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Chennai Times...

I have been working in Chennai for nearly 2 and a half years, right from July 2000.  During these years I have been staying with my friends in rented houses. I have shifted houses nearly 4 times in Chennai. The most pleasant days were at Ambattur.

We were 6 of us in a 1500 Sq-Ft spacious house. All 6 of us were quite different in our characteristics. Yet we glued together so well  and had lot of fun in the house. Once It so happened that the house owner who lived downstairs called us up via phone and asked us to shut up. By that time, it was 11:00 in the night. I joined this gang @ Ambattur around 2001. By then they were living there for an year. Our office was walk-able from our house and hence we all had lot of time in the evenings to share with. Our day usually started at 8:00 AM in the morning. I should say, 8:00 AM is for me. Because Madhan and Ragavan were GYMmers and they had a practice of getting up as early as 6:00 OR 7:00 AM. "Radha Mohan's" (Radha from now on) day started by 9:30 AM. (He was a very good sleeper.). Viswanathan (Vichu, from now on) was also a GYMmer (He has got an impressive arm structure. His college-mates call him as "cuts" vichu.)  By 8:00 AM, every1 would be awake. The morning scenario looked like this:

Feroz would be lying down in his bed reading the morning newspaper. Radha would be sleeping. I would be playing pranks on Vichu and Vichu would try to evade me and concentrate on some other. Ragavan and Madhan would try to congest themselves with Feroz in the Bed. The three would be circulating newspaper leaves among themselves. By the time they finish, Newspaper would be in a pathetic state. Some time later Vichu also joined the elite newspaper gang. I was the only one who never joined them. Mostly I would finish my bath before the elite-gang disseminated into their morning duties.  Since the Ambattur house had two bathrooms, bathroom contentions were very rare. It happened only when all 6 of us were collectively late. However bathroom contentions did happen when Feroz took the newspaper to the bathroom for further perusal. Me and Madhan would shout at Feroz  from outside. Feroz invariably would turn deaf ears to us. Ragavan, later inculcated this bathroom-reading habit from Feroz and he is currently practicing it daily at the "triplicane" house.

Feroz was a "blackie Handsome" from REC-Trichy (2000 batch). His dream was to do his MBA at IIM. ( Currently he is doing his MBA at SP-Jain College at Pune. SP-Jain is as good as IIM. So he should be a very contented man now.). He had great interest in Cricket and had represented his district even during school days. At office, He was the pet of his manager and life was sailing smooth for him. However he was a lazy fellow at home. He would silently take away the "hot water" prepared by Madhan for his morning ablutions. Poor madhan ! He would shout for a while and shut up for the rest. (I am sure that this is not the reason why my HTML editor shows "mad man" as a spelling correction for "Madhan" :-)) Even prior to this, Feroz  had earned a RobinHood reputation at the SSN college. When I joined the company as a campus recruit, I was put up in that college with all other new recruits. At the SSN mess, we had to wait in queue to get our dosas and tiffin. Feroz, who loathed the very concept of "waiting", would snatch dosas from others and eat it without the slightest guilt. Actually that was my first introduction to Feroz. On seeing Feroz, many others too adopted this RobinHood style at SSN. However all these things were done only in the light sense. On the other side, Feroz was dynamic, non-discriminating, open-minded and always ready to help any1 in need. He was known for his verbal strength in our gang (courtesy: The HINDU newspaper). He had performed brilliantly at the GRE and had scored a mammoth "22xx". (which he very often proudly quotes to emphasize his points whenever there is a dispute about a meaning of a less-known word) When I took up my TOEFL, he had helped me with lot of suggestions. In fact I scored a very good (277/300) with 5 on TWE. All credits goes to Feroz for helping with his advices and to Madhan, who had lent me the head-phones, the computer and the software. When I was preparing for TOEFL, I was in a very bad state. Having scored a meager 2030 in GRE, my morale was pretty low. I had scored only 630/800 in "Anals" part of GRE. Although I was very strong in Analysis, I could not put up my best at that time. I had very severe problems in expressing my full strength at that time. Somehow I managed to strike a good deal @ the TOEFL.

Madhan (popularly called as "madha") was from GCT-Coimbatore. He had a very practical outlook on life. In that sense, he was a very responsible person. At office, he was working on a JAVA project. At work, Madhan was like an incessant bull. He had skipped several night's sleep for his project. He wanted to pursue to his studies in the US. (currently he is pursuing his Masters at the US). Madhan was a very good TT player. We used to play TT during the rest hours at office. Feroz too tried to play TT. But he (could or did) not fit himself into the game. Initially I also started very poorly in TT. Nowadays I play not-a-bad-game. Among other, Vichu plays TT very well. Ragavan does not play TT. Radha never plays. Apart from TT,  Madhan was a good cricketer too.  He was a cricket team member of our office. At the house, Madhan was the interfacing-element-to-the-external-world. He took charge of collecting rent, buying cooking materials, paying money to servant maid etc.. Feroz would take care of common-charges. Feroz  used to maintain an "ithu-pona-notebook" (a shattered note book) for maintaining accounts. None other than Feroz could understand how account was maintained in it (OR) could possibly be maintained in it.

Vichan,(the chan) was from Anna University. Despite this fact, he was a very good athlete. Only a perfect athlete could maintain the spirit even after going through an academic cauldron like the "anna university". No wonder, He did maintain his spirit ! He had scalped medals for athletics even after his college days. He had a bureau full of medals and prizes (for athletics, quiz etc.) at his home (at karaikudi). Vichu was a kind, sympathetic guy who would always help others even before they ask. He was a very good narrator of incidents also. He always gave proper expressions to his speech and we all would have a nice time listening to his commentaries.

"Radha is an impractical man" is certainly NOT a befitting remark for a guy, to whose eyes, impractical things seem practical ! Radha was from Anna university (Vichan's classmate) and he was certainly one of the strong-heads in our gang. He was (is) known for his intellect in his office. His stature in the office raised to unknown heights after he fixed an excellent bug in his client's software. The BUG was unsolved for nearly 4 years and it was causing tremendous loss to his client. Believe me ! This is true. He took 2 months to fix it. All throughout the 2 months he thought only of that problem and nothing else. If my memory is correct, he fixed the bug just before Diwali. He proposed the fix on the evening before diwali to his PL. His PL asked him to ascertain it and left for his hometown for Diwali. Radha came to house that night by 9:00. The test case was running in the office. That particular bug would take nearly 8 hours to get simulated. He was so enthusiastic about it that he left to office again by 1:00 AM in the night to verify whether his fix was correct. It was correct, of course. Radha had a delightful diwali that year. Apart from this intellectual outlook, Radha was (is) a serious devotee of "ParthaSarathi".  He travelled to the "ParthaSarathi" temple at triplicane from Ambattur continuously for 30 days in the evenings. The distance spans nearly 15 KMs and Should I need to tell about the "Chennai Crowd" ? He would start at 7:00 PM daily and return back by 11:00 PM. Once he entered the house, I would yell at him as "Poosari" (temple priest). I had a regular habit of calling him like that. He would never mind it. His message (silence) would always be straight -- "I dont give a damn". Ok, Let us turn to another side of Radha. He had an excellent habit of engaging himself in something or other. If he stayed in the weekends @ chennai, he would either go to office OR read some spiritual texts OR read religious texts OR at least read Birbal' story OR sleep peacefully.  Another notable point in Radha was his cleanliness. He would lose his appetite if the serving room was not clean. In fact before I joined these people, all guyz except Radha would have their dinner in a small kiosk near our room. However Radha had a great revulsion towards the kiosk. He would travel to "Vasantha Bhavan" to fill his stomach. Further more, the cleanliness factor in Radha would manifest itself as an non-touchable attitude towards my shorts. He always suspected presence of some miscellaneous dried fluid in it. I do not want comment on the correctness of this particular suspicion. The best part of Radha is his mental strength. If he decides to do a job, he will do it. Nothing on earth can deter him. He is generally least bothered about any hurdles that might come in front. In fact I have had lot of interesting experiences with him that it would not be a wonder if "My experiments with Radha" turns out to be a better seller than the "truth" one.

At last comes Ragavan.  He was my classmate in college days and he was (is) a strongly built man. During college days, we had NOT known each other much except that he was my classmate. Ragavan was a famous figure in Hostel. He was a very simple man. So simple that, while in hostel, he would invariably retire to his hostel-famous attire -- small towel around his hip. At the Ambattur house, we both would go to office together by walk. Others went to office at different timings. Some of them had bikes. So we both would start by 9:30 or 10:00. Ragavan was a man at deeds. He had earned a very good reputation at office after successfully completing Windows projects in very quick time. Ragavan is an idealist and likes to do things in the best possible way. At the Ambattur house, Ragavan would generally be listening to people rather than chatting. However his theories on marriage, especially on first night and tenth night, were famous among our roomies.

Ok, I have written about every1 in that house except myself. I would wait for my friend's comments on me and upload the same later. Finally, I would like to tell the sun-sign of all of my friends:

Madhan:  July 16th - Cancer
Feroz   :  Mar 17th -  Pisces
Radha  :  Sep 26th -  Virgo + Libra cusp
Ragavan: Oct 23rd - Libra (he calls himself scorpio)
Vichan :  Oct 15th - Libra
Sarnath:  Sep 6th  - Virgo

Have a Nice day !