Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Ek Chennai ko dekha tho aisa laga...

The heat hit me on the face as soon as I was out of my 2nd AC Compartment. Didn't need any more proof at all that I was in Chennai ;-) I haven't been to Chennai for years. I don't even remember when I went last. This 1-day trip was not a vacation but was due to the fact that I need a visa to join my Sri and the only way to get it was to attack the US consulate in Chennai ;-)

The first thing I noticed about the city was obviously the heat. But the heat I'm used to, as a native of Udupi. The sun there I feel is hotter :-D But the weather sure was sultry. The other thing which I noticed (had to!!) and which bothered me was the smell. The smell was definitely not the like-able sort, but it wasn't the I-have-to-hold-my-nose kind either. This smell lingered in most of the roads there. Most of the roads were unclean too, but I guess that's a standard thing everywhere in India. No point in complaining about that :-D The thing that stuck me the most was the lack of bright faces. The crowds of people everywhere looked tired, most of them looked like the why-are-we-alive kinds, or I'm-too-bogged-down-by-work kinds. Cheerfulness of any kind was totally missing. I don't know whether it was due to the middle-of-the week syndrome :) What I liked though was the transport - the buses though old and were the surely-will-get-flooded-if-it-rains type, were open and airy. The autos though, were like hoards of cockroaches crawling everywhere. They didn't have any meter and the drivers seemed to ask crazy amounts to travel a single Km :-p What I loved were the tender coconuts, had 3 in only 1 day!!! It was basically to avoid dehydration :) We (me and dad) had lunch and dinner in Sharavana Bhavan. The food was good but the prices seemed atrocious :-p Ok the people in Chennai have money after all, even though they don't look like it :-p (Now I'm being nasty :-D)

At one point of time, I suddenly felt very sad. I was walking along one of the roads, when I remembered the Dec-27th Tsunami disaster. Wonder if there was a visitor like me who was walking on the road and was swept away before he/she realized what was happening. I know death has to happen but sometimes life's too cruel. There were kids playing along the beach that fateful day who drowned. And they wouldn't even have learnt what's life all about. Hmm I wonder whether that's good in one way...

Ok now the U.S consulate. Felt totally like a prison from outside as well as inside :( There were guards standing all over the place as if we are just waiting to attack the Americans inside :-p I went there to basically get H4 dependent visa stamped (will be writing in detail about the whole thing in my next post). After security and pre-verify formalities, I was sent into a bank-locker kind of a building. I say bank locker because the doors were all heavy, iron doors which I had to struggle to push/pull! There were 11-12 counter with Americans interviewing all sorts of Indians from all sorts of places. There were lots of people waiting for their turn and I joined them. Fortunately/Unfortunately (later turned out to be fortunate ;-) ) I was the first person to be called into a counter. The guy there (I don't even know his name, so from now on he'll be referred to as Mr. American) checked out my papers and took the fingerprints of my left and right index fingers. I was afraid they'd object to my working status and the first question was exactly that!

Mr. American: "How long have you been working in ............?"
Me: One and a half years.
Mr. American: And what will you be doing in U.S?
Me: Nothing as of now
(Immediately I wished I hadn't said "as of now" :-p)
Mr. American {raises his eyebrows}: And you are looking forward to that?
Me: Yeah, am really looking forward to a break!!
and I grin.
Mr. American {smiles}: Ok Your visa will be stamped. Please pay up the DD in counter 1.

That was it!!! He didn't ask me anything about my marriage, nothing about Sri and where he's staying, didn't see my marriage photos/certificate, didn't ask for a No-objection letter I had painfully taken from my work-place, didn't ask for anything extra like photos et cetera. With all due respect to Mr. American, I have to exclaim "Crazy Americans!!!" :-p Anyways I was grinning ear-to-ear by the time I was out of there :-D Didn't even mind the sweat drenching my clothes (though there was no sun)!! Chennai looked brighter all of a sudden ;-)

But hey Bangalore is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better man! When I landed here today morning, I noticed all the little things I had probably been ignoring for years. The roads are definitely cleaner and definitely no smell :-D The weather is cool and lovely. The people are more enthusiastic, active and cheerful! Love Bangalore :)

Sad that I may not be here after 2 weeks :(


soumya retorted...

Hey Deeps,

Congrats man...That sure was easy(touch wood)...So, u'll be leaving in 2 weeks....That's great...Ur lovelorn heart will finally be at peace...Looking forward to ur coming to the U S of A...Good Luck...


wise donkey retorted...

Really Happy for you :)

And yeah saravana bhavan is costlyD:

Anbu retorted...

Congats Deeps,those tired faces were no doubt due to scorching heat...I can see only bad things about Chennai..Chennai mein kuch bhi acha nahin laga kya?...

Deeps retorted...

Hey Soum :)), you finally did register :-D Good, I'll look forward to your comments ;-)

Gaya, thanks :)

Anbu, as a person who's lived in Bangalore almost all her life, Chennai was a bit too much for me :) But I do know natives of Chennai who absolutely adore the place no matter what ;-) :))

Twin-Gemini retorted...

I am a die-hard Madrasi! Heat or no-heat, Madras is my kind of place.

You might have seen Madras on a week day and your interaction would have mostly been to a very small part in the city - American counsulate and maybe a few places here and there where I am assuming you wouldnt seen too many young people. The thing that makes Bangalore better (according to me) is the software industry and there are a lot of young people there which ultimately results in the cheerfulness! Maybe if you had been to those parts of Madras (like the beaches - during weekends, you should have seen Elliots Beach on a weekend - it used to be my favorite pastime while I was there, very lively and active and the folks, quite cheerful), where you see young and lively people. That certainly wouldve given you a better impression about the city. Plus you had gone to Madras during summertime. Come visit us some other time and stay here on a weekend and visit the beaches, you will know what a beautiful city this is!

Twin-Gemini retorted...

And congrats and good luck with your US adventures.

Deeps retorted...

Twin-gemini :) Sure, now that you have described it to me, I'll definitely have to visit it some other time. Maybe once I'm back from U.S :))