This Deepavali, we had lots of relatives at home and instead of whiling away time at home, we chose to hit nearby places- Pondy & Mahabs on Day 1 and Talakona, Horsley Hills on Day 2. To our delight, it was a nice experience, as roads were empty. With most of the people relaxing at home and everyone in holiday mood, driving around was fun.
- Toll booths were largely empty. At times the toll attendant was even lazy to scan the receipt and verify if it is genuine. He would open the gate as we flash the receipt.
- RTO Booths where tourist vehicles need to take permit- was also almost empty. In fact on Chennai-Tirupati sector, they were almost non existent.
- At Talakona, under staffing was evident. On a normal day, a guard would perform detailed scan of the vehicle, count no of water bottles and demand a deposit against these bottles, which most of the tourists forget to collect back. This time, there was no checks. Only 1 guard was at duty.
- Highway hotels were not crowded. Waiting time was very less.
- T Nagar's Ranganathan street was almost deserted as if a curfew has been imposed. It is very difficult to see that street so empty on any given evening.
- Parking attendants were late to arrive. Those who went early got free parking.
- Waterfalls and other tourist places weren't as crowded as they used to be.
- Tiruvanmiyur local train ticket booth, which would have long queue on most of the day, was by and large deserted. Getting a ticket was quick & easy.
- Sholinganallur to Koyambedu took just about 20-25 mins in car, instead of 90+ on a normal evening
This is just FYI.