Monday, May 10, 2010

4-Day Experience

Day 1:
Flying high at the start of the week, they say, is a good sign. My week started on the same note, in a literal sense! This was my first trip to the Coimbatore office. Then there was Golmaal…on the entertainment screen of the Indian Airlines flight (and that was the only thing worth watching). So except for the delayed flight, the week seemed to have started well.

Coimbatore is a small town. From the high skies, the coconut grooves were clearly visible. Lots of open space, greenery and many small houses did give the place a typical south Indian village look of the “Malgudi days” types. My flight of thoughts were disturbed by a bumpy landing.

Language barriers are very high here and the height was understood when we could communicated to with the pick-up person via the office admin. The flight delay had ensured that we went straight to the office, instead of the guest house. We had traveled about half an hour after landing and I was still searching for some township. The place we reached looked like an Industrial area with space for huge factories to put up their units. Later we were told that the area is a SEZ and there would be many IT parks coming up there. (Cognizant and Bosch have already made a base there) Inside the office is a completely different world (as compared to the outside) but more or less the same as the interior of most offices these days. Well, there is a TT table here…with a spacious TT room (wish we have one in Goregaon office too!) and the cafeteria opens to a small and beautiful open-air gallery. There was a light breeze as we were standing there…a feel that will relieve you off stress.

Thali for lunch and dosas for dinner…coffee during the breaks, the south Indian diet had begun. Finally a cab drive to the guesthouse B/23, Shrevatsa Garden, Thudiyalur (Don’t ask me to pronounce that) at 11:00 PM and the day comes to an end.

Flying start, bumpy landing, looooong day…that’s the way the week has started. Let’s see what’s in store for tomorrow.

Day 2:
A long day had ensured a good sleep…and the morning was pleasant. Though 7:00 AM is an early start, it was probably the freshness around (due to the light drizzle last night) that had driven off the laziness. Idlis for breakfast were no surprise.

Used to the rush and hustle of Mumbai, this place was quite a different experience. The guesthouse is a 3-bedroom bungalow decently maintained by the caretakers. Though the language barriers existed, I never truly felt out-of-place here. Probably it is the hospitality of the people here.

While we were filling ourselves on the idlis, the news were rolling about the hunger strike in Mumbai, the lifeline was affected!

The office pick-up was at 10:00 AM and the day had begun. Though the day was equally long, I was in a more bearable state today. The interesting thing of the day was the dinner. Along with my colleagues (Anish and Mithun), we drove to one of the “High Class” Pure Veg (most of the Veg Restaurants here are tagged “High Class”). We reached there by 9:30, as seemingly reasonable time for dinner…not there though. By the time we reached, the “masala” of the dosas was over. Hence we settled with ghee roast (it’s not roasted ghee, but a bigger dosa made in ghee), a rawa onion roast and a tomato onion uttapam. The waiter was more of a host…always there before we could call for him. Dosas topped with filter kaafi and we were done for the day.

It drizzled today evening too, so again the weather is nice and cool. The day was good and a good night’s sleep should give me a better tomorrow.

Day 3:
The morning was a bit lazy today…rather the morning was similar, but getting late to bed must have caused the laziness. I requested for tea to drive-off the sleepiness and was soon to realize that I had asked for oranges in a banana plantation. The tea was not that bad, but then when you are accustomed to a taste, you feel the difference. So when we were told about “pohe” for breakfast, we decided to skip that and rather have some local stuff. Breakfast here, has timings and you should consider yourself lucky to get breakfast after 9:00 AM. We were lucky!

Having tried idlis and dosas, I opted for medu wada. Served on a banana leaf, the wada was one of the crispiest I have ever had. What amazes me is the variety they have in the coconut chutneys. There is a white chutney, a green chutney, a red one and all of them have a unique taste which you can’t resist. Then there is a confusion on which is your favorite. As we were finishing our breakfast, someone mentioned pongal…well, so tomorrow’s breakfast menu is set!

Talking of food, we decided to have a non-veg dinner, so the lunch was on the lighter side. The thought of getting to taste new variants of non-veg delicacies had started ringing bell since evening and to ensure that we were not late, we left for dinner at 8:30. Tried two dishes: Chettinad chicken was one and the name of the other dish was a tongue twister. Though the name was a tongue twister, the taste was relishable. Both the dishes tasted wonderful (my colleagues were saying it was not prepared as well as it was last time) Interestingly, the tandoori roti was quite the same as we have here. Enjoying roti in the land of rice in another unique experience.

Day 4:
Yesterday I missed mentioning this. Everyday we have a pick-up from the guesthouse at 10:00 am. The vehicle is a Maruti Omni. Other than TVS Luna, this is the most common vehicle plying on the roads here. The driver for yesterday’s pick-up, I guess, was a new one. As mentioned earlier, we have a communiation problem here. So the communication happened thru the only common language – the sign language. And before the communication could be understood, this guy would have passed the place. We made 5 U-turns on a route that had none.

But the problem here is not about the communication, rather it is the speed. No one seems to be in a great hurry, but still the vehicles always zoom-by. It feels like a F1 race…with two differences – there are vehicles coming from the opposite direction and the roads are not that broad. “Not that broad” would be an exaggeration…the roads are wide enough to fit in a truck and a cycle comfortably. Any vehicle traveling in the opposite direction means that both the vehicles go off the road partially. It’s the turns and twists (angling almost 90˚) and the speed at which the drivers maneuver their vehicles speeding near 80 kmph to about 40-50 on these curves, gives the ride a F1 feel.

Today is my last day in the Coimbatore office for this trip…back to Goregaon office tomorrow afternoon. Junior of a Sr. Manager was born today and we got a chance to meet the baby boy.

Till yesterday it was drizzling…tonight it rained, clouds clashed and Coimbatore thundered. Without exploring Coimbatore much, I gathered some nice experience here. Would surely like to visit this place again…but that would be on a vacation, so that I can explore Coimbatore.

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