“This Is What 70 Looks Like,” REDUX

WHAT YOUR DOLLARS DID
Senthil Kumar, the school’s director, talked to me back in February about his great hope that he could take the teachers by train and by plane to Chennai (Madras).  Honestly? I never thought he could pull it off, but donations from the fundraiser, “This is What 70 Looks Like,” allowed it to happen — 
Here is  Senthil’s description of the day, including the first-ever flight which contributions from “This is What 70 Looks Like”  provided for the teachers on India’s Independence Day this summer.
Two firsts: airplane, metro

 Another First: Chennai’s Metro

Yes, now I am here to tell you all the joy we had with our Chennai visit! This Independence day was a very special and memorable one for all of us, especially the teachers of the School and certainly you did make this possible. They are so grateful to you for this love and are waiting in wings to tell you their joyful experience in person.
Our original program was well-planned with the mid-day plane trip to Chennai and returning back by the night train. But on the day of the program an SMS woke me up, telling me the flight would be delayed for nearly 10 hours!!! I was worried and disappointed and immediately cancelled all the return train tickets so that at least we could get back some coins. And instead booked  bus tickets for the next evening, not pleasant but we  had no alternative.
I had  wanted to have the plane ride during day time but this did not materialize and I was sorry for this,  as the teachers could have seen the sky and the clouds and have gotten the  additional feel and joy of flying. And another hiccup was that both at Trichy and Chennai airports now they use the aero-steps to board the plane which leads one straight into the plane,  not leaving the passenger to have a glimpse of the carrier you are travelling in. This saddened the teachers a bit as they wanted to see the plane they were travelling in.
Apart from this,  everything was joyful! After the traditional flag-hoisting for India’s  Independence Day at the School in the morning, we ate  lunch at home, then started in the evening to Trichy by the School van and were in time for the flight. The teachers enjoyed the security checks as they saw with their own eyes how far the authorities take care to ensure the safety of the plane and the passengers. And in the spacious aircraft there were not many travelling – it was half empty. After the whiz-off we were in Chennai barely within an hour’s time,  reaching there at midnight.
We spent the night in the airport verandha and in the early morning the booked vehicles arrived at the airport to pick us up. We went to Koimbedu, the bus terminal,  and refreshed ourselves and had breakfast. Then it was the joyful trip on the Metro train which has been recently introduced in Chennai.. Boarding at Koimbedu we got down at Alandur, the tail end station and from here went to Vadapalani Lord Muruga Temple and then to Ashta Lakshmi temple at Besant Nagar on the beach.
Later we wade through the town passing through Santhome Church and various places of interest and reached the beach housing the samadhis of two former great Chief Ministers Anna and MGR.
Samadhis
Samadhis (funerary monuments) near the beach, Chennai
After spending some time here and playing in the sea a little, though it was terribly hot, we went to T.Nagar area for our lunch and then for the teachers to do some shopping.
SHOPPING Area, Chennai

SHOPPING , T. Nagar in Chennai

Then it was getting late for the bus, so we had to rush and caught the bus at the last minute by 1930 hrs and reached Kulithalai in the early morning,  around 0430 hrs. Our School van was waiting here at the school to pick up the teachers and drop them back at home safely. We thanked the loving Lord for protecting us all the way through in a special way.
Every one was so delighted, dear Mary Ellen, and this joy belongs to you and all those who contributed on your Birthday. Words are not enough to thank you and so we send our hearts to thank you and all your loved ones for this love and help.