to be here for a day’s rounds of meetings with different people in the office, so I had to spend at least one complete day in Chennai.
Well, then I took myself to an office of a travel agent in Koregaon Park and booked the tickets – the girl there booked the tickets over the Internet. So all I got was a printout – apparently that’s how things are these days – you don’t see those nice little tickets that one was used to seeing!
Anyhow, the tickets in hand I went to the airport. Security requires me to not carry cigarette lighters, match boxes, scissors, and bombs with me on the plane. Well, so I figured that if I parked a cigarette lighter in my toilette case in the check-in baggage it wouldn’t be so much of a problem. Well, I was wrong. It got detected and then removed. The fella doing that was not a smoker. So I ended up telling him that he would never really understand the pain.
And the airlines give you a boarding pass. No flashy, nice ticket.
On the airport I met a nice, young lady who worked in Pune and was flying to Chennai for work. She kept me sane during the long wait. They ask you to come about an hour early so that you are through with the baggage security check, baggage check-in, then an interesting frisking session with a lady police officer who does your security check and then all you do is wait till your flight is announced. This girl talked to me off and on during the long wait.
Now I have vertigo. So on the way to the airport I had popped half a Vertin. Just before standing in line for boarding the plane, I popped the other half. The thing with this pill is you can’t really figure out if it’s starting to take any effect or not. So one just has to pop the pill and wait and pray.
So, aboard the nicely appointed plane of Spice Jet, I waited for the take off. As the plane taxied on the runway, I clutched the arm rest, closed my eyes and began chanting the Gayatri Mantra.
I felt the plane take off in the pit of my stomach. ‘That was pretty fast’, I say to myself and open one eye and then another. Blessed with a window seat, I peered out to see the city below and then I was just speechless with wonder.
The city looked so wonderful, and so pretty from up there….
Soon we began to fly through the clouds. WOW!! It felt as if I had begun to float on something wonderful and was being carried off to some mystical fairy land…
Then the plane climbed higher and we were flying above the cloud cover. Looking out the window, I saw the clouds below me – it looked like I was flying above a quilt of cotton wool…I could also see the curvature of the globe and the rays of the setting sun going through the clouds.
Can’t even begin to describe how pretty the sights looked!!!
Within an hour and half we were landing in Chennai. The landing was quite smooth. But then the pill had worn off quite a bit. Note for next time: Pop an entire Vertin just before the flight takes off and the effect lasts for about an hour.
Anyhow, landed in Chennai and collected my baggage. Then I went to the pre-paid taxi counter, paid and walked to a taxi. Got into the taxi and witnessed the Chennai peak hour traffic jam. Tried to speak to the taxi driver – who knew a smattering of English (Thank the Goddess!!) and told him to stop at the first shop he saw to buy a cigarette lighter. I do think that the poor fellow was shocked. But he didn’t show it. He did get me a good lighter though. Then I kept on asking him where we were and trying to pronounce the names right. I think he began to like me a little – by the time he dropped me off at the Hotel, he actually smiled at me and went off.
The Hotel was a nice place. Nothing too fancy, and nothing to down-market either. The first thing I did when I entered my room was check for an ashtray and finding none, I asked the stunned waiter to get me one. Poor things!
Chennai people are not used to women smoking. Period.
Then I got in touch with the company guy and we got together for a dinner briefing of the project. (Getting to work right away – don’t I sound like quite the hotshot businesswoman!!)
En-route to the restaurant we stood at the edge of the road trying to hail a rickshaw. A couple of the rickshaw guys waved at us indicating that they were not going where we wanted to go without knowing where we wanted to go in the first place!! Then we got a rickshaw guy who was willing to go, but not without some rather Tamilian haggling for the money he would take! Finally, my friend figured it out and we got into the rickshaw.
Then PK got off work and joined us as we were paying the bill at this nice restaurant. I asked my friend from Chennai to haggle with them before PK and I got into a rickshaw back to the Hotel.
Guess, rickshaw guys all over India are the same! This made me feel kinda right at home in Chennai. After all, no trip in a rickshaw is worth it’s weight in gold if one has not haggled well and so on….LOL
Spent some time with PK cuddling up and then went off to sleep – had to be fresh for all the negotiations etc tomorrow.
Today morning, I got up and got ready. Woke up PK in my usual screeching-accompanied-by-dire-consequences-fashion. Poor thing! I wonder why he loves me so!!
The idea of booking me into this Hotel was that the company was walking distance from the office. So PK and I descended to the Hotel Restaurant for breakfast. The Sambar in Chennai tastes so different compared to the Sambar we are used to having in Pune. Being a lover of South-Indian food, I was quite surprised to find that the South-Indian food in the south of India tastes a bit too bland than in Amche Pune….But I hogged nevertheless….
Then walked to the office. PK dropped me to there and went off to his house to freshen up and go to work.
I went up and the work began. Met a whole bunch of people from the company. They were all such nice people. The last meeting was with the Advocate (Lawyer) to go over my contract. Did some business-like haggling and stuff there. But ended up with a wonderful impression of the old Lawyer fella. Such an interesting personality – well…I wanted to ask him for his business card, but I refrained from it. Dunno why. He had been practicing law since 1959 – and he must have seen a whole lot of stuff change. I asked him and we ended up having a wonderful conversation.
Meetings and all over, I walked back home. Spoke to the nice fellow at reception and asked him to figure out a taxi for me from the Hotel to the airport. Called up PK and am obliged to wait for him to come here so that we can romance a bit.
Life is good, na…..