29th February 2016

After breakfast, I was back on the road, walking, trying to find my way to the Chennai Central train station. Of-course the roads were unfamiliar, so I was confused. But the directions given to me by the staff at the restaurant made it seem very close-by. I just went according to that. There were some girls going to school or college. It was a nice sight to see. They are all fresh in the morning with smiling faces. Unlike what I have seen in other parts of India I have visited before, in Chennai, there are many girls who go to school or college and actively involved in studying. That is a good thing to see. I walked towards them and asked for directions. They knew I wasn't Tamil speaking. But again, oddly enough, I understood some of the Tamil one girl was saying. The other girl even laughed at her for speaking to me in Tamil. But I guess I have a sixth sense in Tamil language. It is confirmed, it's about another 2km. I would have to get an auto rickshaw. But some of the roads here are one way. Though the train station is towards my front direction, if I am to go in a vehicle, it would go on the other direction. So I would have to walk another like,200m to get to the proper lane if I am to get an auto rickshaw that is heading that way. Then that is what I did. The rickshaw driver asked for INR60/=. Maybe he guessed I was an outsider, definitely not a Chennai. But I told him I have been informed to give only 50 and that will be all I will give. Just imagine me saying all this in a fake Indian accented English.  lol. Anyhow he agreed, just 10 bucks difference.And I was dropped in front of the Central train station.

 

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Chennai Central train station

I noticed this time, there's a lot of security going on in Chennai city. Police, Army. And even at the station, there are bag checking scanners. People were body checked. I walked in and again realized how big this place is. I went to a counter and asked for the ticket reservations. Went along the directions I was given. And then I was back in a building I was very familiar with. I remembered being in this building, back in 2011 October with Serena & Kang Yuge. Oh I missed those 2 as instantly as the memories flowed in. I went straight to the foreigners' help office.

There was a middle-aged lady officer there, she was on a call,so I sat there and waited till she was done. Once it was time, I told her that I am from Sri Lanka and want to go to Goa on the 1st of March. Something in the night as I would be coming back from Tirupati to Chennai after 11am. No point in booking a train ticket to just miss the train. And you always have to give extra time for delays,breakdowns and whatever that may happen. If it wasn't March first night, then the earliest one leaving to Goa on the 2nd March. Obviously, there were no direct trains available as I was too late to book them. BUT, good thing I had the Indian Railway App on my phone,which I downloaded even before I left Sri Lanka. Sve also helped me out in this matter the previous night. If there's no direct train, one can always get connecting trains. Like from Chennai to Bangalore and then from Bangalore to Goa...something like that. So we checked for combinations. This lady wasn't like other government staff. She was not lazy or intolerant. She checked for connecting trains and found me Chennai to Mangalore to Goa leaving on 2nd March. Perfect! This gives me enough time to come back from Tirupati and also to get lost or breakdown , delay whatever-not, to happen and still be able to catch my train on the next day. Then the next most important thing I wanted was coming back to Chennai on my last day of this entire India trip. Back to Chennai to catch my plane home. My last destination in the plan is Mumbai. So, on the 24th of March I should leave Mumbai in order to get to Chennai at-least by 25th night to catch my plane to Colombo on 26th morning. I didn't want to wait till the last moment to book this ticket. Even if I don't get to places I want to visit, I was not gonna miss my flight back home. THAT was for sure. So I told her that I wanted to book that ticket too and it's also settled. We chatted for a little while. She asked things about me. I told her that I am a blogger and am writing a blog on my India travels. She was pleased about my mission. Such a pleasant lady. She even agreed to pose for a photo with me :)
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This lovely lady helped me to book my tickets for my trip at the Chennai railway station.

2 big headaches sorted. Whatever happens in the middle, I am sorted in getting back to Chennai at the end of my trip. That is a big relief.

My bus to Tirupati leaves at 5pm. I had plenty of time left. It was not even 10am now. So,I decided to roam around. Out of the train station, crossed the road. Asked a lady standing, for the bus to Marina Beach. Wanted to see this beach during day time. I have visited it at night and have had fun. That was the first official sightseeing I wanted to do in India.

Marina beach, here I come.

 

Published by SaThi