Did you know there is platform no 9 3/4 at our own Chennai central Station? Only it is called platform number 2a. The notice board shows Platform no 2A against your train. You follow the signboard and reach the platform between 2 and 3 only to find a few shops. No tracks!So you stand there confused as people either point to platform 2 or platform 3 as 2A. There is comfort in numbers as a few others are also looking to board the same train. Then a porter tells you to keep walking and voila!

If you have to leave home by 6 a.m and hate the food available on Brindavan Express - idli vada/pongal-vada/masala dose/bread-omelette/soupu-soupu/masalavade/ molaga bajji/ veg biryaani/ boli-obbat - there is a tastier option. You can pack tasty takeaway food from Hotel Saravana Bhavan at the station . Sambar sadam + VAT @ 2% at Rs.38.24 with a packing Charge of Rs.2.50 along with banana chips. Yum and filling. Of course you can opt for curd rice, puliyodharai, idli-vada or khichidi!
And if you have to buy food from IRCTC, make sure you are charged right. Have you ever noticed the price list nailed near one entrance to the coach? I hadn't till yesterday and I have always paid Rs.5 for tea while I should only have been charged Rs.3!

You are welcome!

If you know where to find the standard luggage charges to be paid to the porter based on the number of boxes please do share. And is there a place where you can fill in a complaints form about the status of the coach - snack tray falling down, backrest adjustment lever not working, bathroom taps leaking etc? Where can one find the guy who walks with a huge screw driver before the departure of the train?
18 Responses
  1. Oh, I didn't know about the Rs.3 tea...I've always paid Rs.5 for it, too, and on top of that, they never fill up the cups properly and I have to ask each time....

    I hate these small fiddles....!


  2. Praveen Says:

    Ah you are back?! :)

    Chennai Central is a mess. Hate that place. One more thing about the Saravana Bhavan there is you always have to stand and eat!

    What about the kutcheris? Did you get to attend any?

  3. Usha Says:

    Deepa: I don't mind paying Rs5 even though the tea is awful. But the guy should not be quoting it at 5 - smart guy, he knows no one looks at the notice!
    There's another trick that the masalavada guys use - they will always give you 4 pieces and charge you Rs.20. I always got a plate and threw 2 or 3 away. it is only on this trip I realised that he gives single pieces too!

    Praveen: All big stations are a mess. In bangalore too, cantonment and Whitefield are much better than City.
    Oh, saravana has a a/c restaurant upstairs. you can sit comfortably and eat.
    Kacheris - just got to attend Sikkil Gurucharan and Aruna Sayeeram. Missed Sanjay and yesudas because of functions at home. All other Sabhas are starting after the 15th. Dont think I will go again this year!
    Must look for membership in gayan samaj.

  4. Hip Grandma Says:

    'vayitherichhal'....... is the word. I just decided to give up rice and you post a picture of Saravana Bhavan specialities and mention Sambhar sadam and puliyothirai. I just helped myself to a little rice and vattal kuzhambu and put it away remembering my resolution and here you are adding insult to injury.Kaai with you.

  5. dr.antony Says:

    I had reasons to go to Chennai recently.I was in for surprise.I studied at MMC in 1980 and I couldn't see any better changes at the station.In fact,I thought the station looked better those days.All other railway stations had face lifts and look much better,including those in Kerala.
    I also visited the Saravana Bhavan ,but it was no way better than the way side shops. The whole station is dirty and a mess.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like you are fascinated with this platform, if I recall you had written one more post about this Harry Potter style platform ... as usual in Usha's style this post too is an interesting read ...

  7. starry eyed Says:

    Totally intrigued by the platform 2A. Maybe we have our own Hogwarts Express starting from there!!!

  8. Reema Says:

    :O :O I didnt know that!! have u tried telling the vendor its 3 rs? what did they respond?
    Such platforms exist in Howrah like 4 and 4A but separately.

  9. Pradeep Nair Says:

    Hi Usha,

    In Yeshwantpur, what everyone thinks is platform number 1, is actually platform number 6. And platform number 1 is at unused the backside of the station.

    How are you doing, Usha? With Twitter and FB, time on Blogger has reduced a lot. Hope to keep coming back more often.

    Regards, PRADEEP

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I am Glad i came across this website.Added to my bookmark!

  11. I remember being totall stumped when I came across those shops! :-D

    And that 'You are welcome ' is so so YOU. :-D

  12. seriously that platform 2A is a big pain. i keep forgetting about how its a half platform and getting really stressed every time!

  13. hillgrandmom Says:

    The platforms at Chennai station are quite difficult to find I agree. But otherwise, what I appreciate about the station is that there is smooth movement at the station and quite convenient in my view. Maybe my expectations are too low.

  14. I always get the feeling the harry potter feeling when I board at 2A :)

  15. skm Says:

    nice post which brings to life the happenings at a platform

  16. Station 2A reminded me of Hogwarts Express.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Madam,

    We look forward to your continued new posts.

  18. diya Says:

    Usha, thanks for the insight into life at Chennai station. I wish I had read this before going there (we went to Pondicherry via Chennai in December). Chaiwallas are like autowallas, the minimum meter eading is 17 but have you seen any auto taking less than 20??