Chennai That Carlsen Hasn't Seen

Время публикации: 18.11.2013 18:44 | Последнее обновление: 24.11.2013 23:57

Translation from Russian - CN

I asked the guy working at the hotel which hosts the match if there's a supermarket somewhere nearby.

The question wasn't a simple one and as it turned out it didn't have a clear answer. Having no idea of what I need to buy (actually I wasn't sure about it either) he marked the place with lots of shops on the map and it seemed like it shouldn't have been far from the hotel.  

"Can I get there without using transport?" I asked.

His face showed I definitely couldn't. "You should go out and take rickshaw." 

Now my face was telling what I think. 

"Tuk-tuk," he explained what I had to do. Soon I understood I wasn't best in doing 'tuk-tuk', so I waited for 15 minutes until he finished working and proposed to give me a ride with his motocycle.  

Why I couldn't get there by foot became clear to me the very moment I went out of the building. The traffic area is right closeby and the first thing you should do is cross it. That's possible only if you step towards the vehicle. Choosing which one exactly is up to you: the car, motocycle, auto rickshaw, bicycle... There's no sense in waiting - the traffic never stops.   

Moreover, it's impossible to cross the street entirely. Wherever you go you will have "an escort" of those vehicles mixing in pedestrians (no need in repeating that sidewalks here are very conditional), small shops, trash, petard explosions...    

"We have a festival these days," my driver explained me. Apparently, those explosions should have been connected to it, but I decided not to specify.

"Maybe I have to wear a helmet?," I asked understanding that this is my very first time "travelling" with the motocycle. 

"I can give you one," he said. "But believe me you don't really need it. It's absolutely safe."

He was right, that was safe indeed! 

* * *

My cicerone is called Abhishek. He takes me to the district where, mostly souvenir shops are concentrated. "In order to choose something from the things I've never seen before, I need some time and that means I will be a thief of your time.." I am telling him.   

Abhishek protests. "Forget about it. My shift is over and I am absolutely free now. Usually I watch TV, sleep after work... I don't really care what to do."

Abhishek speaks fluent English. He is educated and you can see that he differs from the average citizen of the area. Actually he is not from this area at all, "I came here from the North of India, we have a different language there, so I don't always understand them here," he smiles and adds that there are overall 20 languages in his country. He works at the hotel for four days, then he has two free days.   

I won't bother you with the stories on the local shops. I should only mention that the prices here compensate all the "inconveniences". For instance, you can find leather shoes for average of 200-600 rubles (4-13 EUR).  

Abhishek thoroughly checks the cheque after each purchase. I am not worried: they won't dare to cheat on him. Really?! They counted extra 360 rupee in the grocery.

He constantly reminds me to take care of my stuff in the street. 

* * *

"I don't know how about you but I am hungry," Abhishek revealed at the end of our journey. After all the warnings I got before leaving to India, I didn't really count on "unplanned dinner," but how could I refuse my guide's invitation after everything he has done for me? "Let's walk the walk!" I thought.  

"We are in one of the best restaurants in the city," Abhishek says pointing at the door which leads to a small crowded room. We proceeded to the upper floor not only because there were no places on the first floor. 

When you see others doing or having something that doesn't attract you very much, usually you think that won't touch you. I thought the same while watching people eating with hands from some rag. In several minutes, they brought the rag to me...

Soon the first dish was served. 

"You will have to eat with your hands," Abhishek tells me and shows how to do it. "Would you like to wash your hands?" 

I said yes.

The tap water is yellowish, but still better than nothing. 

My finger meets the source. It's tasty, but scorches my throat in a minute. 

The main dish is like Georgian khachapuri, you have to eat it in slices dipping them into the sources next to them. Mashed potatoes, peas and something else is inside.  

First I am a bit embarrassed to fully dip my fingers into the source, but Abhishek says, "You shouldn't be ashamed of it. There's no other way to eat it, only with your fingers." 

I let myself go and eat it as I am used to do it at home. Yes, that's how you eat in Inidan restaurants. 

No napkins are served, but Abhishek finds some specially for me. I needed a lot of them. 

Less food on my rag, more people around our table. I didn't eat it all, but the very moment I got up, my place was occupied by the new guests of the restaurant.

* * *

"Whenever you have a free day, take all your friends, I have way more interesting things to show."

I am planning to offer it Carlsen once he is done with the match. 


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