Those of you who follow these ramblings of The Man from Madras Musings would know that MMM is quite fond of Egmore Station, though he would be the first to admit that it is not what it was. The other day MMM was happy to note that the railway authorities were equally glad to see MMM for, when he entered the station, he saw this electronic signboard. You get the message too, don’t you? The Indian Railways, it said, welcomed MMM. And in case MMM did not get it the first time, it welcomed him again. And for good measure, again, and again and again. And then once more, if MMM is not mistaken.
The effusive welcome notwithstanding, MMM was keen to know the platform from which his train was to depart. What with contending with a political meeting on the way, MMM was rather short on time. And to compound it, he was travelling with his good lady who believes in arriving at a railway station when the intended train is just about leaving it. But of train arrivals and departures there was not a scrap of information. The electronic display board had been put to good use welcoming passengers, but as to more important information that it needed to offer there was none. The only option was to listen to the public address system, which probably had been installed when the station was inaugurated. “Bark bowow,” it went. And then “Bark bark bark bowow, bark bark.” There were lots more of it, but MMM will spare you the details leaving you with the gist. You had to sharpen your ears to the utmost to make out what was being said. Eventually, after repeatedly listening to it, this almost uniformly canine language revealed some syllables that could be comprehended. Based on this, MMM made his way to his platform, his good lady boldly leading the way.
The path was not smooth and even the good lady, who is not to be easily daunted, was somewhat shaken. The station provides, as you know, escalators for going up but not for coming down and, so, while progress is fast in one direction, it slows down considerably in the other. The stairways, though wide, are bottlenecks. These tend to become more bottlenecked when someone decides to regurgitate (to put it mildly) all along the steps. Of cleaning staff there was no sign and so the recycled matter remained where it was, with passengers and porters negotiating it with care, hands and kerchiefs pressed to the nostrils and eyes trying not to look.
MMM and his good lady made it, or just about.