Friday, 1 January 2010

Christmas on the Streets of Chennai

~ My dad works in the airline industry, which is why I have traveled to many parts of the world. And thanks to globalisation, technology and everything else, I've never felt like a tourist barring a few exceptions like Italy and China. However, Chennai made me feel like one. Chennai could very well have been part of Sri Lanka or Burkina Faso for all I care. I couldn't identify with the people there. Nor could I relate to their styles of dressing, talking or for that matter, eating. They don't even speak the same language as me. But the people there are really sweet and genuine. And that somehow makes up for the rest.

~ Initially the plan was to learn to speak a few basic sentences. But that proved tough. So I thought I'd learn to write instead as Tamil and Sanskrit have some similarities. However, the Tamil script is even more confusing. It looks like an assorted set of jalebis gone wrong. Don't you think so? So I have finally resorted to sign language. Little did I know that the long hours of dumb charades that I played when I was little would come of such great use.

~ When it comes to reservation, Tamil Nadu is a step ahead of even our own educational institutes. In buses, half of the seats are reserved for women. Another four seats for elderly people. Two seats for expectant mothers. And one seat for the conductor! I'm still waiting for the day when I can put my butt prints on one of Chennai's local bus seats. Which is why traveling to work is the most challenging part of my job. Shell scripting and working on non graphical user interface based operating systems seem mundane in comparison.

~ The people in Chennai take their education very seriously. And are mighty proud of it too. On the name plate of each house is displayed a mini resume. This contains the degrees the person has acquired, the company he/she has worked in and other noteworthy achievements. Which is why the name plates seem more like tiny hoardings. Something like,

Chandrashekar Balakrishnan,
IIT Madras, Civil Engineer (B. Tech),
University of Washington (M. Tech),
Deloitte Consultancy.

is not uncommon to see on the nameplate of a house.

Post Script: Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, dear blog readers :)

Question of the day: How do 'Do not walk on grass' signs get there?

Christmas Quote for the day: Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.

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