Last week I went for an official trip to Chennai, this trip came as a blessing in disguise in many ways and let me tell you how! To begin with this has been an official trip after almost 2 ½ years. Holidays aside but official trips have their own charm. Apart from lot of work being done getting along with colleagues is pure fun (provided the colleagues are willing to have fun, it is very colleague specific 😛 ).
It was a 3 days drip and the intention of the trip was knowledge gathering rather technical knowledge gathering. So we took an early morning flight meaning 7 am and with me were 2 other female colleagues (we all 3 eventually turned into teenagers) and a male colleague(who right at the beginning of the trip felt like he was turning more into a shepherd with a herd of 3!). So something got into us when we boarded the flight we 3 started giggling right away much to the resentment of the fellow travellers.
We landed in Chennai and went straight to the work location. We all got to work right away and the sessions started one after the other. We had a sumptuous share south Indian food for lunch and were feeling drowsy right away, so great was the fatigue that everything after that failed to register in my mind. Since it was a KT session for me and I was at the receiving end of all the information the team was giving me, I was about to collapse with the weight of food in my stomach and information in my brain! Finally we had a coffee break and I thoroughly enjoyed the filter coffee. This is one thing I love about Chennai, the filter coffee gets better and better every time.
Finally we wrapped up for the day and headed to the hotel and it was such a blessing. We stayed at a hotel named Keys Katti-ma which was off OMR Road. It is an out and out business hotel with reasonable room space and reasonably good room amenities. It was such a contrast after my experience at Wildernest Resort. While I agree that both hotels are at a contrasting location, the amenities were also contrast at its best! We had to struggle getting one soap out of the staff at the Wildernest while these basic amenities were available easily and in abundance when asked at the Keys! The rooms were very cosy and comfortable, television of a good brand with almost all entertainment channels and most important it had a tea kettle with tea bags, coffee sachets and sugar which I missed dearly at the Wildernest! I am sorry to compare the two hotels but such stark contrast with a gap of a week was too hard to notice.
So we freshened up and went for dinner and were joined by one of our ex-colleagues who moved to Chennai few months back. There too the teenager inside us girls raised its ugly and humorous head and we dissolved into fits of giggle again much to the dismay of our other 2 male colleagues, one of which had already given up on us and joined out giggle spree. The dinner lasted for a hour and half and finally we retired to our rooms. The next day we went to office and it was business as usual.
The fun started in the evening when we decided to the go to T Nagar for shopping. The journey took too long since we had to take lot of detours to avoid traffic. Whoever thought Mumbai has bad traffic should visit Chennai, you will suddenly start loving Mumbai once again! So we reached T Nagar in a cab and went straight to Geeta Cafe which one of the colleagues from Chennai had endorsed. When we were about to finish the meal it started pouring cats and dogs and we had only one umbrella. So we waited patiently but to no avail and we decided to brave the rain and walk 3-in-1 in the available umbrella and ofcourse our dear male colleague was left to fend for himself :-D. It was so much fun we actually thought we went back to college days. We went to Ramraj Cotton and then to Kumaran sarees.
Kumaran was almost closing down but the blessed souls left no stone unturned to show us sarees. Except me everybody had picked up 4 sarees on an average and their pockets were lighter by around 10000 rupees. By the time we reached hotel it was almost 11 in the night and decided to have a very light dinner and went straight to the restaurant. The stewards of the restaurant did not let us enter the restaurant saying that they are to replenish the buffet. We insisted that we do not wish to eat much but they insisted that the buffet must be replenished. We finally gave up went to our rooms and came to the restaurant once again only to find out that the buffet was replenished for just the four of us! We were taken by surprise and ate a little more than required just because the food was prepared for us. So much for guest delight!
We went back to the room and then came the last day! We went to office in high spirits and the sessions began again. Since I was meeting the offshore team for the first time we were reasonably comfortable with each other at day 3 which was sadly my last day with them. We reached a comfort level where we were readily cracking jokes on each other without feeling awkward. The Chennai team took us for lunch at Saravana Bhavan one of the very famous restaurant chains in Chennai and again we relished the filter coffee there!
We had booked a night flight which was scheduled to depart from Chennai at 9 pm. The moment we saw the airport the teenager inside us girls woke up from it sleep and we were back in spirits again. We giggled endlessly during the entire flight only to get dirty glares from the co-passengers around. The highlight of the trip was we calling each other “Shaktimaan” and dissolving in fits of giggle. So much for missing the childhood!
All in all it was an awesome trip in all aspects. The work was excellent, company great and awesome hotel!