Chennai was a completely unplanned break as 2008 rolled into 2009
Daughter was picked as Goalkeeper for the Maharashtra State Girls U-14 Football Team for the Nationals in Chennai…We followed her to Chennai…They came in second after having been told that they were the winners with 45 points,the night before closing ceremonies…but as is symtomatic of Indian Sport the host Team ,Tamil Nadu,lagging behind with 35 points were awarded controversial points for Coaching etc on the last day to enable them to clinch first place
Memento after Memento was presented to those Invited on the Dias and speech after speech followed to drag on the closing ceremony to over two hours….Some on the dias were associated with basketball and weightlifting and not football!…….For over 300 girls from 19 states who fought out for Honours over eight days and their coaches and managers there was not even a certificate presented on the day !….The Hosts got the Fairplay Trophy unfairly and were not cheered on by even a single team…there was no cup or trophy for the second and third teams….Local Chennai Editions of Leading Newspapers carried results but reserved headlines and content only for Tamil Nadu Team Performance
Yet our Team was very cheerful and bonded brilliantly…so overhelmed is Western India Football Association with this Girls team performance and for coming second that they are felicitating the Team on January 7,2009 and in a seperate function,the President of the Association and our Aviation Minister,Mr Praful Patel too will be felicitating them
In fact sources tell us that All India Football Federation has selected four Maharashtra Girls in the First List of 40 probables for the India Team….believe that daughter is one of these four…she captained the team against Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka who we beat 3-1and 5-0 respectively…In an opening encounter she also earned a Valuable Green Card for brilliant goalkeeping that gave five points to Maharashtra
Hindustan University had played hosts to the Football Teams and matches too were held at their grounds on Campus…The University is 35 kms from Chennai on the Old Mahabalipuram Road and can be accessed through the IT Expressway as well as from the the Chennai Airport Side…Did both routes…IT Expressway has Toll Booths and surprisingly for an Expressway it has a lot of vehicular,pedestrian and even animal traffic…..Infosys Campus stands out from others of Satyam,Polaris,TCS and HCL …Oh ! and I noticed that the controversial Maytas Infrastructure Board on a large Tract of Undeveloped Land on the Expressway.Satyam has three seperate Buildings at three different locations on the Expressway
Rediscovered Chennai in many other ways too…traffic snarls are common in peak hours…Tamilians refuse to speak Hindi even if they can….flew a kite with a long Tail on Marina Beach for Rs 10….had local raw mangoes,cucumber and hot cauliflower ‘bhajias’ too on the beach…attacked Spencers and Citi Centre Malls where at the former, wifey demolished quite a few ‘Pani Puris’ !…she is very discerning about her ‘Paani Puris’ and rated these as superb !…because the filling had potatoes!
Visited for Lunch and Dinner on seperate days an affliated club,the Madras Gymkhana Club….the variety of food and the low prices were simply amazing…Dishes are priced between Rs 10 and Rs 100 !…wished we had stayed here too at it’s residential facilities as it was extremely reasonable and centrally located…we had put up at a Corporate Client’s Guest House near the airport
You got to unwind and de-stress on the beaches on the Chennai-Mahmallapuram Stretch…the ECR or the East Coast Road is the stretch….have an a-la-carte Lunch at the Taj Fisherman Cove’s ‘Bay View’ on the Beach Open Air restaurant and Dine at the ‘Sea Crest’ of the MGM resort…superb buffet for Rs 600…We negotiated Rs 300 for the buffet for the girls of the Maharashtra Team…… Both resorts give you access to exclusive stretches of the beach….It is really heaven…..strong but not to chilly winds,lawns gently sloping on to the beach from one side and the waves rolling on to the beach from the other !…No one wanted to leave and wanted Time to stand still !
It was an ideal way to begin 2009 !
My next vist to Chennai will surely be sooner than the earlier gap…prospects of conducting some training workshops in Chennai for a leading bank and a leading broking House loom ahead