Madras is a nice place to walk the streets – especially, during the daytime. I am not joking – there are several pleasant walks available if you, like me, are not fazed by the hot Chennai sun. And its quite cool (I mean figuratively) to take a Hot Chennai Noon walk – even a moon walk can’t beat it, with apologies to Michael Jackson ( he of the Baby-lover fame). Firstly, Healthwise – ther’s nothing to beat a walk to exercise all your muscles – top to bottom, even a slow ramble would do enough to burn up all those resistant calories. Add to which you get a free Sauna – by the time you finish your walk – you’d be literally steaming sweat. And the picturescue routes – what can I say, especially, if you take the time to just ramble along and take in the sights. the crowds are sweet, (unlike, anywhere else in India).. they just know that passing within two feet of you is harmful to their olfactory senses and tend to give you a widw berth. the only drawback – I should say is that all the pretty girls you meet along the way are swathed up in bits and pieces of clothing to resemble the latest Egyptian Mummy styles.
I took a recent East- West walk about from the coast – the Bay of Bengal- to Anna Nagar – which to me is the Far West, the areas beyoond I consider the Wild West. It was, to say the least, a very pleasant experience, especially, if you are like me and like to take long lonely walks, where you can mentally thresh out all the stuff’s which have been bothering you; as you walk along, taking in the sights and sounds. I flagged off around 12:10 Pm from the All India Radio Bus stop – right oppposite the Lighthouse – the only recognizable landmark of our city from the sea (if you don’t count the stench from the Cooum) and in a easy loping style made my way along the Beach Road Pavement , in the hot fesh breeze, blowing off the sea. I ambled past the Commissioners office, past Vivekananda House, past various heritage buildings and railway stations of the elevated train and finally, near Presidency College, I took a left turn , into the interior , to plunge in to the chaos of Triplicane. I walked along past Kasturba Gandhi hospital, and right onto Triplicane Market- which seems to have a lot of native medicine shops (I really didn’t know there was so much craze for this stuff), then right past Amir Mahal, past the Foam Bed selling shops on both sides of the road to arrive at Royappetah Junction- with the time clock. I took the straight way again, past TVS and by now, feeling a bit worn out- I decided to relax in Satyam Theatre. After joining the line in front of the counter, I had to decide what I was going to watch – and quickly the decision was made- what better choice for a warrior like me than the Movie 300. Two hours inside the air-conditioned theatre with a Litre of water inside me ( to combat dehydration) and those Masochistic Spartans revived me so much I was ready for the next leg of my walk-about.
From Satyam it was right down to Mount-Road the No.1 arterial road of Chennai which I crossed over in the last few gasping seconds of the redlight at TVS signal and then I was faced with a dilemna. Should I take the Greams Road/College road route to cross Egmore/Nungambakkam into Poonamalee High road or should I opt for the walk along Ethiraj Salai – Past Spencers Mall and Ethiraj college and at the Musuem fly-over cross into Chetput to take the Harington road? I decided on the second option as it provided a more picturescue route with better diversions. All along EgmoreI walked admiring the sights and into the signal near the Museum flyover where I crossed over into Harrington road and walked along- until I was sorely tempted at one point to hop into Shree Mithai for some hot Samosas followed by some delicious Pani Puri. Naah, this walk was for health – not for junk food. so I forced my legs to keep walking past until i reached the Harrington road flyover, past the Chetput Railway station and finally into Poonamalle High road. I crossed over at Ega Theater junction, paused for a few minutes to check out the latest releases and then past New Avadi Road into Cemetry Road and then past Chintamani which finally lead me to my Destination – Roundtana Junction (yipeee, ooh) – a little over 3 hours after I had kicked off from the beach – not counting the time spent watching movies or having refreshments at roadside stalls. And of course, from there, I took an auto home.
There you have it – a ready made route to explore Chennai if you are in the mood – By the way, I am thinking about doing a North-South trip from Tiruvotriyur to Tiruvanmiyur next time. Anyone care to join me?