For many years now I have been wanting to visit this Railway Museum inside the ICF (Integral Coach Factory) Perambur in Chennai. This small museum recently celebrated its 12th anniversary too and I managed to go to it today only.
What’s the occasion you might be asking?
As parents many of us complaint that our kids are watching TV or with Tablet Devices all the time, not spending time outside or have total lack of interest on history or science. Mostly we complain and not do anything about it. I decided I will make a change with me. Today and Tomorrow I took leave from work and decided to take my son around the city. Day 1 the stop was Railway Museum. As a child I always enjoyed train sets and whenever I travel abroad I don’t miss a chance to travel in trains there – as they are always better maintained than India. I still have fond memories of my first visit abroad in 1998 and it was to world famous York Railway Museum in UK – the largest railway museum in the world.
The Regional Railway Museum near Villivakkam in New Avadi Road, Chennai is small. The museum is open six days a week except Mondays, from 10AM to 6PM. Entrance ticket is Rs.10 per person and Rs.100 for Video camera (they consider DSLR to be video camera based on size), I didn’t complain as I was happy to spend time with my son showing a Rail museum in our own city.
The campus houses several old discarded coaches in the open garden, models of engines and spare parts on display in the inside building. There is a small toy train ride for kids fun, which costs Rs.20 per head, what the heck I went for it too.
Apart from coaches and engines there was in display old ledgers and other artefacts used by railway in olden days. Interesting.
We spent nearly two hours in the museum including the toy train ride, killing our time by even watching the video show. Generally you can cover the whole museum in less than a hour and that won’t be rushing. Just like any other place in Chennai during summer carry plenty of water bottles with you.
I just finished reading this book Aisle be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya in one sitting, that’s telling a lot on how enjoyable the book was. Its a small book of 210 pages in large fonts, a comfortable package to read in one go. There is no thinking material in the book, through and through a hilarious bundle of words.
Before I proceed, let me confess what made me look into details of this book in Flipkart was the gorgeous model shown in the cover of the book. I guess the author got fixated by her that he has posted a YouTube video on the shooting of this cover!. There has always been a romantic charm to flying and flight attendants, I believe its not appearance alone that matters, its how they present themselves and especially how they carry the uniform (red is always hot) that matters. Imagine me wearing a well stitched and exquisite suit, I am sure still I won’t impress you like a Singapore Airline or a BA In-Flight supervisor. The book I assure you is not on the genre of the cover, its just unadulterated humour.
The author Rishi Piparaiya is head sales and marketing for a financial services multinational, who is said to be over-worked and over-travelled. Who said corporate executives don’t have a sense of humour, the author has proved them all wrong with a vengeance.
If you are like me and have travelled abroad quite a lot, you will know how I tedious Air travel can be. Especially after 9/11, you want to just reach your destination quickly and safely – that’s the only thing that occupies your mind. We miss out on the fun Air travel can be, seeing different airports/cities, people of various nationality, families, corporates and airport duty free shopping. This book tries to twist all these tedious things to humour. Rishi has a way to laugh on every imaginable embarrassing situation associated with Air travel. Whether it is access to Airport Lounges, asking for upgrade, getting out from window to restroom, squeezed in middle seat and immigration. He has the audacity to suggest a list of 11 essential travel items which even includes a stink bomb for leaving in Airport taxies that cheat you.
Needless to say, don’t buy this book if you are looking for anything other than a good laugh, especially not for travel advice. The author would have done a better service to his paid readers by rewriting the second half of the book, the tone becomes monotonous and the humour repetitive.
Yesterday I had gone to Tirumala Tirupati to offer my prayers to Lord Venkateswara. While driving up hill, nearly 3/4th of the way up on the right hand side in a hair-pin bend you can spot a sign board saying “Bashyakara Sannidhi”. Stopping your vehicle here and walking about 15-20 steps up you will see the Sanidhi for Udayavar a.k.a Sri Ramanujar.
The small temple here is on the walking path from plains to temple, at Step No.3260 in a place known as முழங்கால் முடிச்சு (Muzhankal Mudichu, knot below your knee and above angle) signifying the climb in this stretch is painful. It is said Sri Ramanujar rested here before he climbed up to Tirumala.
Sri Ramanujar is a Vaishnavite Acharya who is known for his reformist, was born in Sriperumbudur and is credited with the design of daily rituals performed in Tirumala Tirupati sanctum-sanctorum till date.