Sunday, February 10, 2008

Catch me if you can ...

If your idea of a thrill ride is Viper or X2 at the Magic Mountain, you need to experience a ride to the Chennai airport during rush hour when you have a plane to catch. I found myself in this enviable position several days ago. I left the office at around 7:15pm for a 9:30pm flight. I was feeling pretty good because I had given myself an extra 15 minutes. Unfortunately, this was the day when a group of college students decided to protest something (bad government policy, unfair examinations, too many classes, ban on ipods, traffic congestion in Chennai etc.). They blocked the main Mount Road in Chennai causing a severe traffic jam.

But luckily, my colleague Muthu knew his way around the city. He managed to get me out of the jam but in the process we ended up in the back roads of Chennai. With luck and instinct he navigated us through the obscure unnamed streets of the city. With occasional help from a pedestrian or a bicyclist, he managed to keep us moving in the general direction of the airport. Huge speedbreakers, excessively long traffic lights, road construction, lane closures etc. made this ride feel like an obstacle course.

After what seemed like hours, we were back on the main road and Muthu finally pulled in to the airport at 9:25pm.

Did I make it? You bet I did. After all, this is India. My flight was delayed by about 20 minutes and I made it with enough time to spare!

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