The Savera disaster aftermath

On New Year’s Eve, as the city celebrated a tragedy was unfolding at the Savera, a pretty old hotel in the city. Three persons, including two engineering students, dancing over a newly erected stage fell into a swimming pool below and died. While one of them, Sumit Agnihotri, 24, died immediately, two more Anand Sridharan and his cousin Ramya died later at Apollo Hospitals.

The repercussions on the incident on the hotel appear severe. Everyone from the barman to the hotel’s president B.V.S Reddy have been arrested. Mr Reddy has however been let out on bail.
A showcause notice has been issued today asking the hotel why its licence should not be revoked. The Royapettah police are at the receiving end too. Their negligence in allowing a stage to be erected near a swimming pool, which is disallowed by law, will come under the scanner. The case has also been transferred to the Central Crime Branch for investigation.
Obviously, everyone has a right to party. Most of us do -at home, at a bar or at nightclub. Some of us get together with our families or go to a church or temple. I spent the first evening of the New Year drinking with blogger-friends.
Whatever may be the case, we have earned the right to have a good time. Some of us who are teetotallers or don’t earn enough to party with an aspirational crowd often think “serves them right”. “Why,” we ask “didn’t the partygoers stay at home?”. Or even better, “Didn’t they see the damn swimming pool?”.
Recently Outlook magazine did a cover story on how Bangaloreans hate their techies, who are blamed for the traffic jams and loss of “culture”. In Chennai too, there is a growing sense of unease with the techie crowd, who are seen to be synonymous with upwardly mobile party going crowd at a hotel like Savera.
We may not mourn the dead. We may not want justice for them. But let’s us not blame them for partying. It’s but an innocent pastime.

16 Comments so far

  1. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 9:06 am

    This is not my scene at all: I don’t much drink (like the last time was a couple of years ago!); I hate crowds, I don’t like noise, and the sort of music these guys dance to would probably have me reaching for the ear plugs. I feel much the same about cricket and most other spots.

    That has nothing to do with the right of people in a public place to basic safety standards, whether it is cricket stadium or a dance hall, people do not deserve to die for enjoying themselves.

    There is an absolute lack of regard for safety in this city. It extends from the reluctance to wear helmets and safety belts all the way to building design and construction.

    But when people die as a result of blatant negligence and disregard for regulations, that is just criminal, and I truly hope that influence and money will not protect those who are responsible for this horrific event

  2. Maheshwaran.S (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

    Partying is becomming a part of culture in Chennai due to the Western impacts. But when things go out of control, it makes deep impact in the stakeholders and their dependents.

    Anand & Ramya are neighbours of my Project Lead and Friends of my close friend. When the people died came close enough to me, I could feel the sense of pain in me too. Just thinking of their parents…

    Guess this is high time to act on such issues…

  3. Ela (unregistered) on January 12th, 2008 @ 2:35 am

    Yeap….agree that it is everybody┬┤s right to enjoy their life and have a good time….but as Mr.Thad E. Ginathom has already said we are people who are proud to ignore things and take most of the things for granted…..If the organisers of the party have really taken up their job seriously and be responsible enough then this could have been avoided….

    I also felt the great divide among our youths today…people who are privileged enough to enjoy the new openings and people who do not have that privilege due to the sheer lack of money…..but i also felt that the first category is also the most frustrated since they do not have much choice….

    I often fail to understand what the reporter means exactly when they write `and women were dancing in an inebriated condition┬┤…..we need an open mindedness….may be first from the media so they do not paint everything in a negative sense…..but still we have been always the society which bothers much about the neighbours faults than its own…

  4. Dilip Muralidaran (unregistered) on January 14th, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    Only in India can someone do something like this and also get away with it. I’m horrified that even after paying 1000’s of rupees for an up class hotel like the Savera you cannot get a safe environment where you can have fun.

    If people had the equipment and facilities to party at home they would not come to places like Savera. I’m certain most of us have a 5.1 Home theatre system at home with the DVD player but how often do you get to blast it well? So pointing fingers at the partying crowd that they are criminals is stupid. Its a plain act of jealousy the non partying crowd who dont have the cash in the wallet to do it does.

    Not having money in your pocket or not liking loud music is not our problem its yours. If you dont like it stay out of it and you have no freaking right to dictate what is morally right and wrong. If you talk about women dancing in clubs and that being morally un-right then remember the hindu religion had the deva dasi system 100’s of years back! That lays foundation for all of this too so just dont bullshit around your moral police on two dead people. For goodness sake they are dead as a fucking doornail and we cant do anything about it.

    What we do need to do is ensure hotels like Savera that charge 1500 as cover charges for party’s and end up killing people like this never open business again in their life. For this the legal system should be stringent and make sure their permit is revoked for building dance floors on top of a swimming pool which is against safety norms.

  5. saverasucks (unregistered) on January 14th, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

    Nightle Kudichitu Bodaiyele adravanku ellam intha kadaithan!!!!!!!!!! go to Temples of worship and pray for the future we don’t have to do whatever the westerner’s are doing. Our Culture is important for us!Respect it! There are thousands of people in places of worship nothing of this sort happens because money is not the motive there. Understand folks!

  6. Anand (unregistered) on January 14th, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

    Agree with points made by Ela and Dilip. ‘Moralising’ and a ‘holier than thou’ attitude is an Indian weakness and probably even worse in Tamil Nadu. Will we ever change?

  7. Sathish (unregistered) on January 14th, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

    i am no great guy but feel so bad and lost after seeing 3 young people who killed! Hey Savera sucks I agree with you man. Would selfless leaders like mahatma,Swami Vivekanada, Subramania Bharathiyaar, Dr. Abdul Kalaam endorse such things as dancing in the night with strangers after getting sloshed???? Think people where are we(the list includes me first) going fast and what do we want?? is this happiness just because westerners are doing it????? Accepting good things from anywhere is good but glorifying foriegn ideas (bad and good)and forgetting our roots (good ones)is an evil. What is good for our situation is a thing of utmost need rather than a pseudo life!!!! Some of the videos of Akon, 50 cents, Snoop Doggie……… are windows for us to know there are nude parties abroad, will it be the same case with us soon????????

  8. Veritas (unregistered) on January 15th, 2008 @ 4:28 am

    I seriously dont understand all your harsh criticism of partying in Chennai. I mean when people what to have a good time, some find it great to go to a club with a bunch of friends and drink and others find it more relaxing to sit at home or perhaps go to the temple (or any other Shrine)…

    Our culture is important to us and we do respect it for what it has shown us. But with changing times and as chennai slowly becomes a global platform for doing business and trade, I beleive it is the time to change and adapt in a civilised fashion without losing the innate culture. I belive a transition could be made and incorporated with ease…

    A simple change would be our view of women: A news article about the savera as pointed earlier was about ‘women dancing in an inebriated condition’. The question is why was this pointed out and could the article refer to people in general. I mean are women not allowed to have a good time ???

  9. Sathish (unregistered) on January 16th, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

    Women can have a good time provided it’s safe for them and others as well! It’s really amazing why westerners don’t appreciate our culture and want to thrust their culture on us and we take it so easily and know what we were in bondage for 400 years under the Britishers just some time ago.
    These places are where people drink invariably, smoke and dance! Drugs, hookers and other things are also lurking around the corner somewhere. Please ask the kids who go there with disposable money in their hands, many of their motifs are to lay someone or get laid! Is this real fun you want to have to loose you life?????? Think people why can’t these hoteliers have this going on in the towns and villages cause there it won’t sell there. In our urge to make more money and spend more money are we all spending on things we really shouldn’t be doing??????????

  10. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on January 17th, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

    What a crazy turn this has taken.

    Look… people are dead because some hotel and some contractors couldn’t do their job properly (and, apparently, the local police failed to inspect properly) and all you guys can do is rant about your petty cultural likes and dislikes.

    It doesn’t matter whether this was a drinking and dancing party or a yoga session. What if it had been a cricket grandstand?

    Please read these words again: It. Does. Not. Matter.

    People died because of negligence, not because of what they were doing.

    Here’s another idiocy: “Drugs, hookers and other things are also lurking around the corner somewhere.”.

    What? You think these things have not always been in India anyway? Whatever: why not save such comments for a discussion about morals. Or is it unimportant to you that people died? Just an excuse to get on your soap box?

    The only morals that matter here are the morals of the hotel management, the morals of the contractors, the morals of the builders.

    Rant over. Probably a waste of time anyway, I’m sure some-one else will be along to blame drinking and drugs, and threaten that prostitution will be next…..

  11. (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 11:00 am

    This incident makes me to tell youngsters that there are many better ways to celebrate this kind of new year eve’s

  12. Sathish (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    Its really sick people lost their lives! Thad E.GinaThom whatever u a anglo Indian? I respect anglo Indians but do u respect Indians???? I am surprised you say people died because of negligence and are we neglecting our culture is all what I am asking?

  13. Manmadh (unregistered) on January 18th, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

    Most of the people, including ladies were drunk and were probably on drugs also. Otherwise they could have climbed out of the pool and escaped. Who can take responsibility for drunk and doped people?

  14. Dilip Muralidaran (unregistered) on January 21st, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

    Satish: Culture is a different thing and the death is another. People did not die because of neglecting their culture. They died because of improper security conditions in the hotel.

    Imagine this. Instead of the disco swami pramodh or some guy was conducting a yoga class on that very same podium and it broke down and fell into the swimming pool. Would you then blame god for killing all of those people or would you actually praise our culture for taking them to heaven?!?

    How about smoking? Is that our culture? I see men smoke cigarettes all of the time and that is western culture. Our culture smokes only beedis and suruttu doesn’t it? Why the heck you guys smoke cigarettes? Its english culture!!!!

    Just because you can moral police the young people around you and pointlessly blame them for everything since your lazy self cannot do anything about the injustice, does not mean you get away with it.

    Negligence should be addressed. As far as dancing at night clubs or going to temples its a matter of personal choice. Nobody has a say on what one should do.

    Theriyaama than kekkaren, dont you guys ever go to the perumaal kovil on saturdays to sight adichchify pretty women who come there? Is that not damnation of cultre. Summa pesanumnaa enna venumnaalum pesalam, vanthuttaanunga culture mannaangattinnu pesa!

    Human lives have been lost! Its not because some girl wore tight t-shits and dance around and some guy danced with her. Its because the fucking stage was weak! Where did you people learn science and physics from? Muniyaandi Vilas ?

  15. Anand (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2008 @ 3:32 am

    Sathish, you seem to be confusing the issue. The point here is that the cause for the tragedy lies with the poor infrastructure put up by the contractor and the hotel management who were negligent in their duty. This is what led to the unfortunate incident. It is most unhelpful of you to blame the innocent people there who were merely enjoying a new year eve party.

    Your comments may be not out of place in a debate on what is morally right or wrong. But there again, in my opinion, you are way off target. It is wrong to make a moral judgement on other people who do things differently to you. People have the right to do what they want so long as they are not breaking the law or intruding on another person’s rights and freedom. You also seem to have fanciful ideas about what happens in a so called ‘party’ and you assume a lot based on your imagination as to what people do there. There is a lot of good that we can learn from all cultures, if only we open our mind and not live inside a well.

    I wish you would point your finger at the real culprit rather than manipulate facts to suit yourself.

  16. returnofthedjango (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

    Hey Dilip,
    Hahaha I see you are back from the mental asylum, ironically your bad mouth and depressive psychosis have not changed a bit. Its really sad people died in the Savera hotel Party and guys like Dilip are trying to seek sympathy with the readers and authors here for a comeback!!!!! Listen up Dilip the loser I never learnt women wearing tshirt was part of science or physics. Which syllabus did you follow in the mental Asylum?
    Why did the Savera guys put up the stage first, simple to make more money? What were the folks doing trying to have fun. Are there any checks and balances in place – none! The cops are sleeping and there are no regulatory authorities to prevent the stage being erected in the first place. Another example, the Sathyam Theater was a beautiful place w.r.t safely 5 years back now it’s completely filled up with many new cinema halls with plush interiors. If there was a fire in there what will happen to the people inside?????
    As long as dumb asses like Dilip remain who will talk about getting Zuned and Stereo typing himself in a blog meant for Chennai and totally forgetting the purpose of the blog, there will be stupid cops and regulatory bodies not doing the opposite of what the are supposed to do! So the actual culprit is Dilip and his like who killed 3 innocent people in Savera. Today Anniyam is coming to take Dilip for a ride! Cheers!

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