Thursday, November 24, 2011


I wont claim that its been a long while since I have been hit by lightning. However, this one kind of stood out. After 2 frustrating days of waking up at 2;30AM because of jet lag, I was hoping to sleep straight until 5AM on the 3rd day. 3AM: The 'bladder full' sign starts flashing. I had to go. One thing about bathrooms in West Mambalam is that you are never alone. I had about 100 odd Dengue Lakshmis and Malaria Malathys for company. All I wanted to do was take the piss and get the hell out. Flush and twist the door handle. Nothing happens. This is usually when door opens and I run out to get inside my blanket to get that shut eye. Instead I found myself standing and staring at the inside of the bathroom door. I twist and turn that special korean door handle lock that my builder charged a zillion rubees to install. One hand is warding away Virus Visalakshi and the other desperately trying to open the door. Finally I give up and start banging the door. After about 5 minutes of banging - I hear my father's voice slowly seep in. "kadangaara, who asked you to lock the door?".

I wonder about that for a moment and continue banging. I really need to be out of that room soon. I feel a few more physical exertions and I will be fully awake. Then there is no hope of sleep. I was holding on to that rapidly evaporating 'sleep feeling' for dear life. 20 minutes later: I was sitting on the bathroom floor and swatting mosquitoes. Hoping the loud clapping sound will wake up someone downstairs. My father is trying to work the door with spanner and screwdriver yelling "This never happens to anybody. Only you, so much complications. All the time." 30 minutes later, watchman is called, then watchman's son arrives and asks "yen saar lock podreenga". Really, the only answer I have as to why I locked the door is "because it is there". Finally boy breaks the lock open and splits the door into two.

5:15 AM - I commence kshethradam with hope of first visiting Thiru 'which room' temple, then driving on to thiruvengadam, and then visiting kanchi Varadhu on the way back. My chitthappa is sitting next to me in the car and he has opinions on why amerikka returns are such slow drivers. "Viswaroopam at 6:30 AM. Veera Raghavan waits for no one. Rush rush," he whips me. In North Arcot road I feel poor pick up in the car. I would later be giving interviews to press saying "Naan appove lighta doubt aanen saar". The next time I felt the pick-up lag was when I crossed 'where jasmine resides' Valli. Then it was all fine until we entered the first destination of 'which room' place. We are 2 hours away from Madras. I cross a flyover and the car refuses to budge after that. Everything looks fine, but no matter what gear I put, I cant get off neutral. 30 minutes later, a half-asleep mechanic says "Clutch plate outtu saar. 1 week aagum replacement. Towu pannidunga.. back to madras". The previous day I had withdrawn Rs 15000 from ATM with the hope that I would limit the entire Madras trip within the 15K. Towing car back to Madras: 5K. Clutch plate 20K. New Car rental for remainder of trip: 5K.

After the car broke down and we were waiting for towing to arrive, we decided to visit the temple. Don't ask me why? - Due to variety of circumstances and as a result of multiple back and forth between car and temple - I was in a situation where I was near the car, attired in a panchagajam, angavasthram, no shirt (shirt in temple) and Rs 20 in hand (wallet in temple). I had to go back to temple and I was trying to figure out how to get to the temple with Rs 20. The car had stopped right in front of St Antony's church. As I was standing on the road trying to stop an auto, a brother from the church walked out and stood next to me trying to stop an auto as well. We nodded at each other expressing quick acknowledgement of each other's faith among other things. Non-share Autos in 3rd tier towns are also share autos. The Auto that stopped for us had a passenger inside. The driver agreed to take us to our respective destinations for Rs 10 each. And lo behold! the 3rd passenger was a Muslim Bai with skull cap and the works. So all 3 of us sat and drove. The Bai had to get down first. So the brother and I got down as well to to give way for the Bai to come out. As Karim Bai fiddled with his wallet to pay the driver - we stood the three of us - in panchagajam, white robe and lungi. A casual bystander must've thought we were rehearsing for a remake of a 1980s DD advertisement on religious unity.

Why This Kolaveri?


amas said...

Should have taken a picture of all of you(Amar,Akbar,Antony) in your mobile phone :-) I guess you are visiting Chennai after a long gap as you have mentioned that you were planning on limiting your expenses to 15K. Enjoyed your post as always! #Kolaveri song is finding many uses :-)

Venkat said...

superr.., this couldn't have been better if it was planned..

but one side kostein -

yen sir ?, Bangalore lendu Trichy ku 5 days temple hopping trip ke 25k ardu (with the benefit of a subsidised resort..), neenga entire India/TN trip 15k le epudi mudipingo?
kanaku sameya kicking..math le weaka?

Sachita said...

Sama siripu. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I assume none of you spoke during the ride? The auto driver should've been at least a little curious.

Rs. 15k for whole trip? You've lived for too long in a country with a very low inflation rate. :)


Anonymous said...

Oh, now i know your "oh my god" tweet. Justu miss.

enjoy your stay :)

Sarang said...

It happens only in India! Enjoyed the post. Hope the temple darshanam went well.

Sridhar said...

'which room' temple = thiruvallur?


Jasmine Vali = Poonamallee?

ttm said...

Tripped in after a while...

Bwahahaha...Auto driver atheist-a? He literally took all 3 of you for a ride!

Babs said...

machi 15k is kinda enuf for ur Gangotri budget..LOL....on chaat topic try Shree Mithai @ new extended Spencer side on 4th floor I was friggen awesome...almost all Gangotri has lost its quality

Hawkeye said...


15K was just entertainment expenses. With the assumption that train tickets was booked and other travel was in personal vehicle.

2 people ate in Kanchi saravana bhavan and bill was 520. Kinda of scary. Last 2 trips i have been eating in t. nagar gangotri near pazhamudhir solai because stella maris one is crowded. i will try sree mithai.

ate in sangeethas opp to our college. yes that hotel is called sangeethas now. serves the same fried rice though :-)

Babs said...

was called Sree Padmam then laa...ahaa that veg fried u have kindled my nostalgia nerve :)

I know as long as u stick to south indian meal then SB fine else except 500+ bill...anyways things to try while u there.

1) Choyil Sanjeevanam (Nungambakkam or Adayar branch).

2) Deccan Plaza veg buffet.

3) BBQ Nation (T.nagar).

4) Fusion 9 (9 cuisine in 1 kitchen) (mind blowing pizza) - Quality Inn Aruna, sterling rd.

5) Radisson Kabab Factory (equally good veg options).

6) Franki's paneer katti roll.

7) Mainland China (cenotaph rd)

8) Veg nation (not very consistent but Gobi Manchurian is insane) @ parsen complex buy Akiro Kurosawa's best dvd collection for Rs300 and dine in Veg nation :)

I hand picked as u only eat matter what make sure u try 1,2,4 & 7.

Ramanuja Dasan said...

Really enjoyed the amar,akbar,antony situation.. If that moment got captured in a photo, it'll be more fun :). I told the situation to Kayal and she was laughing like anything.. She will surely ask about it when we meet next time. Have a fun vacation. We like to hear more experiences :)

Thank you for sharing too.