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… goes hand-in-hand.

A quick phone call to Mia in the afternoon and she gets me tickets for the IPL matches in Chennai. I was hoping for normal stands but the it turned out to be a pavilion. In the row beside us was Vijay. In the AC cabin behind us was our CM.

The flavour of Twenty20 is still fresh and is keeping the crowd in high spirits all through the four hours of the game. The essence of cricket has been retained but a lot of cinema has been added to make the IPL taste splendid.

What could be a better way than to start the evening at Chepauk with Hariharan and Sivamani rocking the stands with their music. Soon the Chennai Super Kings brand ambassador Vijay joins in and makes a walk around the ground. The crowd erupted in joy. Vijay came up to the pavilion and the crowd ran to him for autographs. Mia and me rushed up to him like we’ve never met him in our lives, to get a closer look of the actor. No matter how much ever we meet them in person, the joy of rushing up to a star, fighting the way through the crowd has to be experienced.

And after a very quick two hours of music, cinema gave way to cricket. The Mexican wave by the crowd was a perfect sync. No one new anyone in the 40,000+ crowd but everyone joined together for a Mexican wave all around the stadium. The match rocked till the very last ball.

Everytime a Chennai team scored, there was a Rajini / Vijay / Ajith / Vikram number played and for Mumbai there was Hrithik’s numbers. Very bad DJ btw, no fade in, no fade out. It was like listenting to ear drum tearing music in Amman temple.

Keeping spirits high even after 4 whole hours of cheering. Wondering why Mia alone isn’t sweating? She has a ‘do-it-yourself in 1 minute’ make up kit. Even before I switched on the cam and gave it to the chick sitting in front of us to click a pic, Mia was ready 🙂

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Déjà vu

A couple of days back I was watching Panchathanthiram on KTV. In fact this was the first movie I started watching as a college fresher. All of a sudden when the four guys in the movie decide to go to B’lore, each one comes up with a reason to get a permission from the mistress of the house. There was a severe sense of déjà vu at that moment. Many a times have I done the same thing to run out of the city for a break.
It was just a couple of days before watching this movie I came up with an excuse to go to Pondy.
Damn, I’ll have to reduce the number of trips.

This pic below is one of my favourite pics from this trip. The exposuse compensation might not be great (its mobile phone’s camera) but the framing definitely is. The sea shore is on my back and I am on a staircase leading to nowhere in the middle of the sea.

The other one was from a church near the beach. Architecture never ceases to amaze me. Even in my Vis Comm days I was so much into construction and architecture, I used to draw my own designs even on the examination question papers after finishing the exams. The invigilators always hated the Vis Commites and would pounce on any opportunity to get on our nerves. But anyway, this church was a well maintained one but not an ancient one. But still, its a piece of art.

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The Pondy quicky!

Pondycherry is such a good stress buster. Not that I’am stressed at the moment but the place just clears the mind and makes it fresh for the months to come. After a rare wake up by 5 in the morning, we managed to start in time, late by just 30 mins which is totally acceptable. Arun picked Ashwin and Sushma and made it to my place and we were soon out in the high ways.

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My college days have always been at campuses away from the city. My under grad days were spent at SRM in Kattankulathur and post grad was at MCC in Tambaram. The Beach to Tambaram electric train was our easy means of travel in my post grad days. After the college gets over at 6.15pm we move our lazy asses out of campus by another 20 mins and after a quick stop at the road side shop we would be at the Tambaram Station. Tambaram is one of the busiest areas and it could be called the capital of sub-urban Chennai. Tambaram station is known for its pocket pickers and ticket less travelers and security was therefore at its peak.

Our police story happened on one such busy day.

If I remember right that evening we were coming after some celebration in our department and we were munching the Kurkure which we managed to flick. There was a TTE checking tickets of everyone in the main line train platform and he was easily recognizable with his uniform. We promptly showed our train passes to the TTE. All perfect.

Then the TTE went to Fenn and that was the time Fenn was learning to speak back and also wear an attitude that misfits him.

TTE: Tickets ?
Fenn: You ?

This word from Fenn was least expected and made us turn back and concentrate on their conversations

TTE: I am the TTE (the TTE was damn pissed and I bet no one would have ever put a question like that in his entire life)
Fenn: Can I see your identity card?

We were in splits. Krishna, Anand, Pradeep and I couldn’t control the laughter. But the TTE promptly showed his ID card and asked Fenn for his ticket with a lets settle our scores now look. Fenn showed his train pass like he was flashing an FBI ID card.

The TTE pulled the pass and found that the mandatory passenger signature was missing. That was not a serious fault and he could have let Fenn go but the TTE wanted to score this time.

TTE: There is no signature, come with me
Fenn:
But …

The TTE just walked him to his cabin and called a couple of the Railway Police guys. The railway Police guys were some North Indians and Fenn understood not even a word the TTE spoke in Hindi with the RPF guys.

We guys then followed them to the cabin and called for a Panchayat. Deepa’s dad was with the Railways and she called up her dad but the TTE refused to speak to him and put the phone down. Damn it.

Our second option was Rachel she was freelancing with the Indian Express then and we brought her in to speak for us, we thought her press reporter status might help. Damn it, no use. The TTE was not going to budge.

In a way we were enjoying the act and looking at Fenn’s face as he was thinking fast for an excuse had us in splits. But then we had to go home so Krishna and I went up to the TTE.

Krishna: Sorry sir, extremely sorry.
TTE: Sorry? For all that he spoke, I’ll show who I’am …
Me: Right sir but you know what he is in a depression
Krishna: He was in a boys college for three years which got him psychologically disturbed

Fenn took the cue from Krishna and interrupted

Fenn: When I was in Loyola I was intercepted by a fake TTE who took away my three sovereign chain, will you take responsibility for that ? (that was a big time lie and Fenn had never been in an electric train till he joined MCC and the TTE too did not believe what he said)
Krishna: Did you hear that, he is like that sir, so please …
Me: Yes sir … He is actually a good guy and now if you file an FIR on him, it would damage his life
TTE: Thambi, I never said I’am going to file an FIR …
Me: No sir, just a precaution …
Krishna: Please sir, this wont happen again, I guarantee …
TTE: Okay, okay take him away …

We had one unopened Kurkure packet and as a token of affection I offered it to the TTE but he refused to take it. So after a mandatory thanking session by each and everyone of us to the TTE we left with another story to keep the classroom laughing the next day. Fenn spoke not a single Tamil word during the entire conversation and was living in the airs of a Briton, which made the TTE feel a hot rod up his ass. The day showed us some good fun which we would remember for a long time.

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Pondiyil oru mazhaikaalam

Absolutely cool climate. If Chennai was so good, then imagine Pondy. No, this trip was not all about the usual booze stop, we wanted some adventure. After deciding with friends, I called up home. My mom was definitely not going to let me go just because its been just 6 weeks since I last went there and it was raining cats and dogs. So I informed home that I am heading to Krishna’s place at Anna Nagar after work and will turn up tomorrow.

Ashwin, Arun, Aparna, Kavitha and Anu were the gang this time. Mani who was to join us decided to go meet some Chinese chick instead. Ashwin had watched Wild Hogs and wanted to take a bike at any cost. But the last minute he sodhapified but that proved good. Had we taken the bikes, the rains on Sunday would have had us taking shelter all day in some shack on ECR.

All went well on Saturday, after a half day at office, I headed straight to Aparna’s place and parked my bike. Kavitha joined us and we headed straight to Ashwin’s place. Arun was already there. A five minutes stop at his place and we were at the bus stand. We got an ECR Pondy bus in minutes and the entire last row was ours. Anu got in at Thiruvanmiyur. It started raining. The climate was at its best. We were determined to enjoy the best weekend in our lives. And in the next three hours we were at Pondy.

There was an excellent restaurant called La Terrace. Superb interiors. Superb colors. This restaurant was in the French side of Pondy away from the bus stand and close to the beach. There was a superbly decorated hotel close by to the beach. We found a couple of descent rooms and Ashwin and I went off for the booze hunt. Fcuk ! Was it Pondy ? No shop in the vicinity. We walked for a couple of kilometers and found a wholesale shop and as usual the wholesale shop was costly but we got some beer, rum and vodka and after the side dish hunt started walking back. It started raining. Awesome. We opened up the beers on the way and finished it even before we reached the hotel.

After a quick bath we started with the ceremony. Flat. Ashwin and I were equally drunk and Arun was the only sober guy in the room. We picked up a fight on the number of Saturn present in the galaxy.

Ashwin: Machan, do you see the Saturn.

Me: Ya da, Saturn are twins.

Ashwin: What the fcuk ?

Me: Fcuk you. Go learn numbers. There are two Saturns. I can see them.

The sober Arun had the entire conversation recorded and thats when Ashwin and I knew what we spoke.

There were lot more short fights on the sun, star, stethoscope and the list goes on.

The next morning we woke up with a splitting headache and a hot tea in a shop near the beach got us back to form. The best thing about Pondy this time was the constant rain but it was not a drizzle neither a downpour. It was like a perfect shower. Infact it created the mood the song Munbe vaa in Jillunu oru kadhal creates.

Arun’s friend Rakesh (the guy in the orange tee) came over to meet us. Rakesh stays at the Auroville and thanks to him we got to see around the Auroville on a Sunday. Even the closed Matri Mandir opened up. Check out the snap below. This was the climate all day in Pondy.

Matri Mandir

I called up home to inform that I’ll finish lunch at Krishna’s place and come home by evening. After a quick lunch in some big time AC hotel we had a bill of just 300 bucks for seven people. We went back to the rooms. The rains intensified. We packed the bags and checked out only to walk in the rain searching for an auto. Awesome. Its simply awesome to walk in the rains in Pondy.


Thats us: Anu, Arun, Ashwin, Rakesh, Kavitha, Me and Aparna 

This time again we got a bus back to Chennai in a jiffy and the drive was super fun. Time just flew. The rains became heavy when we neared Chennai. Thats when I got a call from home asking me to stay back at Krishna’s place because the rain was heavy. My plans were completely misfired. I had to convince that the rain was pretty okay and I want to be back home at any cost.

Four of us except Ashwin and Arun got down at Thiruvanmiyur. No auto driver stopped. The good old MTC picked us up. Anu and Kavitha coaxed the driver to stop near their place in Mandaveli while Aparna and me planned to get down at Mylapore Tank and take an auto and luck be it a tree fell at Mylapore and the buses were diverted in the windy rain. The bus went right in front of Aparna’s place. The conductor was good enough to stop the bus for us. Got down. Took my bike and reached home. While taking my bike, I put my mobile in my backpack and kept it on the petrol tank while driving home. The heavy rains killed my mobile. 😦 Right from start, things went on well. Not always luck is on one’s side for everything to fall in place during a trip. Except the joy of riding a bike all the way to Pondy, and losing a mobile, this trip was super good.

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Moving ahead …

The phone rings.

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