Archive for October, 2007

What I love about the monsoons….

The monsoon always brings back a flood of memories of monsoons past. And so it was this time as well, bringing to mind the things one loved about this season in Chennai:
• Going to sleep with the sound of the wind and rain soothing you
• Feeling the spray of heavy rain in your face as you stand in the doorway and watch it come down
• Curling up in bed with a good book and a glass of hot chocolate on Sunday afternoons
• Hot tea and samosas at tea time on a rainy day
• Watching the rain dance on top of the parapet wall before disappearing in spray
• Cycling in the rain
• Rain holidays
• Playing a game of ‘holly golly’ in the rain
• Roiling cloudscapes
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Extortionist fares: Is the end in sight?

I don’t know if you’ve been following the developments, but the police finally seem pretty determined to rein in the auto rickshaws from over charging. First the stated intent to ensure that they don’t charge more than the fares agreed upon by the auto rickshaws union. Then the warnings. And finally the crack down. Including impounding of hundreds of errant rickshaws, and even revoking of their licenses. What has been the response? A strike by the auto rickshaw drivers on Monday to protest the police action. I know there have been debates on whether the fares agreed to were correct. Whether the auto rickshaw owners are giving the drivers a raw deal and therefore the mercenary behaviour etc. The fact is that taking an auto in Chennai can be a terrible experience, leaving one feeling cheated and helpless. In fact, the city’s auto rickshaws are famous all over the country for the extortionist charges, and contribute a great deal to giving Chennai a bad name. I hope that this time the police, and I may add, the public, will stand firm so that we bring this unsavoury practice to an end. Once and for all.

An Open letter to the Administrative Authorities…

There is a good old trustworthy way of having things sorted out in the history of this city and its darn authorities. Problem identified, Problem AVOIDED, problem gone! (Read as forgotten)
Did i even mention about resolving a problem at hand, i apologize. I wasn’t thinking like the average chennai’te govt authority which makes me unconsciously productive.
I was doing some casual reading and I came across this random article on the Anna University banning the use of cell phones in colleges as a disciplinary measure. Adding to this, they also instruct people to wear this and wear that and not to wear tight fitting clothes that may look attractive, blah blah blah and everything. I’m stupefied, completely! Okay i know I’m too late to talk about this now but hey if we don’t talk about this who else will fix this?
I’m not a student of Anna university, i don’t work for any newspaper who pays me to write this nor do i have any personal grudge that i hold against Anna university. However like every average individual I’m concerned about the decisions, our so called authorities are making for us because some of them are out rightly low in thought process and analysis. So bad that you could visit the KMC Hospital wards and observe the patients blabber and you would not find it any different.
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Senthil Juice Centre

Well, there is the Fruit Shop @ Greams Road, and the corner stores and Saravana Bhavans to gulp down a glass of fresh juice. But where will one head if he wants to have Chocolate Milk. Read not milkshake but simple pure Chocolate milk, a cold glass of which costs under Rs. 10. Look no further, head straight to Senthil, on Kutchery Road, Mylapore, opposite the E1 Mylapore police station. The place is a small one, no frills to it, serves all kinds of fresh juices, but their Rose Milk and Chocolate Milk are specialities. The Chocolate Milk is always served just at the right temperature, the perfect mix of milk and chocolate, not very sweet but just right and the quantity good. I have searched all through Chennai, though a couple of places claim to serve Chocolate Milk no one comes close to Senthil. The shop is normally open from 9am in the morning throught till 10pm in the night. Do drop in sometime and check it out. I am sure will be a welcome change from the orange juices, colas and the likes.

Saidapet Cooum after yesterday’s rains

The water level in Saidapet Cooum (Adyar River) has risen significantly over the last two days. The slums on the banks are already beginning to flood. Every year, I see this happening failing to understand why people still dwell there. I am not thinking about idealistic crap like “why cant they live in homes like we do.”. My thoughts are more on the lines of – “In anycase thosse are illegal establishments. Why can’t they *illegally* establish themselves elsewhere?”. Atleast they can avoid risking lives like this.

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The saidapet bridge and the partially submerged slums

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The morning after the rain

I took some pictures between 6.30am and 7 am today in T Nagar.

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Path of a Rebel Poet – 1

My first crossing of paths with Poet Salma, so to speak – was through a bundle of controversies. Until then, I’d only had a vague idea of who she was. Looking at excerpts of her work made me determined to find out more about her, and I read every interview I could ever lay my hands on.

But those weren’t enough. Soon, I wanted to see the rebel in person – because so often, what you read is very seldom a real reflection of who a person is. I dug into her whereabouts, and – surprise! – discovered that she was in Chennai after all – and met her.

Perhaps those of the glittering literati out there have already read all there is to read of her – but to me, it was an experience and a half. That’s what I’ve tried to record here. Perhaps Nandhu might like to add his perceptions as well. :)

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So, there ‘is’ a plan after all!!!

I just stumbled across this site of CMDA. It seems, they do have a plan for Chennai and related development activities. I was really surprised to see that they have plans till 2026. Wow! I didn’t know India was that far-sighted. In the society around us we see so much confusion and chaos that we often lose track of the future. We see the *system* failing miserably at every instance of life here.

They are calling this plan – SECOND MASTER PLAN. The pessimist in me wonders what happened to the First Master Plan. Wonder if it was fully executed.

Vision 2026 is to make Chennai a prime metropolis which will be more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable and with better assets for the future generations.

Excerpt from the Introduction document

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10 Missing Characters of Chennai…

A few characters that were around in chennai whilst i was a kid who seem to be getting scarce to be seen around by the day. If found please notify here. These people like me have a special place that brings aforth a lot of childhood memories….
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Ummm…ecstasy…

Ok, so we would be late for the movie. But it was right there, people bustling past its steamy windows and we could never quite resist the lure of that ole brown stuff…

The automatically opening glass doors (a convoluted phrase from my childhood, when four year olds would step in front of and away from the doors just to watch them open and close) at Satyam’s Ecstasy (by Mickael Besse) ushered us into the modish room, with its stunning paper-shredded (it looked like it!) lights and yes, that so-comforting brown.

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