Flashback to NE monsoon, 2005

In August last year, I moved from a comfortable, spacious flat in a middle class residential area in Tiruvanmaiyur to a house in the middle of nowhere in Ambattur. My office was supposed to move to Ambattur in a few months and so when my owner in Tiruvanmaiyur asked me to vacate the flat, my roommate and I chose to move into Ambattur. We were young, we were foolish, and we paid for it through our noses.

Many people in Chennai may not have been to Ambattur. Those who are there and like the place, sorry, but I hated your locality. Ambattur is a not built for people to live in, nor is it meant for people to work in. It’s really mean for labour, preferably of the physical kind.

As you drive out of Mogappair, you get the feeling that you are leaving a city and entering the premises of a factory or a series of factory buildings. The dust on the road is like a haze, especially on the road between the Industrial Estate and the Old Town. There is not a mall or a restaurant in sight. For long stretches, it feels that civilization consists only of factories on barren grounds. The trucks – a countless number of them drive on this road – leaving endless potholes on it. Within the Industrial Estate itself, the roads are often not made of tar or cement, but of sand – the dusty kind.

I work nights and so I as drive back home in the night, it’s eerie. There are no lights on the roads, there are no people about except in front of the bus stand, and trucks rush by at a mad speed.

To make this worse, the rains arrived. We didn’t know then that it was going to be bad. Remember this was the North East monsoon of 2005. This was the season that changed the city’s image from a dry city to a wet one. I am sure people have had much worse experiences than mine, but for me this was a first, and hopefully a last.

During the first week itself, the Industrial Estate got flooded to knee-level. The road to Padi was so filled with potholes that there were more holes than the road on the road. Driving became a nightmare. And it just kept getting worse.

The only time I liked Ambattur surprisingly was when I went to the Rakki Theatre. Vijay’s Sivakasi was showing and the rundown theatre with its screaming and clapping audience was the ideal place to see the otherwise run-of-the-mill film.

I wish the suburbs are better connected to the city with good roads, proper residential localities and generally a better life. It’s simply not fair that people a few kilometers from the city have to live a life that is so different from that of the people in it.

2 Comments so far

  1. david appasamy (unregistered) on November 24th, 2006 @ 9:56 am

    Nandhu, welcome to the club! And thanks for speaking up.I often feel very lonely in voicing these concerns and frustrations. If enough of us speak up, hopefully it will be picked up and addressed. At any rate the Urban Renewal Project is supposed to address just such deficiencies. Lets hope it does.

  2. DAVID AMMASAMY (unregistered) on November 24th, 2006 @ 10:45 am

    Hello Mr.Loser. you say u work in the night and thats for bloody money and why are you cribbing about Ambattur.Its the abode for pseudos like you.For your info Labourers are also humans why are you trying to demean them and who are you to say which place is good for labourers and which for big time I mean BIG Time LOSERS like you.Why don’t you suggest some ideas from your pea brain which can be worked to improve the localities conditions.Don’t put your lamentations and pain being a loser which you are in here LOser.

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