Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stormed and Drenched in Chennai/Madras

I don't exactly remember if I encountered rain in India during this whole journey. Not even a drizzle, I don't think so. But as my night train slides oh-so-leisurely into Chennai, the terrain has abruptly changed into water-logged plateaus, marshes and lakes of greeneries. In fact, the surrounding areas around Ennore Station were completely submerged underwater.

Cyclone Nisha had been bearing down on Chennai for the last 3 days or so. My bunkmate tapped my knees and said, "See the rain waters?" I nodded and glanced at the flooded lakes of vegetables.

So - storm was abrewing in South India as the rest of the country is reeling from the series of bombings in Mumbai, particularly in the Colaba area where I stayed just a few days ago. Terror,as it turns out, never sleeps, and I cringe at the kind of conscience that these idiotic, pea-brai
ned, soul-less gargoyles have.

I just stayed in my swanky hotel (Hotel Anitha Towers at the Triplicane area) the whole morning through, sleeping through lunch. By 2PM, I was refreshed and ready to go. The heavy rains have stopped.

The streets of Chennai (Madras) are dirty and unkempt. As I walked towards the Marina Beach,supposedly the world's 2nd longest beach (after Bangladesh's Cox's Bazaar), there was stink of human excreta filtering through the air. Sewage had been sucked out and all these drained openly into the streets.

I cringed!

In a matter of minutes, the view of Marina Beach welcomed me. There was a wide expanse of beige sands and interrupted dry islands that stretch lazily into the harsh waves. After all, there was still a cyclone. I loved the steady blow of fresh air against my hair. In 30 minutes, the drizzling turned into a downpour. I rushed towards the watershed along with the rest of the locals. I was drenched all over, as the draught spared no one, not even us who were under the shelter.

It must have been an hour before I finally decided to leave and get absolutely wet! Men draped in short "tapis" carried useless umbrellas. A motorcycle got hit by a delivery truck - then the latter hurriedly left while people gathered around to help the hurt driver. Meanwhile, the man in front of me was already throwing up. What the heck! That was my signal to go!

I love the rains, though it hinders mobility. The waters calm me. I am all drenched down to my shoes, but I feel rejuvenated. I hope Nisha behaves tomorrow. I need to go!


Just for clarification, travelling to India (and Malaysia and Bangladesh) isn't exactly a pauper's budget; not when you consider 6 plane rides, countless train journeys which are mostly A/C rides with meals (not 3rd class), and very comfortable A/C hotels. After more than a dozen cities, any birdbrain could calculate that this whole undertaking involves a sizable fortune, at least for the daily wage earners. And this I am writing not to brag but to rightfully inform the uninformed! Meanwhile, I'm off to the beach - now that sun shines - finally! - over Chennai!

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