A CLoud of Dust
The last two months have taken their toll on my health. I have been coughing ever since and boils have erupted on my face. My work takes me to the Guindy Industrial Estate, where my office is located. I have tried to consciously avoid taking up any offer that came up in the area and the only time that I have really taken the Guindy roads was to reach the airport. But a couple of months ago, I was forced to re-consider my decision considering that other factors had worked in my favour.
But everyday, the journey from Adyar Depot to Guindy is tedious and at the end of the day, I feel dirty, covered in a layer of dust and fumes, emitted by the heavy vehicles (amongst others) that take the route everyday. Second, the traffic is horrendous. Even if you are late by a minute, you are bound to get stuck at the signal for quite a length of time. With the sun warming up too quickly, it does not paint a colourful picture. To add to my woes, I take the share-auto because there are only two direct buses to Guindy from Adyar Depot. Moreover, the buses stop farther away from the Guindy subway. The share-autos squeeze in as many folks as possible making your life a living hell. It is illegal too. Sadly, nobody even protests against such callous behaviour. But I put my foot down and refuse to move from my place; and to my surprise, I found out that other women were waiting for someone like me to vent out my fury and they promptly followed suit.
The footpath that leads to the Guindy subway is in a deplorable condition. The pavement blocks are uneven and some of the blocks jut out from the pavement. So if you don’t watch your step, you could end up with a broken neck. I had a fall during one of my trips down the subway, and not a single soul helped me to my feet. Such utter disregard for a fellow being has also resulted in death, when the public does not give accident victims immediate assistance.
The Guindy subway is guaranteed to make your stomach churn. Piles of garbage welcomes you when you walk down the subway stairs and there are pamphlets, paper and plastic strewn all over the place. Farther away, there are blind people who earn their living by begging. Sometimes, I feel that I should close my eyes to the filth around me and just get to my office.
The subway opens into the bus-stand and there are throngs of people who abound the place and refuse to make way for folks who are trying to get to their destination. I manage to take the Thiru Vi Ka Estate road, only to play a round of block and tackle with the share-autos, buses, lorries and the bad roads. The junction inside the road is extremely dangerous since none of the vehicle operators are willing to stop and make way for others to move. So at any given time, you will find that everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere and usually, it results in an accident. The roadside shops have made commuting difficult by encroaching the space, forcing commuters onto the main road who are left to fend for themselves against vehicles coming from both directions.
Named after the labour leader, Thiru Vee.Kalyanasundaram and once, the pride of Madras, the Guindy Industrial Estate is in a vegetative state today. But nothing is more powerful than public opinion. By forcing officials to take note of the situation, such deplorable situations can be turned around. A good lighting system, traffic regulation and maintenance of roads will put Guindy back on the map. We once had the foresight and spirit to set up industrial units that were the first of its kind, why not extend that commitment towards the revival of lost glory? And who knows, maybe my incessant coughing will also stop and the boils on my face may also disappear.