May 2, 2007

Splashing under Scorching Sun

With Mercury constantly on rise like price of real estate in chennai, I decided to beat the heat by splashing in aqua-blue water of swimming pool. I googled up and came up with a few swimming pools in and around Velachery. We know that entire Velachery is one swimming pool during monsoons, but with this acute water shortage problem,maintainig some 5 swimmingpools around the area was something I didn't expect.

So, I dusted off my Airtel landline phone that came along with the "so-called" broadband connection. Only"Broooaaad' minded people will call their service, a broadband.
My first call to a local swimming pool's number was answered by a sleepy voiced 5 years old girl. I must have interrupted her from Jetix or POGO, she snapped saying that their parents are still asleep and of course its a wrong number.
My second try was answered by an old lady who was literally startled, when I asked if the pool is open to public or do I have to become a member. Well, after using all words of apology in my vocabulary, I put the receiver down and started serious wondering how irresponsible these guys are, while giving out phone numbers to yellowpages or is it any typo in their sites.

So, not in a mood to take any risk, I decided to go and enquire in person. Two of the pools listed are in a residential community guarded by Pedigree-fed- German Shepherds. I dropped those from my list, as I have heard that human flesh is yummier than Pedigree.

The last one in my list was very close to where I live. But I never had any idea about it. Multi-storey apartments and some shops were lining the somewhat narrow lane, but there seemed to be no sign for a swimming pool. Hey wait! I see a small board, saying 'some' swimming pool. Atlast I found one swimming pool, sandwitched between two apartments. There were too many spectators than swimmers. I enquired about the timings and charges. They charge Rs.25 per hour. Hats off to the ever-ticking calculative brain of its owner, for converting a vacant plot into a small pool with minimal water treatment facilities and generating decent revenue. The value of that plot would have multiplied many folds since he would have acquired it. So he can sell it off any time he wishes is the best price in the market.

Thanks to Government of India for giving a day off to "uzhaipaali" like me on "Uzhaipaalar dhinam". I decided to test the waters of pool on that particular day. Swimming is fun, when done with company and I gathered a few friends of mine. There were nearly 10 to 12 people in the already medium sized pool. But no one was around to collect money or to monitor the people. We had to pay 25 per head (and also to whole body) at the nearby house.
With great expectations, I stripped off to a shorts and don't imagine doing this in a changing room with many lockers. All you have to do is, change clothes in one corner and there are hooks available where you can hang your shirt and towel.

Ok. Ok. For 25 Rs. this is what you will get these days!
Though always I love to dive into water head first, considering the crowd and unknown depth, I decided to use the rusted ladder.
Wow! the chlorinated water was cooooool enough to soothe the tensed nerves..... But wait! still I am standing in not-even-waist deep water. It is understandable, the pools are designed in a sloping floor and get deeper gradually.
Only after wading all over, it dawned on me that the 80% of pool is 3 feet deep and the last 20% is 6 feet. With most of the people occupying 6 feet area, it was like a kid's bath tub. My friends looked at me as if I am a wriggling worm and as if praying to Jesus, we all had to kneel down so as to get immersed.

I could at least stand the sun's glare and my friends' cursing looks,but not the saracastic grin of a 'peeping-Tom' aunty with toothbrush in her mouth from nearby apartment....


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