Monday, January 28, 2008

Thoughts on Chennai-1: Roads

A few months ago, I moved to Chennai from Bangalore. This month, I moved hurriedly back. But my short stay in that great city led to deep introspection about what can virtually be called a sister city of Bangalore – I mean, it’s just a short bike-ride away. But although so close physically, the cities are so different. In this series of posts I will examine the differences between these two great South Indian cities.

The first thing that hits a visitor from Bangalore to this city of sun, sea and sand is: ROADS.

These chaps don’t know to make roads. The Chennai concept of road is this flat smooth thing with tar on it. On both sides of it, they have this thing called ‘footpath’- a flat unbroken path with nice neat slabs of stone for people to walk on. Now get this, the weirdest part: they act as though roads are where the cars drive and footpaths are exclusively for people.

How can these people be so Naïve ?

Where are the potholes? Where are the half-meter-high speedbreakers with razor edges which scrape the underbelly of low-slung cars? Where is the mud? The cobbles? The gaping holes in the footpath for people to fall into and break their legs? Above all, where, oh where is the friendly intermingling of cars and pedestrians in the middle of the road, sprawling over on to the notational footpaths, where visible?

In short, where is the fun? Where are the possibilities of spiritual instruction?

These chaps seem to think a road is a soulless means of getting from point A to B. Don’t these Chennaites have a sense of adventure? They ought to visit us dudes in Bangalore. Fun and games night and day on the streets. Of course, people get killed and maimed. But what of it? It strengthens you spiritually.

We Bangloreans are a spiritual, fun-loving people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a good one!