I am back. In fact, got back about couple of weeks ago. I had been meaning to post on some interesting stuff about the trip for a while, but had been (as usual) lazy.
If I were to summarize the trip: Fantastic weather, Fantastic food, and Fantastic music!
Can a guy complain with that?
Yes, I am talking about Chennai here! Sounds odd like something from bizarro world doesn’t it? Au Contraire, my friends! Every day, the high was about 82-85F and the low was about 70F. The humidity was actually quite low – at least you never felt it, which meant it was low. That my friends, is fantastic weather in December! This was also the weather in Cancun, Mexico in the first week of December (was there for 4 days) but may be more humid. So weather-wise, Chennai in December was like, if not better than that of an exotic paradise! Also to appreciate it more, contrast it with the deep freezer from which I escaped. I am more glad to note that I missed a few ice and snow storms in December. But then we got back in time for a cold-spell where the high last Sunday was all the way up to 4 freaking Fahrenheit! And you know what? Today morning I spent 45 minutes shoveling a few inches of snow off the driveway! A relaxing way to start a day – eh?
I know all too well how Chennai gets boiling hot in May, and weather there is quite abominable most of the year. Many say that cold winter is any day better than hot summer, since you at least can wear a heavy coat. But when it is cold, and the wind is whipping up wind chill factors of -10F and -20F (and sometimes even up to -60F), heavy coat or not, you are freezing your butt and every other part! Cold Winter – any day better? Not for me!
Well – fantastic home cooking by mom first of course! But fantastic food also on the road – here, there, everywhere! It was liberating to know that no matter where I am, I can walk into almost any restaurant and get food that I like. This is a big difference for me compared to living outside in India, particularly with my taste in food. I say – Screw Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek, American and the other cuisines I have tried! If I were to rate cuisines on a scale of 1 to 100, Indian for me is about 100. The next cuisine – whatever it is barely would pass 10. Yes – I know, not exactly a globe trotter – but that is just me! So I was quite at home in Chennai.
I was there for the carnatic music season, one of the main reasons for the trip this time. And I took full advantage of it. I think I caught about 15-20 concerts in about 20 days before I decided it was time to do honor the obligatory social commitments. I did not catch necessarily each one in entirety – as there were some pressing issues including not wanting to miss 3:30 hot mysore bondas at the canteen associated with the concert hall even if that happened to be in the middle of a concert. Since we live a bit far from Mylapore, the carnatic music centre, and I suck pretty bad bargaining with autorickshaw guys – more so late at night when they have the psychological edge, I decided that I will attend morning and early-mid afternoon concerts and get back by MRTS, Ah! MRTS! What a boon! Mylapore Luz Corner from Velacherry in 20 minutes, on prompt and mostly empty trains. You avoid all the traffic noise, and arrive relaxed. Since mostly one evening concerts are ticketed, most of the concerts I attended were free – a nice little bonus, which also meant that the extra savings could be used to gobble up more snacks and food at the canteen! Suited me just fine!
That is it for now. More forthcoming later.