Archive for December, 2007

I wish I could Fly. I wish we all could.

Well, if you are wondering what this woeful statement is about, it all started after hearing the news that the Chennai Corporation has sanctioned the construction of Six, yep SIX new flyovers, a few bypass roads and apparently even a few underground roads are in order – all for a cost in the tune of Rs. 150 crores.

It’s not the cost that astounds or scares me, but its the numbers and the term “flyovers”.

I have unconsciously developed this impression that the entry into chennai is denoted by the ever-going construction of the Kaththipara Junction – which I hope my generation lives to see functioning in full style, and the newer work that has begun in T-nagar and the nearby areas, making driving in Chennai a literal nightmare.

Now, to top all of this, six more. I am almost tempted to spread open a Chennai map and see which area is going to be the next that they are going to sabotage and take over, but I guess these are matters we go through under the name of Infrastructure development right?

I really wish I could fly over the “to-be” flyovers.

Chennai Book Fair 2008

The annual Chennai Book Fair is being held in St. George Hr. Sec. School , Poonamallee High Road (Opposite to Pachaiyappa College) from Jan 4 – 17th 2008. This annual fair is one place where you can find almost all the publishers in Tamil. Don’t miss it.

Coverage of Bhutto assassination

“Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack. Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb.”

That’s from the BBC.

Read the coverage across the Metroblogging network of cities. Bloggers at Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi have been following the news.

The New York Times obit is here.

Waffles Discovered!

I’d like to thank every single person who so kindly suggested spots to find waffles for breakfast after reading my post on my failed quest! (Yes, Nandhu, I know that was aeons ago!) Well, you’ll all be pleased to note that I found my waffles after a friend (tried of my endless wheedling, no doubt) took me to the Park Sheraton breakfast buffet.

A roadside lecture on Thevar and a cup of tea

A garland of plastic rose-coloured flowers adorns the picture of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar on the wall. If he had lived, Thevar would have been a hundred years old this year. The teashop where the picture hangs is run by a man, who wears a garland himself, but not of flowers. I do not know his name, but as I enter the shop, he is talking of Thevar. The tea master is probably a Thevar too going from his appearance.

I miss Chennai Marathon 2007

The year 2007 is coming to an end in a few days and one of the few things that I missed this particular year is the Chennai Marathon 2007. Last year the marathon took place in February, but this year after 3 postponements, I guess the organizers have given up on conducting it.

The ticker in the official site of Chennai Marathon still reads “Congratulations to the winners of Chennai Marathon 2006. We thank all the participants who made the Marathon grand success. See you all at Chennai Marathon 2007”.

Chennai has a lot of marathon runners and it is sad that the Chennai Marathon 2007 didn’t take off. 2008 – a new year and a fresh start. I can only hope, like the hundreds of others, that Chennai Marathon 2008 happens without any hassle.

PS: I still wonder why there is no category called ‘sports’ in Chennai MetBlogs.

A foggy morning makes for good photography

GVB scooped me in posting about the fog that enveloped the city this morning. So I shall only show you my photos.
I had some trouble sleeping last night, so I decided at 5:30 to go out and shoot the sunrise over the Broken bridge. Only when I got out of my house did I realise what was in store. Sunrise wasn’t going to be.

margazhi 076

margazhi 045

Chennai under a blanket of fog

Chennai woke upto a thick blanket of fog today (23/12/2007)

Chennai under Fog

Taramani Road

Chennai by night

PlaneMad, a regular commenter here, and a Wikipedia regular, has been taking some fantastic photos of Chennai in the night. Makes me want to do likewise. Which I will. Till then, some of his photos blogged below the fold.

PlaneMad is also doing a great series on his blog – the Chennai Photo Quiz. It’s just 10 photos deep, but has got a lot of interesting comments and some super photos. I got about 3 right so far, and I think I’ve got the latest one right as well. Give it a shot.

(Once upon a long time ago, I’d started a similar thing on this blog. Here are some of those posts: 1, 2 and 3)

An open letter to VIPs moving around in Madras

Dear VIP,

Let me outright state that I am in complete agreement with you on the following items:

1. Your time is clearly more precious than mine. On a scale of preciousness, I am recycled plastic and you are African blue diamond.
2. Your desire to feel secure by moving around in a convoy of 30 Tata Safaris with assault-weapon toting black cat guards is perfectly understandable.
3. Your need to block regular traffic for 4 hours before and after your jaunts through the city are perfectly valid.

But you see, blocking traffic is a slightly expensive proposition. Not for you, but for us. Let me show you how.

Let us define a few variables first.

E = Exponentially humongous cost of petrol, diesel and other adulterated fuels burnt while millions of cars, vehicles and autos are idling.
F = Frighteningly large cost in Rupees (and not dollars) of regular people’s time (calculated from salary/regular hours of work x time spent in blocked traffic)
F = Frankly ludicrous cost in Rupees of Policemen’s time (calculated from salary/regular hours of work x time spent saluting at your speeding car and waving other traffic aside aggressively with radio receiver in hand)
I = Insane cost in Rupees of extra medical care required by every person not inside an A/C car, as a result of having to breathe noxious fumes from all the stalled vehicles.
N = Nightmarish cost of missed appointments, opportunities, flights and trains
G = Glaring cost of damages incurred as a result of road rage arising from frustration at being stuck in blocked traffic.
M = Monstrous cost of psychiatrists’ fees incurred as a result of depression arising from missed appointments and opportunities.
A = Abominable cost of alcohol purchased from TASMAC stores as a result of aforementioned depression.
D = Despicable cost of medical fees incurred as a result of frustrated appointment-missing men drinking aofrementioned alcohol and beating their wives back home in the evening.
N= Notorious cost of extra rupees charged by Madras autowallahs who blame the traffic blocks as a reason for charging Rs 200 from a ride from Central station to Ripon building.
E = Exorbitant cost of medical fees incurred as a result of being beaten up by rowdy autowallahs who didn’t quite like your “What saar, You are not making Kaamedy Keemedi no?” at hearing the quoted fare as stated above.
S = Seriously significant cost of lawyers fees incurred as a result of increased divorces as wives start to accuse spouses (and vice versa) of being “a totally stuck-up person”.
S = Sheer cost of irony present in the factor mentioned above.

So as you can see, multiplying all the variables, we get

Total Cost = E.F.F.I.N.G.M.A.D.N.E.S.S

And in fact, it’s so large that nobody even bothers computing it. So before you ignore this post for being yet another rant on VIPs blocking traffic, let me reassure you that, for a change, I have a solution. An elegant solution to completely get rid of traffic blocks. Helicopters. Yes. All your security, convoys and the cost mentioned above are being incurred by the taxpayer in any case. So I suggest that you use helicopters to fly from point A to point B in any city. The cost of a helicopter is about a lakh an hour, I am told. But the key thing to be noted is that

Cost of Helicopters < E.F.F.I.N.G.M.A.D.N.E.S.S

In fact, the only reason I use the modest “<” symbol here is that there is no equivalent mathematical sign for depicting “mindbogglingly small compared to”.

Go ahead, and splurge our tax money on helicopters. Even fit them with saunas and home theaters if you want. And oh, get armoured copters if you wish to feel safe in addition to reducing your commute time by a factor of gazillion. It will still be much cheaper than what you are costing us today. So just get your respectworthy posteriors off the road.

Thank you
A Madras Citizen typing this from his laptop while being stuck in traffic waiting for some VIPs to get from point A to point B.

ps: If you VIPs prefer visual modes of communication, what I am saying is,

Let’s move from




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