A dummies guide to Walking on the streets of Chennai! – Part 1

It is that day when the “Eureka” moment strikes! You decide that you need the company of some kind of cardio in your life to balance out all the carbs and saturated fat that’s generously laced all over your meals in the name of taste and good health (??)! You don’t have time to gym (and if you are anything like me, you don’t have time for many things) or take a yoga class or maybe you think yoga is for sissies. Just try it once and then you would know who the sissy is!! The only exercise that you can think of is walking – hey its free and is supposed to be the most effective cardio exercise gifted to mankind! If you are into running that helps too….but I am sticking to walking with this post here though running does make an appearance.

Disclaimer: The pointers listed out here are based  personal experiences so they are 200% true and are not exaggerated versions of  stuff that you think may never happen to you.. Before any of you “I Love Chennai” groups want to attack me, please note that the intention of this post is to look at life from a funny angle! Relax – stay cool and read on for your quota of wisdom and a few laughs and follow at your own risk (though I think you should take all this into consideration if you are thinking of walking on our lovely Chennai roads)

  • Image Courtesy: Internet

    Take out your shoes!!! Don’t even think of walking on the streets of Chennai with your Bata slippers or flip flops or any such footwear that would expose your feet – doesn’t matter whether its your toes or heels! They all need to be covered! Removing good shoes from your walking routine will ensure that you are left with dirty, cracked and sore feet,  not to mention the stuff that you could step on the streets of our beloved city – rocks, stones, crap (and I mean cow poop, dog poop and if you are really unlucky human poop), rotting food…. you get the drift, yes???  Avoid anything with heels and other fancy cushions – you don’t want to trip over the rocks, nails that protrude on the roads, broken pavements, sleeping mad men or anything else on the road ! 

  •  So if you don’t have a pair of shoes walk into your nearest foot wear store and invest in a pair of decent sneakers with some tread…. you will thank yourself later
  • While you are at the shoe store, make sure you get some pairs of socks! It’s disgusting to wear sneakers without socks especially when you exercise! The weather of our city will make sure your feet sweat and you don’t want to leave stinking shoes at your door step  as a welcome sign for guests entering your home – unless you hate them!       
Image Courtesy: Internet
  • Wear comfortable clothing……. no tight outfits or synthetic materials – these are the best friends of body odor! Read my comment on the weather – so unless you want people at home running away from you once you get home, you’d want to avoid such outfits. 
  • Always carry a small towel with you. They serve a dual purpose: Wipe off your sweat and cover your nose and mouth whole you pass  stinking and overflowing dumpsters, fish  markets (O God!), human pee  zones (O God!,O God!), smoke from burning trash and public toilets…….hmmmm 
  • Now that you have the basics set up, choose a time slot in the day when you would like to take a walk – I vote for morning. Early morning is the perfect time –
    1. the sun would  still be hiding behind the clouds,
    2. the atmosphere would be cooler and
    3. the most important pros of them all – there would be a very limited number of crazy motorists on the roads which translates to less honking, less emission (you can actually breathe fresh air) and lesser chances of someone running over you while use the pedestrian crossing!
    4. Plus it always feels great to spot that sleeping cat in the form of a bristled fur ball sitting atop an a/c vent on someone’s balcony or listening to that koel go “Cooooo….”! You can never spot such sights in the dark or listen to such beautiful sounds! 

      Image Courtesy: Internet
    5. Plus street dogs seem to bark less in the mornings and generally mind their own business! 
  • Traffic on the roads of Chennai starts as early as 6:30, so the earlier you leave the house, good for you it is! Less honking and less smoke – that’s bliss!
  • The later you leave, the more dog poop you would have to dodge. In India people don’t clean up after their pets – heck I’d be happy if they would clean up after themselves! (more on this later) 
  • So just start walking – pump those arms and keep to the sides of the roads.  Stay away from ditches and puddles and keep an eye out for loose stones, hanging branches or worse hanging wires! U don’t wanna get electrocuted!
Early Morning Traffic – Image Courtesy: Internet

Now, if you have trouble waking up around 5:30 AM in the morning, then you have no other choice but to walk after 6:00PM in the evening – technically speaking you could walk anytime during the day if you are ready to brave that heat stroke!

The tips to handle a walk in the evenings shall be shared in Part 2 of this post.

Evening Traffic – Motorist on the Pavement! See what I mean?
Image courtesy: Internet


    • Wow! really? I had recently been to the new city and I was suprised to find absent garbage piles….but there was no place to walk on the roads! they were too busy…..

      • It depends on the area where you went! No footpath worth its salt exists here. Walking is a nightmare, I live in Cantonment and even here , the story is same.:-(

  1. A bit harsh on Chennai, but guess, got to accept the reality…not really a walking city… I wish, cities were all as well planned as they are in US or Europe… great writing Swetha, reading through I could almost feel the smell 🙂

    • Hey that was not my intention. But as u say it is the reality and one good thing abt the people out here is that we still rise above all this n go about our lives 🙂 plus I guess v r lucky cos I hear there are other states worse than ‘singaara’ chennai

  2. Thank god, I have enough spcae in my community to walk, I dont have to go outside..

    It will be nice to have walkways,like we have in Hyderabad..

    • OK! now I am jealous!!! My only choice is to walk on the roads…but it does have its sweet moments like the time I spotted that furry cat on an a/c vent….that made me feel so happy 🙂

    • Hey Ankita, thanks for stopping by. Yes I do agree abt b’lore… Have been there a lot to know what u mean… And as u said before chennai is much better off when compared to other states…. But it helps to at least think that all this is funny

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this post. This kind of sums up my troubles going for walks in Chennai. Lol. I’ve resorted to skipping in the terrace.

    • Thanks……skipping on terrace is efinitely a good alternative 🙂 Its pretty sad that a decent city like ours is like this…can only imagine some other places…..

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