Friday, December 18, 2015

Chennai Stopover - Beaches, Motels, Rajnikanth and Street Shopping

I have just spent at week at the Sadhana Forest (volunteer community) in Auroville. I now have to leave. I have a 3 hour morning bus ride from Pondicherry to Chennai. I ask one of the volunteers going into the city, to drop me off at the highway. I then jump into a bus, heading towards Pondicherry at the Toll Gate. I get down at the bus station in Pondicherry, and then purchase a ticket on the next bus to Chennai. I had a train from Chennai to Kolkata in two days time. I had a day to spare and decided to spend it exploring some parts of Chennai. When I reach Chennai, the first thing I need to do is to find a room, to keep my luggage in. So I walk towards some hotels near my bus station. 

How to choose the right motel?
The first motel, I checked, had all the basic necessities. It had a bed, table, T.V and bathroom. I see a bunch of cockroaches under the bed and the paint chipping of one corner wall. I walk into the motel next door, and this has all the basic necessities minus the cockroaches and chipped walls. I hire the room for the night, freshen up and then walk out to explore the city. I carry only my purse and wallet and they fit easily into pant pockets. It is so nice, to not have to carry, a heavy bag around with you. I've had enough of luggage carrying for a month.

The closest station is at a walking distance from my hotel. It reminds me of Mumbai, only it is not so crowded, and you get clean drinking water. They have these water purifier come coolers placed at the station entrance. You can refill a one liter bottle for Rs 5. This is great news. I fill my bottle to the brim. So much better than buying five bottles everyday for Rs 20 each. Marina Beach, is just across the road, at the train station I get down at. I decide to walk to the starting point, of the beach. I planned to walk the whole stretch of it, over this beautiful summer evening. Food stalls selling ice creams, cold drinks, and other snacks are spread out across the beach. It is a weekend, so the beach is crowded. Families, young couples, little children, senior citizens, are seen walking around the beach.

I see some cardboard cutouts, in one corner of the beach and walk towards them. On coming closer, I find out that they are standing cutouts, of some popular film stars. Rajnikanth, Mohanlal, Vijay are among them. There is a photographer, that is shouting out to all the beach -goers.

'Come and click a picture with your favorite superstar.'

I stand and observe for a while. I then walk towards the shore after removing my sandals. A school teacher, tries to manage a group of school students, that are welcoming the waves, in their uniforms. They seem to be having so much fun. I sit down, a dead fish, gives me company, a few meters away.

I am dehydrated, as I leave the beach. Fortunately I walk into a juice stall, as I exit the beach. It is not really a fresh juice juice stall. It is more like a packet processed juice stall. But anything will do at this point of time. I buy three packets of berry juice. I then sit down at the bus station seat and observe Chennai's night traffic. I stop at a video shop and buy myself an indian movie. I pack up some dinner from a restaurant too. I then go to my room and spend the night, with a packet of Chennai street food and a three hour long bollywood film.


1 comment:

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