Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wherever I roam..

Last night it rained hard in Chennai. A sudden burst of thunder followed by heavy rain which lasted for many hours. A strange occurence in itself. Many wondered why - it was so out of the blue. It seemed like a clear evening.

Not those who knew me of course! The city was in tears with happiness. The princess had returned to her kingdom! :-)

The streets were muddy. The roads - flooded. Even the new bridge over the Katipara junction had stagnated water all over it. It was 12 in the night and the traffic was still chaotic. We got splashed and sprayed as the call taxis and guys in their shining pulsars over-took us as they raced past, breaking a million traffic rules on their way. As i looked out, many people huddled close, holding a plastic sheet over their head. A thin old man, walked past us near nungambakkam, with a walking stick to hold him up and a towel to protect him from the lashing rain. A transformer sent out a shower of sparks before immering the area in darkness. We drove past old forgotten buildings, construction sites, half-broken walls, huts with the roofs letting through the water, buildings with the paint peeling off..

And i smiled to myself. I was home.


Monday, June 02, 2008

The Great Cross Country Walk

Before I begin, lemme give credit where credit is due and thank Roshan for this tres brilliante idea! "Thanks, dude!" :-)

Well, now that that's over... Yup, as the name suggests, I did a cross country walk. Literally. One end of Singapore to the other.

We measured out the shortest distance and figured 8 kms wasn't too far. Of course, we forgot that it was 8 kms as the crow flies.. and since we had also forgotten to use google map, we ended up walking nearly 12-13. We(alright, I!) forgot to set our alarm the previous night and woke up really late and after a late brunch, finally set out at 4.30. We hadn't also taken into account that the ride to our starting point will take us an hour and a half of travel by bus and metro. And another half an hour to find out starting point. This:

Originally, everyone was enthusiastic about joining us. But laziness gets to one soon. So finally, it was just me and Sharmila. And i guess the main reason she came was because we had told everyone in the lab that we were gonna go! Anyway, we started from pasir Ris park. The previous picture was taken from the end of Pasir Ris park. What you see up ahead is the sea. Here's proof that it was indeed the Pasir Ris park:

The park was one of the pleasant suprised during our walk. one of the prettiest places we've come across in S'pore, it's a place which we otherwise would've never visited. It was complete with a swamp, a bird-lookout, cycling lanes, people playing football, a maze and benches facing the sea.

Anyway, we started walking down Pasir Ris Drive 3 which went along the north coast, i.e, perpendicular to the direction in which we had to walk, but we had no choice thanks to the aforementioned failure to use google maps.

We finally rached Lovang avenue.Now the stupid map we carried showed only higways and expressways. One isnt allowed to walk on expressways, so we got completely lost and had to ask random people for directions to Simei avenue - our next destination. The thing about S'pore is, people here have no imagination. They pick one name for a locality and every place there is 'that name + a number'. Like you had Pasir Ris drive 1, 2,3,4, Pasir Ris street 1,2,3.. etc.. Similarly, we had Simei street 1-5, Simei road 1,2,3,4.. and finally a Simei Avenue not to mntion the Simei metro station. So of course, each person we asked showed us a different direction. They all of course very sweetly suggested that we take a cab/bus since it was too far to walk. We gave various reasons to various people for wanting to walk. The real explaination would've been too long an explaination in broken English.

Anyway, it was soon 8.15. We were tired and hungry and in desperate need of food. Oh, not to mention lost. we were down Simei 3rd street when we stumbled upon the metro. This was when thoughts of "we should just go back was crossing out minds". Finally Sharmila said, we'll eat something and then decide.

Do you have any idea how much of a difference food can make to you? Just one hotdog + one cup of coke? We set out again, determined this time, not to give up till 10.30. 10.30 we knew we had to rush to the nearest metro station cause otherwise we had no way of getting home. We walked down the 3rd street and reached Simei avenue! Ah, bliss.. here's the snap.

Anyway, after that we walked down to Upper Changi Road. short walk actually, but the walk down upper Changi road - not so short.

We were crossing a busstop and I asked Sharmila to take a look and see if a bus goes to the golf course - our final destination (Beyond the golf course was the sea) - but she stumbled upon a bus - bus no.10 which stops right behind out hostel.Talk about luck! Especially since we were halfway across town! We decided to come back and take that bus since the last bus was at 11.15. It gave us slightly more time. From that time onwards, everytime we passed a busstop we peeped in to see if there was a no.10 bus going from there.

We stupidly decided to take a detour through unknown territory - i dunno why - we just did and entered Beedox road. We came across an indian family and asked them for the way to the Golf Country club. They starred at us.
"At this time? Why?"
"Well, we need to get somewhere nearby.."
"But there's nothing nearby!!"
"Okay.. But could you tell us the direction, please?"
* More suspiciously * "Why?"
"Okay, how do we get to the metro station (this was another metro.. the map told us how to get from the metro to the golf club)?"
" You go straight and take a right. Take a bus.. it's too far"
"It's okay, we'll walk."
"But the busstop is right behind you. and the bus is approaching. Go take it go!"
"No really, we'll walk. Thanks a lot."
"okay.." * more suspicious looks *

Anyway, we walked. Reached the metro and were fumbling with the map when some random Malay guy offered to help us. He was very helpful alright, but sadly he sent us off in the exact opposite direction. We walked and we walked and we walked. No golf course. Finally, we asked two Chinese girls. They informed us of our grave mistake. We asked them what happens if we walk straight ahead. And they replied, " you reach a bunch of private residential appartments, beyond which is the sea". Yipeee!!!! We had reached the sea! Or, well, one can't go across the residential appartments, so we reached the East Coast Road! Good enough! Now please don't ask me why the road along the Southern coast is called the East Coast Road.. i told you the Singaporeans, although nice people, have no imagination!!

Anyway, here's the final pic! :-)

Anyway, now the problem was getting back. Both the Metro station as well as the last no.10 busstop we had seen were far away and we were feeling too tired. We were considering a cab, when sharmila said, "lets just walk down this road and see if we can see the sea (no jokes intended)". And guess what we found? A no.10 bus stop, no less. And a no.10 bus approaching it! We scrambled in and had one of the best rides back to the hall. Along the East Coast Road and a long one hour drive. Lovely.

Oh, we treated ourselves to sugar doughnuts as a reward!

Now I have a story i can tell my great-grand kids! :-P