Chennai – Our Gateway to South: South India I
As is the case with most multinationals today, the end of year is a special period as most of our clients are from Western part of the world. Christmas and New Year is time when most of the clients are off for vacations and the cascaded effects flows to us who find it really easy to get leaves during this time. On top of this the Human Resource within our firm was overly generous in providing additional 2 official holidays thus practically making the scene more favorable for a vacation – a 5 day leave makes it an 16 day off from work. And so not leaving anything to chance, I had applied for these 5 days of time offs well in advance. All that was left was to decide the destination. After deliberating over numerous possible options in India and abroad, we decided that the best sensible destination to head to was Southern part of India which had been a recommendation from many friends. Some of the known ones who had been to that part of the country had talked such highly of the locations there that once we started thinking about it, temptations simply escalated and we finally froze our vacation destination as South India. After due research we finalized our itinerary for the trip and made required hotel bookings and got our flight tickets. The plan was set and we were set to fly off Delhi on the night of 18th December 2015 for a much awaited sojourn. There followed a lot of hectic activities as part of build up for the journey including shopping, research and other preparations.
|Waves at Elliot's Beach|
|Entrance, Arignar Anna Zoo|
|Giant Whale in Background, Government Museum|
Next day, was turn for the Government Museum for which we left by about 11 in the morning. Again, I know the faces one makes on hearing the name of museums but apparently this was had a slight various which makes it interesting. Once we ticketed and entered the gates, we realized that rather than a building it was a campus – spread across 3 building and vast open spaces. The 20 year old museum has a lot to speak about history of art, culture, living styles and flora & fauna. As we entered the first building we realized the primary differentiating factor of this building. It showcased anthropology which one expects only in science centers to some extent. But what was different here was variety and spread. The preserves of remains of hundreds of living beings were showcased in a systematic manner with plentiful of details for each display. Life on earth was captured so nicely and displays ranged from skins to teeth to skulls and skeletons. One of the major attraction was a huge whale skeleton hanging from the roof and covering a large hall. Alongside there were entire lifecycle of a larvae depicted with actual remains from various stages. Real sized skeletons of elephant, giraffe and horse were another high points of the section. The second building showcased all the weaponry and equipment used in ancient times along with a glimpse of several art forms from the history. The third building is bronze section and is relatively secured as expensive bronze statues of deities and kings abound in this section. The section also includes coins and medals from medieval to ancient times.
|The Symbol, Elliot's Beach|
|Roasting the Corn, Elliot's Beach|
While we were enjoying were tours through the “salais” local word for roads and having fun in this part of the country, we were realizing the harsh truth about the situation there. The city had been badly devastated in recent floods and the havoc was visible. Interaction with locals and a trip across the town was enough to realize the level of impact that the floods had on life of people. People are full of pain and horror stories abound. Any slight nudge is enough to bring out their yells and agony isn’t hidden easily. Pictures and videos trying to capture the scene during floods are common on every cell phone but they still seem to fall short of capturing the real impact. Houses were filled with water and even upper floors were submerged in the aquatic havoc while people resided on roads in upper lying areas of the city. The rage in the heart of people was evident against lack of government apathy. It is indeed saddening to see a city, called one of the top 4 metros of the country, limping to normalcy and being left on its own for this.
|Waves at Marina, a rare clean stretch|
|Market at Marina Beach|
|MGR's Memorial, Beside Marina Beach|
|People line up, Parthsarthy Temple|
|Dinner South Style, Murugan Idli Point|
|San Thomas Church|
|Seeing off while on Guard|