Stares on Stairs…

I have an issue to discuss, a simple one. I’m certain all of us here have been to Spencer plaza at least once. You know how to get into the place through the main entrance. Have you seen people sit in those steps and while away their time? Yes, a common sight. No biggie from a normal perspective but….

Imagine this. A person like me, walks into spencers with a crutch and tries to do the steps. Its literally impossible even for a normal person trying to use a elbow crutch to do a few steps up the stairs without support. I have been in this situation and i have seen people like me, old people and injured/challenged people who are in need of support to do stairs. People don’t really think before they act, i assume because if they did there wont be so many sitting there in the steps. I visit isphani center often and i don’t see the same chennai folks doing it there.

Sometimes when you ask someone to move they simply move to the corner which has the hand railing/grip which is even worse! The hand railing/support is meant to be for balance and support for people who cannot do steps in a normal fashion. I often get amused how someone cannot even understand this simple concept. I’m sure this does not require post graduate education but a little bit of common sense and empathy for another person.

Some people are quite rude enough to point at people like me to walk away and i sometimes get irate and say “okkararadhukki illa padi, eraradhukku. nagurareengala konjam!” and they move and pass a sidy comment after i move on. Astonishingly the security who is supposed to ensure order in the place is comfortably lodged in the inside of the glass doors of the first phase and second phase entrances so that he gets the A/C so there are hardly folks to question this madness.

With that, i would like to open this post again for the commenter’s section. Old people, injured and physically challenged. There are many of them who use the Spencers and it so happens to be my fav spot for shopping because there is less crowd at shops here compared to the better and cheaper places like Krishna or RMKV in T Nagar or else where for anything else.

Chennai vasi’s, what dya think? Pour in, id like to hear what would be a neat way of educating people on such ettiquitte without offending them and enforcing them?

10 Comments so far

  1. Murali (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 1:49 am

    A good post, but the issue is bigger than Spencer Plaza Padi. The hard truth is, it will not improve anytime soon.

  2. foo (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 3:24 am

    Most places in Chennai are not wheelchair-accessible. Sidewalks (where they exist) are often too narrow or too bumpy. Wheelchair ramps are pitifully few and far between. The few that exist seem to be designed more for two-wheelers, and are too steep even for an electric wheelchair.

    Could someone with information compare the situation in Chennai with other Indian cities? Also, how is the situation in residential areas and apartment complexes in Chennai?

  3. Sundeep (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 4:25 am

    Sure that is the state of most of the public places in India. Very few actually think about access to disabled. For that matter, it should be a norm for all these buildings to have these access as a mandatory. I wouldn’t be too surprised if such nor or regulation exists and these people have violated while constructing ‘supposedly’ these mega malls.

    In a way malls could encourage variety of people to visit their premisis if at all they could provide such fecilities. I mean, old people, disabled, couples with small children pushing buggy (push chair) etc.

    Key thing for all our concerns is one thing, there is no attention towards detail. As famously said “god is in the detail”, I doubt we will ever open our eyes to see that..

  4. Kokki_Jacobus (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 6:50 am

    Wonderful post Dilip! You have thrown light on an issue that the vast majority of the public is oblivious to. In a sense, we actually take access to any place for granted.

    As I said, the access routes never really caught my attention – I remember seeing them at the railway stations. But then they seem to be more of an exception rather than the norm. Comparing Indian cities to cities in Singapore or the US may seem like a strech but the fact is all public places have provisions for ramps. Even the pavements have gradual slopes at each end so that it is possible to get on and off it. The concept of making the pavement accesible to everyone does not exist in our country.

    The only remedy, as Sundeep said, is to establish regulations to ensure ramps are avaialable in all buildings, including new office and residential complexes. But if the enforcement of existing regulations is aything to go by, we know what to expect.

  5. vinodvv (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 8:10 am

    For any business to flourish you need people to visit its store. If you remember way back, few genuine customers where there for Spencers. So I don’t think the administration minds people sitting on those steps, Actually it favors them.

    It might sound like a pervert comment but that is the truth. “Spencers is a hot place for chicks, shall we check out.”

    Did I hit the reason Dilip.

  6. tamizhan (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

    Dilip: Arent you sounding a little precious here? If I were to climb stairs that was blocked by a group of people, I would request them to move out. I dont think it should be any different with you.

    As for people who make sidy comments when you say something, I can only pity that you are not able to give it back to them or take it with a pinch of salt.

    I have made sidy comments in some situations in the past and have regretted / learnt from them. Life sometimes, is also about letting people learn from their mistakes.

    It will be good if you put your crutch in their crotch and climb, but will that solve the problem? No….because you didnt have a problem in the first place!!!!

  7. Rajesh (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    I feel you are trying to mix up issues:

    1. People sitting on the step at the entrance blocking others ways.

    Request them to move out is the only way. Sometimes we have to be rude.

    2. Issues faced by the physically challenged in these kind of situations.

    In Spencers and some of the new malls there are ramps for the physically challenged. At Spencers the ramp is in the main entrance at third phase.
    I know atleast one organization that worked a lot to get ramps in all the malls – Sakthi Foundation ( Very few people are aware of issues faced by the physically challenged and very less people work on these issues.

  8. Vivek (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

    overall chennai has got the impression of a city full of ignorant people.

    seeing educated it guys cross the medians and jump across the 6 lane high speed it corridor is one sure sign of this. no one uses the overhead bridge. sigh !

  9. Rajesh (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

    Like many other countries, we need to bring in the word “NEGLIGENCE” into our legal dictionary.

    Vivek, there is another example. If you travel from Saidapet to Parrys on Anna Salai, just after the Saidapet bridge, all the vehicles are stopped for the pedestrians to cross the road. Initially I thought why can’t the gov. build a flyover there. But after a few minutes I found that there is a subway just 50 meters away from that spot. But people refuse to use it.

  10. Sunil (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2007 @ 5:49 pm

    I have seen the ramp at Spencer Plaza that Rajesh had mentioned in his post. I have often noticed that people have a tendency to stand at the entrance/walkways/hallways/doors/openings etc. etc. Now, this can be a problem because they are blocking the pathway. But, they just don’t seem to get it!!!
    I have made numerous complaints to Southern Railway on their website regarding the lack/difficulty of access ramps at the railway stations.
    Even the access ramps at the CMBT Bus Terminal are not upto the mark, they are steep and narrow in many places.

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