Give Madras back to us!!!

We don’t want any of those integrated townships. We don’t need no DLF. Nor a Mantri. Nor a Hiranandani. One thing that all these new age builders coming into the city has done is made this beautiful city of Madras completely unlivable. Land prices have shot up the roof. Rs. 4500 per sq. ft. in Siruseri. Rs. 10,000 per sq. ft in T Nagar. Come of it. This is Madras and the beauty of the city lied in its quaint colonies and the mada streets. Where are those now. Today when I drive past CIT colony in Mylapore it is difficult to see a single independent house. Only apartments. It is really sad. Look at SS Vasan’s House on Radhakrishnan Salai. It is a piece of disaster today. An ugly looking building which calls itself Acropolis. To people living in the city like me since birth we are quite happy to be wear the conservative hat. Of being a city with enduring values and new age thinking. Of being a city with a higher state of mind. I clearly see Madras going the Bangalore route and it is time to wake up.

26 Comments so far

  1. Ravi (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    Vinod, wow! A post which exactly reflects my thoughts. Can’t agree more!! Infact this was exactly my point as a comment to an older post in chennai metblogs about the huge apartment complexes mushrooming in most areas of Chennai. Yes, I literally long for the old Madras with those independent houses, surrounded with trees. Though apartments seem to bundle people together, in reality, people are more apathetic to one another.

  2. Pavithran (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

    Development is a simple fact of life. If it also involves throwing out the old and embracing the new then so be it. I would much rather see chennai turn into a concrete jungle than a village setting. We can always take a vacation if it gets too much!

  3. TSK TSK (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

    If you really cared so much, then your parents collectively shouldnt have had some many children Because all of them now, need a place to stay, a car to buy and child to educate. Maybe for you the big bunglows are becoming apartments. But to me the slums are also becoming apartments. In todays world itsa BE degree that has brought prosperity into the hands of millions. Economic liberalisation has benefitted millions in our country and its something that old madras never gave.

    On the contrary, I think townships have made life more livable rather than unlivable. if not for townships would u prefer that every part of chennai became a sowcarpet? And how arrogant of you to assume that its because of hiranandani and DLF that chennai is being killed.. If it werent for the supply of flats that they are creating.. prices would go even higher and the average software programmer could never afford a shelter for his head. Are those the values u want?

    Doubt you have a clue about economics or culture. Do new houses and office buildings have anything to do with conservatism? Im flabberghasted. Its just got to do with an economy doing well for itself

    If u want old madras like feel so much, then move to salem. i have complete disregard for the narrow and regionalist tone that this blog has.

  4. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

    Would you like to sacrifice economic prosperity for quaint tradition? I know I wouldn’t. At the same time, it is sad to see something that Chennai has prided itself on being eroded by these faceless, nameless, anonymous apartment complexes.

    I disagree with you on the fact that the townships are bad. The idea behind them is that people will move out to those townships, and this will significantly reduce traffic, considering that these are the people that will have cars and are the cause of the traffic on city roads.

  5. Vivek (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

    Is it only me who wants Chennai to become a little more cosmopolitan ?

    Independent houses are more prone to theft and armed robberies. Apartment complexes are relatively safer. Moreover, if you dont want land prices to be shooting furthur up, you need to accept multistory buildings. Grow up and look at the rest of the world. That’s how civilization develops.

    and Navaneethan,
    Can you elaborate exactly what quiant traditions are lost due to aparments? Living in huts or something?

  6. Lavanya (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

    >>Grow up and look at the rest of the world. That’s how civilization develops.

    Vivek, on the contrary, I think that is how civilization kills itself. Your statement assumes that the rest of the world knows better. And what works for one country must automatically work for the others. Untrue, imo.

  7. Ravi (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

    I think Lavanya’s statement was crisp and apt! Mad rush to grab lands, meteoric price rise, apathy to consumer, felling of trees, all concrete and steel – is this what we term as “development”? Sorry, I just can’t seem to buy that.

    And Vivek, check out the recent (maybe last one month or so) burgulary incidents in the city. Apartments have the clear majority.

    And what is that we lost earlier? Infact a house was in the reach for people in every walk of life. But now?

  8. Nilu (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 11:16 pm


    You argument is a logical fallacy.

    Firstly, you state, Vivek, on the contrary, I think that is how civilization kills itself

    Now, let us assume that is true. You go on to state, And what works for one country must automatically work for the others. Untrue, imo.

    If the first statement were true, it holds for civilizations. Which is independent of nation states and cultures. Then you go on to qualify your own sweeping generalization — which basically contradicts your own assertion. Worse, that qualification is supposed to be the counter argument.

    While I neither agree nor disagree with the original author whose rant deserves no mention, your ‘comment’ is certainly interesting — since it involves so many fallacies that I can’t quite say which one.

    I offer a prize money of Rs 100 for anyone who comes up with the exact fallacy that this is. I thought this belonged to inductive fallacies like Hasty generalization, Overwhelming exception, Biased sample, False analogy, Misleading vividness and Conjunction fallacy. But I can’t quite make my mind up.

  9. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:53 am

    Undeniably, Chennai is becoming ugly.

    The argument that building an apartment block where a large independent bungalow once stood gives affordable accommodation doesn’t really hold water. That bungalow and its ground would have been expensive, is now wildly exorbitantly expensive, and is sold to developers to build luxury expensive apartments. Nobody wins except the original owner and the developer. And even the original owner will be crying when he sees what the plot is worth in ten years time.

    Chennai can be developed without becoming ugly. It takes planning.

    We’re told that there will be a ‘plan for Chennai’ — but isn’t it too late for much of the city? hasn’t the damage been done?

    And when that plan comes along, will there be housing for all. And will that housing be within easy affordable reach of the work of its occupants?

  10. Guv (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:53 am

    Nilu, Lavanya’s statement had one full stop one too many. Remove the first one and read it again. And then, stop your monkeying efforts showing-off how intelligent you are; we all know you were too good for any group you ever belonged to!

  11. TJ (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:54 am

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Ten years ago, we were complaining about how Chennai wasn’t as aggressive as Bangalore in attracting investments. Now that the city is becoming the hub to reckon with, it is inevitable that more people migrate to it.

    It is part of the natural progression of the city. With growth come the pains associated to it.

    These developments may turn out to have a positive effect on the city perpetuating the need for better infrastructure to support it.

  12. Anonymous (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:29 am

    “I offer a prize money of Rs 100 for anyone who comes up with the exact fallacy that this is. ”

    Nilu Thaliava Kalakitta machi. Padikathavangalodu enna pechu. GUV now pls shutp!

  13. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 7:11 am

    Vivek, my argument against apartments was in calling them faceless & anonymous, and that it was sad to see the coquettish independent house of the past being replaced by them. I don’t know how you linked this up to quaint tradition.

  14. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 7:15 am

    And Vivek, how exactly does an apartment relate into the cosmopolitan nature of a city? If what I’m saying doesn’t make sense, you’ll know how little sense what you said made to me.

  15. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 7:26 am


    Isn’t a civilisation dependent on some definition of a nation-state or culture? I don’t know at what age you were thrown out of school, but around 5th or 6th standard, we were taught of the Mesopotamian civilisation, the Egyptian civilisation and so on and so forth. These have a specific tie to a particular nation/state/region, and do not apply as a sweeping generalisation.

    Lavanya referred to civilisation in singular. You tried to put a little too much scene (or film, if you prefer) and used “civilisations”, instead, perhaps referring to the entire world as one. There is no sweeping generalisation that she made, just a piece of absolute idiocy on yours.

    In the future, konjam vaaya potthikko. We have enough hot & polluted air to last us a lifetime, and your contribution is most unwelcome.

  16. Nilu (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 9:03 am


    I could go on to explain why you are wrong, but you won’t be convinced. So, I request Lavanya to clarify how her use of civilization is independent of a nation-state.

    Meanwhile, why are you so agitated?

  17. Nilu (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 9:11 am


    I tried to punctuate as suggested. It made no sense. Please let me know how you managed.

  18. ss (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    @tsk tsk quote of the century you have made “In todays world itsa BE degree that has brought prosperity into the hands of millions.”

  19. All you jobless mofos.. (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    Its all you BE mofo’s sitting in cubicles and typing these pieces of shit during work time..and you earn handful and talk about wearing a conservative hat..fucktards should wake up to reality..all you asswipes knew just to talk talk and talk and fuck nothing atall…
    Shame on chennai metblogs for letting those jobless scums to puke on the forum

  20. tsk tsk (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

    @Thad E. Ginathom

    Firstly i dunno what your point is.. because whatever you said has little or no legal or logical sense.

    Bunglows seldom to exploit all available FSI, and hence apartments definitely make the cost of land per squarefoot of developed area less.

    First, In your grandaddys time, anna nagar was a forest and triplicane was a high society area. In our times boat club road is the high society area and kelambakkam is the forest. hence the definition of centre of city, residential and commercial areas changes as the city spreads. This will inturn affect land prices everywhere.

    Second, just as you love to see your salary go up and your stocks rise.. so does everybody else. And when everybody gets alotta money, everyone wants to buy a house and a honda city. Given that everyone prefers to live in nungambakkam over KK nagar and kk nagar over pallikarnai cause each is closer to being ‘proper city’. Hence the staggering in price and hence the old bunglow in RK salai that can be rebuilt into 40 flats is more expensive over the bunglow in velachery that can be rebuilt into 40 flats.

    Third, Urbanisation of India is an irreversible reality as we industrialise. Hence Chennai will spread even faster. Unless GoTN increases the FSI and allows for sky scrapers – In which case, Chennai will go vertical.

    Conclusion – Get over it cause your kids will be cribbing about how quaint guduvancheri and kancheepuram was when they were young and you’ll be laughing ur ass off.

  21. Nirmala (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

    Hey Guys,

    The last post by TSK TSK is apt and conclusive. There will be no more mud slingings I hope. Anyway I look to a prosperous Chennai with DLFs and Hiranandanis around.

  22. Vivek (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:56 pm

    Too many counter arguments. Time to clarify.
    (Sorry Nirmala, I need to clear a few things up.)

    What works for one might not work for another. It can, it might not but, in any case, NOT doing anything and still living the same way for 100 years is surely not the solution.
    Go back and think about other options, you’ll find that apartment complexes are the need of the hour.

    Mad rush = bad. No arguments on that.
    Land rates increasing = Inevitable — Apartments or no apartments.
    I hope you agree with me on that. It’s high time to stop complaining about land rates.

    You would have understood my ‘quaint tradition’ line if you had little sense of humor. My point is that living in independent bungalows cannot be called as ‘quaint tradition’.
    And the cosmopolitan thing .. yes .. apartment complexes, better roads, better traffic management, higher standards of living … everything is part of being cosmopolitan. Apartments do not directly imply being cosmopolitan .. but are a PART of that lifestyle (although I accept thats not necessary)

    Very nicely penned.
    >>Urbanisation of India is an irreversible reality as we industrialise
    That is the bottom live

  23. panampalli (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 10:27 am

    One of the reasons why some of the cities around the world retain their old charm is due to ‘Zoning’ .

    Makes everyone happy I guess. Although would be extremely hard to implement in India I guess

  24. Lavanya (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 10:48 am


    I’d say Slippery Slope.

    As defense, might also offer the extra period as an excuse. Might also say it is unwise to believe that logical fallacy is practised by the understood and therefore it is equally unwise to expect clarifications. Lastly, might deny any claim to verifiable truth, while Godel turns in his grave.

  25. Lavanya (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    @Vivek: I agree that sitting back and doing nothing is not going to help when we have people pouring into the city. Apartments may be the need of the hour but townships with hundreds of houses in the blink of an eye seems extravagant and citing inevitability as a reason for doing away with space in the city seems lame. I’d have expected the corporation to have been far more stringent with such development within city limits. But yes, buyers buy when sellers sell (and vice versa) and money flows in the bargain – that is an inevitable excuse.

  26. ramdas naik (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

    vinod-you & me are a chip of the old block,coming to you from a guy who was born & living all his life in CIT colony.the shock & glee i got at seeing the sreedevi bldg rise up like a phoenix & then drop like a pack of cards.can yu believe-i was the 1st guy to send a shot to the indian express,THE HINDU-nobody bothered.we just cant save this city thing is to get out.How abt forming a mini chennai colony in coonoor?

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