Kalakshetra Colony: Those were the days when……

In the days when I was in high school, Besant Nagar and Kalakshetra Colony were newly developing areas with many parcels of open land and empty plots alongside dirt roads, or tar roads covered with sea sand. Kalakshetra Colony especially was in its early stages of development. There were houses on Rukmani Road on the far side, but the area between the road leading to the Velankanni Church and Rukmani Road was just sand dunes! As you proceeded South towards Kalakshetra, the road ended in sand dunes with a few houses towards the end. New Beach Road did not exist in those days.

One of my friends lived on Rukmani Road and we used to cycle to his place, change into our swimming trunks and head for Elliots Beach (as it was know then) and frolic in the waves. Then back to his place for an out door shower in the garden to get the salt water and sand off our heads and bodies before going in for a proper shower. The out door shower was close to their well which was only fifteen feet or so deep and used to be brimming with sweet water! Mind you, from their first floor windows and the terrace you could see the open sea towards where the temple is now. It didn’t exist then, but came up a few years later.

The area between these few residences and Kalakshetra, all the way down to the sea used to be a very interesting mix of sand dunes and sea water pools. Especially after a cyclone, if we went exploring in this direction, we would come across channels in the sand where the sea had come far inland to create these salt water pools which were then left behind as the high tide and storm surge receded. The whole place had a frontier feel to it, was very open with sea views and strong, salt winds. It reminded you somewhat of the setting in which Hermie found himself in ‘The Summer of ’42!’ (or so our fevered, teenage imaginations would lead us to believe!)

Kalakshetra Colony as it exists today is so completely different from those days that I can’t recognise the place that we used to spend so much time as teenagers. Ah well, the price of progress, I guess. But it is still a very nice area although the openness, strong sea breeze and abundant fresh water are all long gone.

4 Comments so far

  1. Vivek (unregistered) on August 21st, 2007 @ 12:47 am

    Yup Good old days. ah there were so many beautiful places….All are gone now. All we see is just buildings buildings buildings….

  2. suppamani (unregistered) on August 21st, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    If you go some long distance on the same coast road you may even now see the places which you explained.

  3. tsk tsk (unregistered) on August 21st, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

    Its time you changed your definition of chennai suburbia. For all that you explained you would have invest some money in a property past uthandi

  4. Manoj.M (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

    Why do you people want open spaces, sea breeze and fresh water when you can have plenty of pizzas with coke in a cramped AC room.Instead of cycling down to a friend’s place its more convenient to drive there in our huge SUVs.Then we could bathe in a can of water home delivered on a phone call. Just being sarcastic, my dear friends, Guess this is the price we have to pay for affluence, progress and modern lifestyle.

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