Today, it pretty much rained the whole day and the temperature went down into the low twenties. I had asked my father-in-law to take me to a bookstore where I can get Carnatic music books. Never one to let tomorrow wait upon today, he sprang to action and I was woken up at 4:30 p.m from my 3 hour nap.
We set off in a chauffer driven auto as it looked like the driver was a family owned guy. He dropped us off in Mylapore near the Kapaleeshwara temple. We found our way to the bookstore and I got the books I wanted. I also bought 'Mahabharatha' by C. Rajagopalachari for the sole reason of impressing my father-in-law. After that, we walked around and he decided to buy some apples, the transaction done after much haggling. We then entered a brass store for no reason, stared at some brass lamps and statues and exited.
Again, I was informed that we would walk to the end of the road and being a mute and dominated sidekick, I went along. We stopped by a few cycle carts selling strange ceramic dolls. At the third card, we stopped and my father-in-law haggled viciously for a scary looking ceramic Ganesha. We ended up buying the Ganesha and a Saraswati and a Lakshmi which were all equally badly made. We continued our walk amongst the slush and puddles in the crowded pre-festival streets and after some efforts from my father-in-law to throw me off his trail (he suddenly changes directions and crosses streets without warning), we stopped at a cross-road, where he suddenly decided to stop an auto. The first guy got an earful as he asked for Rs 60 when the whole of Chennai knows very well that from that temple to T Nagar costs only Rs 50. There was a 30 second stand-off and finally the auto driver drove away after carefully weighing the pros and cons. The next guy readily agreed to Rs 50 and was immediately my father-in-law's best friend.
On the way back, I was given a rare education on the history of Chennai with multiple bits of trivia interspersed in between the exciting narratives of how Mylapore was the first to be developed after Fort St. George and the widest road in Chennai (0.75 km long) is right there. We also passed by Stella Mary's which at one point was the best educational institute in the world for BA Lit.
The topics during the auto ride home then moved onto transportation where I was informed that 5000 new autorickshaw permits have been granted and that is going to add to the existing 45000 pool. More accurate information can only be obtained at the Regional Transport Office, Somegumbakkam Main Office. There was an additional bit of information that over 10,000 autos were being run without permits which immediately was opposed by the auto driver (until now a silent observer) who said the government comes down really hard on illegal autos despite my father-in-law's assertions that people buy autos and paint them yellow and use them to transport the gullible public. However, the auto driver, through years of experience in the front lines and solid data to back up his argument won this one and we all had to admit that that maybe there were not so many autos without permits, though this was never spoken in words.
We finally got home after some devious short cuts to avoid traffic congestions and I learnt that we saved about 273 hours by taking this route.
To cap off my exciting day out, we locked ourselves briefly inside the house. There was no one when we got home, and the key was inadvertently left outside and the door was closed. This was blamed on a rug inside the house. Go figure! Anyway, being the ingenious person he is and with his indefagitable attitude, my father-in-law used a screw driver deftly to unlock the door and left to buy stuff for the house.
I sat back on the sofa with a glass of coke and watched TV until the kids got home.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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