Tuesday, September 22, 2009

World Travel, Part I

Remember the trip I told you about in the last post? It was great. I left on a Tuesday, and was home on Monday, so yay! I am a time traveller. Take that, entropy.

I was ten when they renamed Madras to Chennai. I thought it was a funny name for a city. It took me a while to learn it was pronounced Chen-nai, not chenn-aai.

Not Chennai

This was my first time there in seventeen years. The train was on time, thanks to the hundred and one coconuts I had broken at the Ganapathy temple that afternoon. My cousin, who/whom (Grammar nerds, some help here!) we were accompanying, and I had the upper berths, and my Mom had one of the side berths. The lower berths were occupied by an elderly Tamil couple, who went to sleep as soon as the train left and showed no signs of life until the train reached Chennai central. (I wanted to poke them to see if they were alive, but my Mom is not a humanitarian.)

From another trip

We stayed with Mom's good friend (who is known far and wide as Maami). After Maama Uncle (I called him that, he was plain Maama to everyone else) died, Maami's son (Thengenta Maram Chettan) insisted she move in with him, and they have all been living in Chennai from before it became Chennai.

The first thing that hit me was the heat. No, it was the second thing. The first thing was the bag the idiot behind me rammed into my leg. About the heat. It was...hot. As if the fires of hell burnt under the roads. I could feel my skin shrivelling and peeling, forcing me to invest in a bottle of sunscreen lotion. Unlike here in Kerala, the heat was not accompanied by sticky humidity, making my hair less frizzy for the few days I was there.

My hair after a shampoo

We did a lot of shopping, mostly at Saravana Stores, the reason for which can be described in one word. Bargain. We finally bought a huge bag to carry home all the stuff we had bought. And most of it consisted of clothes. For me. Because my Mom lurves me. But being the genius that I am, I left my new shoes back in Chennai. If that isn't an epic fail, then, the Kauravas' failure is.

TM Chettan's wife teaches French, and she inspired me to learn French again. I haven't actually begun to re-learn French because je suis lazy, mais je serai soon.

The kids were great. The Brainiac Cricketer is thirteen, and the Drama Queen is eight. We had sword fights with real fake swords, and I ruthlessly killed both of them with my cunning moves, despite sustaining serious injuries, including the loss of a limb. This should come as no surprise to those of you who know that I have a mental age of twelve.


I also met this wonderful guy. He is very charming and handsome. He has the most wonderful brown eyes. He actually listens when I talk, and stayed by my side the entire time I was ill. And when he's feeling particularly happy, we play games! He is absolutely perfect. We would have gotten engaged, except for one little deterrent. He is only nine months old. And also, the fact that Linnaeus would call him Canis familiaris.

If you really loved me, you'd share some of that chocolate with me.

Now if you know any humans who fit the above description, and is at least as old as me, drop me a line.

Finally, though we had to tear ourselves away, we were on the train back home. Since I hadn't sacrificed any coconuts to Ganapathy for the return trip, the train reached home two hours late. But not before another adventure. I'm a regular Nancy Drew.

The couple in the berths next to ours seemed to have forgotten one of their shopping bags after they disembarked. When we noticed the bag, we decided to find their address somehow and return their stuff to them. They had been very helpful during the night, helping us get safer berths and all. As we were going through the contents, finding plenty of shirts but no address, discussing how we could trace them through the railway authorities, one guy pokes his head in, and says, "Hey! That's mine!" Lots of embarrassment all around, but, as we consoled ourselves, it was in a good cause.

That was my trip to Chennai. Don't hold your breath waiting for the next part. Hypoxia isn't good for you.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie

Onam is over. It was like one of those "all you can eat" fests, only, all you can eat are vegetables. Bleh. But the payasam (a sweet dish made of milk, sugar and other traditional Indian savouries, says a reliable source) partly made up for the lack of animal protein, but it took a long evening session with the psychiatrist living in our fridge, Dr. Fried Chicken, before I got over my disappointment.

My Mom and I are starting on our "travelling around the world" thingy next week. We travel a whopping 950 kilometres (590 miles) from home. (If this does not, for some strange reason, seem that long a distance to you, you should remember that my Mom considers the trip to our local supermarket a journey around the country.) And we shall get back only after a very long time (two days). That means, I... Won't be missed here at the blog. *sigh*

You know what is the funnier than having no more exams? Thinking you have more exams. Five years of medical college (synonymous with "exams") does that to you. During those rare moments when reality sinks in, I start grinning like the loon that my college bears full responsibility for creating.

It didn't spare my brain.

Because of the frequency with which my professors threw around the E-word, all of my previous trips in the last few years involved my lugging around twice my weight in textbooks. I don't have to this time. Yay! *more grinning*


Can you tell that I'm super excited? Because I am. I can't wait until next week, but, SURPRISE! I have to. Because that is how time works, apparently. Join me, people, in booing and throwing rotten eggs at Entropy's smug face.


I promise to write about my trip, but you are not allowed to hold me to it. Because I am lazy. And will not start packing until an hour before we leave. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where this is going, does it? But as any rocket scientists (hello there!) reading this will know, I will by now have acquired 'quick packing skillz' and I will merely spend all my shopping money on toothbrushes and bath towels. I am guessing that only Douglas Adams will want to know about my towels, and he is, well, dead.

Adieu, my friends. And no, I won't panic.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Onam!

Just a week into my vacation, and I miss (in moderation) those crazy days back when I was studying for some exam or the other. Turns out the TV and the Internet lose a lot of their charm when you are not supposed to be buried beneath a textbook. Also, I am not able to use the classic "I have exams!" excuse to get out of social commitments. Weddings, funerals, births, housewarming parties, random visiting of people, you can find me at all of these events now. And elderly relatives rejoice at having obtained yet another victim to play guessing games with. "No, Aunty, I have no idea who you are."

Anyway, tomorrow is Onam. Have a great one!

Thinking of the sadya (feast) now...