Different cities have different ways of welcoming the visitors.I have been a native of one city-Vizag and a regular to another-Hyderabad. Now, I may become a regular to another city-Chennai. If Vizag welcomes you mostly with green fields and mountains and Hyderabad with rocky hills n shrubs, Chennai's welcome is spectacularly unnatural.All along the track one can see that filthy black liquid,slums and garbage. My dad and me were arguing as to how worse could it get? My dad said filth in the railway zone would be the area of Central Government.But I replied "What if people living on the other side of the track, ie, the state government area dumped the garbage into the railway zone, i.e central governement area?".So as you can see, If at all there would be an effort to clean the area, the first issue that would need to be resolved is -Who will clean it? Center or State? Who will own up the responsibility? is it possible at all?-'more questions than answers'. The lesser you think, the better. This said, it may not be Chennai's undoing, just because the railway lines do not bank on some natural beauty, Chennai should not be considered a place bereft of beauty.
The railway station is a gem. I have seen enough stations in all parts of the country,but Chennai ranks as the best. Second comes Vijayawada(I mentioned this because I always thought Vijayawada was unbeatable.). Chennai's is big and organized and at least at the first sight it gave me a very good impression, what with first class waiting facilities at least for a few passengers. It looks more modern,spacious and very accomodating. I wasn't that lucky though. I did not find any accomodations at the station and so had to rent a room in a nearby lodge.
On the way to the lodge, I come across another gem. The Municipal Corporation Building( The Ripon Building, established 1913.) Buildings such as this, built in a victorian style, have a definite aura about them. Though we missed looking at it in the morning, we were chilled enough in the afternoon to discuss as to whether we can build structures with such an aura and magnificence these days.
While I was still drooling about this building, I came across another big one. This one was the Southern Railway Headquarters' building. This was a giant too. Walking along I found a placard which said that this building was endowed with the facilty to harvest rainwater. Immediately, I was made to wonder whether it also had a facility to harvest salty water. This was because a guy was busy urinating near the building premises. Just a minute before, when my Dad wanted to take a little bit of rest after a long walk by sitting on the compound wall, I told him it wont be right to do that. But when compared to urinating in the premises, I suppose sitting on the wall is not that big an offense. Next time I myself will try to sit on the walls of such big places if need be.
This is my first account of Chennai and all of this is a description of some 6-7 hours spent in this place. More is sure to come.
PS: When we dont know the language of a place we may look like jokers, but thats "okay" as long as we are getting things done.