Archive for March, 2008

National Anthem at Sathyam movies

Last week I had gone to the movie Anjaathey at Seasons in Sathyam complex. Before the movie there was a slide asking the viewers to stand up for singing the national anthem. This was something new, I didn’t see this happening last month when I went to some other movie at the same complex.

SPB came on screen and sung a beautiful version of Jana Gana Mana composed by AR Rahman, with the mannerisms of a concert vocalist. The problem was, it wasn’t the tune we are taught since our school days and used too. So the entire audience stood in silence.

A few questions. Why this sudden move by Sathyam? Does it really make you patriotic to hear the national anthem prior to a movie?

Related discussion in Chennai Metblogs last August.

Docile pitch, yet a memorable match

Previous test matches in Chepauk MAC stadium have been a real test of skill for both batsmen and bowlers. Think back to the tied test against Australia in 1986 or the agonising loss to Pakistan in 1999. But this time around, the pitch has been a feather bed till now, late into the 4th day. There has been nothing for the bowlers so far.

Yet this match will be remembered for the highest test score by an Indian batsman. It was in this same stadium that Gavaskar scored his 236 n.o. against West Indies, which was the highest score by an Indian for a long time. It took a great effort from Laxman in 2001 to go past that and Sehwag upped it in Multan in 2004. After seven years, the record has come back to Chepauk.

Do you still think a result is possible in this match?

The Fifth Chennai Photowalk – Walking across Michelle’s Ancestral Home at Pantheon Road

In one of the posts of Vinod Subramanian “Zyng – been there yet ?”, there was a comment by Michelle Binkley  

Hi Vinod, (more…)

Road Accidents in Chennai

All of us have at one time or other bitched about road conditions and accidents in Chennai. The Government statistics too seem to agree with us. Last month there was a question in Lok Sabha about road accidents in the country.

In the annexure to the question, the Government gives city wise break up of the number of road accidents in metros. Chennai stands second, with only Delhi worse than us.


CITIES 2004 2005 2006

CHENNAI 4873 7875 7359

DELHI 8218 8531 8385

KOLKATA 2164 2366 2379

MUMBAI 3340 4360 4151

TOTAL 18595 23132 22274

Look carefully. Of all the cities, Chennai’s road accidents have increased dramatically from 2004 to 2005. Is this due to (ironically) the increased number of road works all over the city? Or due to the expanded Greater Chennai Police limits? Or plain increase in number of bad drivers?

Whatever it is, be careful while on the road.

Lok Sabha Question
Annexure to the Question

Turtles and an excuse to Walk

A few weekends back I went for a turtle walk after a  long time. Well a really long time one can say, it was my first walk after 3 seasons, or in other words 3 years. In these three years a lot had changed, first being the direction of the walk. Earlier we walked from Besant Nagar beach to Neelankarai, now the its been reversed. The hatchery which was earlier located in Neelankarai is now located near Adyar Estuary. The distance is now a roughly 30 percent more.


Apart from this, the biggest change would have to be the crowds. Regular walkers inform me that on weekends, the average crowd is 30-40 people. That’s a phenomenal number compared to the earlier crowds, which averaged around 15 people. There of course were the days when 40 people turned up, but that was a rarity rather than being the norm.  The larger crowd obviously meant that it has become a joy walk, actually it always is that for everyone except the scouts who go ahead looking for tracks, or those who have to carry the turtle nests back incase any are found.


The stretch now is more lit up, it’s brighter than it earlier was. Over the years the area somehow has lost its charm. During my first walks in the late 1990s, beyond Thiruvanmayur was the brigest stretch, Valmiki Nagar had a few lights, otherwise there was hardly any noticeable lighting in the area.


The distressing fact about this season is the number of nests found. With the season almost over, only 60 odd nests have been found, it’s a marked drop from past seasons when twice that number of nests would be found. It’s partly due to development of t he coastal front which has lead to the few turtles nesting, while trawling also has contributed to a significant number of turtles being caught in them.


In all, very soon, in a decade or so, they just might not be enough turtles nesting on the Madras coastline to make it worthwhile for people to walk.

The second coming – a poetry+coffee event


Yes, I realise I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain and haven’t answered questions raised in this post. My defence: time. Or rather, the infinitesimally small amounts of it that I end up having. I intend to catch up with that this weekend.

So, anyway, to the point of the post.

Sharanya and Meena (and I) are organising a poetry event this Friday at Mocha. An open-mic session – which means we’ll keep the mic by the door. Errm…it means everyone’s invited and everyone can read out. Friday, 21st March is not only Good Friday, it’s the World Poetry Day. So the idea is to kill two birds with one metaphor. The idea is also to bring poetry to Madras city, and do it closer to the city than Thalankuppam was.

Head out to Sharanya’s blog for the details. But if you are click-lazy, here’s the short version.

What? Original + Translated poems, to celebrate World Poetry Day & Good Friday
Where? Mocha, upper-reaches.
When? Friday, 21st March, 10 AM
Why? Um, it sounded like a good idea?
Who? Sharanya Manivannan, Meena Kandaswamy and Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishnan

Some police!

Ezhunthru Ya! Orama Niruthu!

For a minute, I didn’t know what I had done wrong. Then I realised I was wearing no helmet. By that time the cop, dark and fat, had my keys.

I stared back at him. I was the press, after all. I knew what would happen. I had been through this charade a thousand times. (more…)

City defers move to fine hygiene offenders

The Chennai Corporation recently announced that it would not fine those indiscriminately dumping garbage in the streets at least until July 1. Earlier the fines were to be imposed from April 1 to act as a deterrent for people from dumping garbage not just on the street but possibly from each other’s backyards as well.

Most people would have it that we are a lazy people. We don’t take out our garbage. Neither do we segregate it. Well, for that matter neither does the corporation. My college thesis was on how the city was dumping garbage without segregating in one of its dumps on the outskirts.

The only fear I had when the fines were announced were over whether they would be implemented properly. What do you think? Would you not spit on the road if you were compelled to pay fines? (That rule is not yet in). Do you think you rather live in unclean streets rather than trusting this city corporation?

The official reason for the delay is that the corporation needs time to build some 100 public toilets and and buy compactors to remove garbage before bringing in the fine regime.

Nine things I love about the city

Without much ado, here they are:

1. Loving Tamil

I love it when people around me speak the same language I do. The year I spent in Hyderabad, I always felt like an alien because I had to struggle with my rustic Hindi. Thankfully, auto drivers were polite to me. Often I would long to speak Tamil at home and all my four roommates back then were Malayalees. Chennai became second home to me largely because its population is on the same page I am.

2. Movies in multiplexes

I was ecstatic when the state government passed the order asking multiplexes not to price movie tickets beyond Rs 120 in Chennai. This is the only order passed by MK that I love him for. My movie addiction is much lesser than what it used to be, but at least my fledging film reviewing career is taking off thanks to the multiplexes, especially Satyam. I recently read how Satyam overprices its popcorn to subsidise the ticket. I love that. I don’t have to buy popcorn to watch a movie despite all the rubbish about how the both go together.

3. Roasting in the sun

I actually love the city’s climate. If it rains around the year, I would feel blue. I know the Chennai climate-haters well and why they love to hate the heat here. But for me, the summers, and lately, the extended monsoons are a continuing source of joy. (more…)

Mapping Bus Routes in Chennai.

Did you know that close to 73% of chennai-ites take the bus as their primary mode of transport? The Chennai Metro Transport System has about 540+ routes, a hundred or more extension routes and I believe a fleet of 2000+ buses. There are 200 new buses coming in every month, as the old ones are being slowly taken out of service.

If you have seen the scrolling LEDs and the fancy new volvos, thats the face of the chennai transport system. Pretty slick I must say.

I had personally met the new Cheif Operating Officer sometime back and he is quite a fabulous guy. I have a good sense of feeling that the new volvos that are rolling, the ticketing machines and all, are just the beginning of what Chennai will see.


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