This is a long overdue post. My friend S took me with her to Tiruvottiyur, to visit the Royal Enfield factory nearly a year back. And while I was excited even by the thought of Bullets being made, there was much more to this trip that made it a truly unusual experience.
To start with, the day greeted Chennai with a really heavy downpour. First my area received it and I was feeling down in the dumps. When I called my friend, it had just started raining in her area; but fortunately it stopped soon. I took my bike and made it over to her place. Coincidentally, both of us were wearing purple t-shirts. Looking back, I think the purple matched beautifully with the violet skies and verdant green leaves shimmering with raindrops. Post-rain surroundings were pleasant. We boarded a bus and began the day.
We took two buses, the second of which revealed North Chennai in its yucky yet intriguing rainy day avatar (I think there was frequent light rain). We went through some places I’d only heard about (Kasimedu – one of the scariest localities in Chennai, as hyped by movies and media – a fishing village where perhaps rowdies may harm you with knives used to cut sharks). We also passed the harbor (awesome!!) and even Tollgate (was surprised to know Tiruvottiyur is SOOOO far).
Finally we reached TIruvottiyur Main Road (which was a lake, since the median was way too high, long and super sturdy) and got off at the main bus stop. S’s friend had come to pick us up in his comforting car. We found that Royal Enfield was right on this road. We spotted it and did a U-Turn.
Then came the first adventure of the day. We had to enter through a lane that was not really a lane. It had little lakes (huuggge puddles) which were extremely muddy and slushy, so muddy that it must’ve been a major endeavor for S’s friend to navigate them (and an adventure for me – I love these things, like not knowing when you’ll get stuck where, and how long it’ll take to get out. Sorry, S’s friend!)
Royal Enfield was of course fascinating. The bikes are completely hand assembled and designs on tanks are painted by hand. We watched every step of the manufacturing process and it was very interesting. We even watched them test the speed of the bikes. I also imagined owning a bright yellow Bullet but didn’t dare open my mouth.
Then we headed to the Tiruvottiyur seafront. It felt like the edge of the world, because the road just curved out (couldn’t see where it was headed) along an expansive seascape. While S & her friend took a walk along a long rocky pier, I stayed on the shore, capturing crows from a short distance. They made a beautiful picture, set against the azure duo of the sky and sea.
After that we went to S's home, through that road, the WagonR feeling like a Hot Wheels car, sandwiched between numerous container trucks in lanes on either side (as in the only two legal lanes). We had lunch at S's friend's house. As I discovered, there was much more fun waiting for us. The power was out and we had lunch by candlelight, but that was a lovely experience. The house was huge and airy and it created a beautiful atmosphere for a candlelit lunch.
S’s friend had a 6 month baby and it was so wonderful to spend time with him. I was lucky enough to have him on my lap for a few minutes when I sat and stared out at nothing. It is amazingly peaceful to hold a baby on your lap, even when both of you are quiet; that it was on a rainy day, on a balcony, made it all the more beautiful. We conversed in unspoken words and enjoyed blissful contentment, that can only be shared with a baby.
There was much more fun waiting for me. S's friend had 2 dogs – a chocolate Doberman and an Australian mastiff breed (they weren’t friendly though – at least you can’t expect that from a Doberman). Downstairs there were more delights – a turkey and a parakeet (make one of them plural). I clicked pictures of all the pets. And had a fabulous time.
Then we had to head back to the bus stand; but the adventure wasn’t over yet. We went through a completely flooded street (was an interesting experience). We reached the bus stand, got into the bus and waited for it to leave. Then I spotted a calf that was waiting outside the bus. I went and petted the cute creature (for the first time in my life – I can’t believe that).
We went back to the noisy part of Chennai (passing the lovely harbor) and reached Teynampet (where we parted) pretty much early – by 6. We were back to everyday life. The awesomely unusual day came to an end as S & I said our byes; but it is a day I won’t forget in a long time, which is why I managed to recollect everything nearly one year later (writing this blog post has made me really happy – and ready to explore another unique destination in Namma Chennai!).