My Realm

Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Daaay... Mind it

Our product was being used by an esteemed customer in Chennai and they were facing some problems with the same. Our Sales and Support folks made sure they let us Engineers know the seriousness of the issue. Managers realized the seriousness and asked me to backpack to Chennai. I was apprehensive at first, somehow I never liked the prospect of visiting Chennai.

Its been over 8 years since I visited that part of India. The last time I did it was humid summer but yes did enjoy the visit- visiting relatives, the temples(there is something about visiting 'non-hyped' temples in the south), going around the city etc. but I hated the climate and since I hardly ever speak tamil -had a tough time communicating.

Despite my apprehension, managers and various colleagues managed to lure me to the prospect of the visit stating it would be a great learning curve and others chided me to other obvious know-hows. Well I had to and I did. Dad 'n Mom were elated -their Marathi tounged lad , MBCT (Marathi Born Confused Tamil), was actually traveling to Channai - ALONE!

Armed with a backpack, laptop, lots of sweat and nervousness I took the "Red" flight to Chennai. At first I did not have a clue as to how I was going to solve the customer issue, but had a few tricks in my bag -it was tough depending on those. We flew up above the clouds and back down black clouds as the captain announced "The temperature outside is 30 deg. Cel.". Old memories engulfed me -the humidity, the sweat and white folded veshtis and cycle rickshaws all around. The pink make-up and red lips shone "good bye sir.. have a nice day" as I stepped off the flight.

It was cloudy and not humid, it was warm. Sultan was my buddy cabbie -it took me the entire trip to realize, I actually was an executive! Chennai did not look like Madras, it looked very familiar, it looked very open very ... cosmopolitan. Lungis were replaced by jeans , TVS-50's were replaced by various 4-wheeled drives, little dusty roads were taken over by wonder-full black roads. Chennai looked different. Maybe I am wrong afterall...

The rest of the day was spent with me at the Customer site tackling the issue till late midnight. "Everyone" spoke tamil around me but "we" communicated in English. I understood every word being spoken, and really wanted to jump in with "aaman.. correcttee.. illai " etc., but decided not to -since that's the only tamil I am confident with. On the way back 2 of my colleagues -a tamil and a kerela born tamil- were surprised and floored to learn I was a tamil as well. MBCT- that hardly mattered anymore, it was the 'T' that made the difference :).

With a resolved case, I had the next day all to myself. Ajay was in Chennai- Kodambakkam. I liked the name, asked him to skip office. The ride went via many names, Neelambakkam, Ashok nagar and what not and also a short cut that took us via an army area and a village with a huge suclpture of a king (some deity maybe). Finally we were at Kodambakkam next to a girls college. I did spot old memories here -veshtis and TVS-50s.

Ajay has grown thinner, "Mujhe motta hona hai yaar, bachha hoga to utha kaise paunga .. wo laath marega mein peeche gir jaunga.. dhek mujhe mein office se college, college se school jane ke tayari mein huun:)". Yes we are happy close buddies, had a great time spicing up all sorts of things at his place. For lunch, he took us to a place I always loved for food in Chennai- Sarawanabhavan!

Sarwanabhavan, idlis dossas and loads of sambar and chutney start flying around my head. Sarwanabhavan, make me stand next to a foul garbage bin and I would still smile with the smell of fresh curries and rice dollops in my head. We took inner roads to get to Arkot Road.

I remember this place, I had been to this branch once- its much bigger now. I decided to buy some stuff from the outlet, Mysoor paak and nendranga chips. "Mysoor Paak irukkange?" I asked "Evloo?" she asked.. I got confused- I am bad at numbers in Tamil "kaal kilo" I blurted. Whats kaal kilo!!!? "Paal Mysoor Paakaa? .. Gheeaa?" she asked Ajay "Oye Vindy .. mennu bachao yaar .. gaali derahi hai mennu" reacted Ajay "Ghee Ghee" I intervened. (Kaal kilo is 250gms :) .. mom told me later)

After that, whatever it was- I was out with 2 packets, we had lunch. Decided on having Thaalis, they had many thaali options. I picked the costliest of the lot, Ajay took the next one. The plates were full- I mean they were roughly my forearms length in diameter and full of katooris. ~12 bigger ones took the outer diameter and 7-8 smaller ones covered the inner void - all were full of some curries or the other, many I recognized others I could relate to. Soup, One immeriti (Jangri in Tamil), 1 papad, 1 paratha (I ordered another) and a load full of rice! Ajay and me stared at each other and dug right in. In no time the handkerchiefs were out and we braved the battle. It was a fight to the finish before we ran bash to the wash basin content we were out of the sweet torture! Back at the table there was 1 banana and 1 paan an icecream for me. We forced the stuff down our throats and decided on taking a walk before actually getting back to the car.

Mom, Dad said they wanted some more stuff from the outlet. Bought those -spoke in English this time around. Back at Aj's room we had another great session Jumping and laughing for joy before I bid my farewell as I had a flight to catch.

The ride to the airport, made me wish I could stay longer and spend more time possibly roaming around the city and visiting relatives and also possibly pay a visit to some temple. Alas as the roads kept speeding back and the sign boards for International cargo and airport made their presence, I knew it was the time to say goodbye.

In flight a book that spoke of south cuisines and stuff interested me in particular- maybe its my recent stint at Chennai that got me all mushy about this :). Back in Pune, the cabbie asked me "Tumhche naav Marathi vatat nahi .. pan tumhi spashte marathi kase kay bolta ho??". So yes post trip I realized the MBCT I am -just that it introduced me to the 'T' factor.



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