At the Mall
We went over to the new City Centre shopping mall, on Radhakrishnan Salai. It’s a huge, ornately decorated white chunk of masonry – winged gryphons squatting on the corner of the roof! – sitting incongruously among much smaller shops. I assume that the surrounding buildings will now change to catch up with this one, if it attracts customers. Already there is a new Levi / Reebok store across the street.
The people who have put it up (here’s an article in the Hindu about it, printed before the opening: No market for malls?) have decided to leave things like utilitarian signage for later: I assumed that the front entrance would be on Radhakrishnan Salai, but I was waved away; had to make a u-turn, drive into a side road, and then hunt among construction debris for the actual entrance gate.
Like Spencer Plaza, it has an underground parking garage, but the entrance and exit ramps are very narrow and tightly curved. It was okay for me in my small car, but not much fun, I imagine, for SUVs. None of the columns in the garage were lettered and numbered; nor was it at all clear, once we reached the lobby, how to get up or down between the several floors.
The lobby was enormous, with more baroque (or neoclassical? What?) decorations, along with a couple of palm trees, and, for the moment, the very modern motifs of ongoing construction.
Lifestyle is there, huge, sprawling; and Landmark book store; and a few small clothing shops. The rest are yet to come (the Cookie Man has a pushcart, and a banner declaring that he will be baking soon).
I loved this juxtaposition: sort-of classical lines and a blue dropcloth; but a guard came up while I was taking the picture and told me that photography was not allowed – why? Seeing it was the high point of my visit. We drifted like anxious ghosts through the overscaled place, past gleaming goods which we desired, even though we had no place for them in our lives.
I will return to haunt the mall again, but perhaps not until all the signs go up.