Hello readers, it’s me & I’m back with a brand spanking new segment that I’ve decided to call “The Debate”. The prime focus of this segment is to act as my occasional take on a burning topic. Most of you are now probably going ” Well that’s not really original, is it? ” & you would be right in saying that if this were like its several billion counterparts in the blogosphere. Thankfully( for you guys) it’s not. Instead of focusing on issues like Sabarimalai or the fact that Ronaldo totally deserves the Ballon d’Or, I’ll be focusing on the news that slips under the radar or gets blown out of the water by these rating boosters.
And to make things even more interesting, I won’t even mention the issue directly, it’s up to you guys to figure it out from the post. If you have a guess, do put it in the comments & let’s see who’s right.
As I write this post, my house is being pounded with rain & the motorists on the road are driving on a death trap. Meanwhile, the local tea shops are having a field day, filled with tired & wet pedestrians looking for a brief respite from the downpour( and hot filter kaapi( coffee) of course ) & road weary motorists looking to recharge their batteries. This is one of the few instances where these two rival camps coexist peacefully without swearing at one another or nearly killing each other.
You see, the Mega-city of Chennai is facing a battle for its soul. On one side are the history buffs & on the other are the modernists. These two sides are often joined by their allies, walkers & motorists. However, these two are extremely fickle-minded, flip-flopping between both sides, sometimes even defecting from their own camp. To explain what I mean, let’s take me as an example. When I’m bouncing around in my Bata Shoes & a bike whizzes past me & misses me by a hair’s length, I give the guy my angriest of stares & stomp off. However, when I’m on my cycle & a careless pedestrian flings their arm into the middle of the road or dances around without a care in the world & nearly ends up decapitating me, I move on while mentally strangling them to death.
Rain compounds the problem. When it rains, the old saying ” Hate is the foundation of society ” comes into stark focus. Heritage defenders run around like headless chickens, screaming that the downpour is ruining a 157 yr old French bunker & that nobody cares & it’s all because of greedy real estate developers. Is there no one to repair & maintain these jewels of the past?? Motorists gather in huddled groups & whine endlessly that the city is far too congested, that what Google Maps claims to be a road barely qualifies as a flat piece of earth( sometimes its not even earth, its more like a river!) & that their beloved metal chariots are being shaken( and or drowned) to death & that all their valuable taxpayer money is being used to line the pockets of already rich politicians. Won’t somebody help them??!
Meanwhile, pedestrians lounge around inside their houses, mumbling that their best clothes got soaked & that they should have listened to the mad old beggar on the corner of the street & carried an umbrella. It’s either that or they would be in fervent discussion with other disgruntled walkers & come to the conclusion that pavements were non -existent in the medical capital of India & those that did exist( by some miracle of creation) were horrendous, filled with garbage, feces, parked & moving vehicles, driven by motorists whose dictionaries presumably did not contain the words ” patience” & ” parking lot”. Some newbie would then suggest that they could use the Metro & then get laughed out for his naivety & non- frugality. Is there no one who could save them??
It might occur to some of my readers that all this could be prevented if people followed the wisdom dished out by the weather department. To them I say, there is a running gag that ever since Ramanan the ” Weatherman” retired, the weather took offense & decided to go haywire. Because when Ramanan was on the job, life was simple, predictable in fact. When he declared that it would rain, it would invariably be sunny & vice versa. But with the new guy, the forecasts changed 20 times within the hour & it was clear that the weather was broken & that the dept. could no longer be trusted.
In the midst of all this chaos, an opposition party leader would materialize out of thin air & stage a massive rally where he would declare that this misery & chaos was because of the ruling party which in reality was a puppet regime of the “North” which was secretly plotting to destroy the glorious Tamil Nadu & build a Ram Statue on the remains of the Thiruvalluvar statute. His solution? Kick out all the scientists who preach climate change & call them anti-Tamil, drive out researchers who want to set up what would be the 3rd facility of its kind in the world, admonish the “North” for their support of Cows & then go join a week long protest on the 2nd longest beach in the world to ‘save’ Tamil cattle breeds.
To spread his gospel, enthusiastic supporters would pound gigantic banners of his likeness into the ground, damaging the very pavements & roads their leader claims to protect & develop , all while defying a High Court order that specifically barred them from doing so. This is part of a long string of defiance & indifference that the populace has towards the Madras High Court & its orders. Is there no one to enforce these orders & save the honor of one of the oldest courts in the nation???
But do not think for a second that things are any better when the sun is shining. If I start talking about that, then this post would be so big, it would break the internet!!
The city does indeed face a battle for its soul. A battle between logic & ideology, between patriotism & nationalism, between its past glory & its future exploits, between pedestrians who want clean, uncluttered & safe places to walk & motorists, who want a de-congested city & proper roads, a battle between the city itself & Nature, a battle which if won by the latter , would reduce all these previous battles to dust( quite literally).
Here’s the thing, in past battles, there was someone who kept the kitchen fires lit, someone who acted as a mediator, someone who kept the city moving if you will. That someone is non-existent during this latest series of battles & that I think, could be the final nail in the coffin for this city.
There is so much more I want to say, but I’m afraid I don’t have the time, I have my exams & Carbon & its compounds isn’t going to read itself. Hope you guys liked the post & want me to do more posts like it. Do send in your guesses & comment down below. Till next time, farewell.