This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.
The roads in all the Indian Metropolitan cities are flooded with people for at lest 20 hours in a day. So, Chennai which is my city of residence is no exception to this rule. Often I have wished and also imagined a road without people. When would it be? Would it ever happen at all ! And my dream came true one day- the ‘bandh' day – ‘bandh' means, total stoppage of all kinds of work; usually the political parties call for bandh and they invariably succeed most successfully in this game. Reason? All bandhs are paid holidays. Who wouldn't love a paid holiday !
On a bandh day, strictly speaking no one should be seen on the roads. "Why not" some people would ask, "I am not at my work place, am I? So, why can't I be seen on the roadside? Why should I be home-bound?" A good argument, indeed, When several people think like this, the roads become filled with people once again. The difference is "less people". Incidentally, Flooding and Less people cannot be quantified. Less doesn't mean zero either. And so my dream of seeing an empty road void of any human being continues to be a dream.
Hurrah! My eyes did witness such a scene in recent days. Not in my city but in
Our son, the host in
"Ýou have come to
The logic apart, an empty road was a feast to my eyes.
Life starts in
All shops remain open till midnight or a little beyond. Even this night time is not free from the Mercury. One evening at 2230 hours, I sensed hot air on my skin. Whether you are inside a shop or a car, you need air conditioning. All shops, malls, restaurants or gyms or what not are all air conditioned. It's a rule and a necessity as well. One cannot survive the summer here without air conditioners. Whereas back in
One afternoon around 1700 hours, I ventured out of my house to the roadside to count the number of people using the road. I saw one solitary male after half an hour's wait.This deficiency, as it were, is made up by the appearance of hundreds and hundreds of cars whizzing past you at 100 kmph speed.
Cars and cars and cars. "Does everyone in
"Yes, most people do. The ones who don't possess, use taxis…"
Three wheelers are out. "What is it?" one person asked.
Two-wheelers is a rare sight on
Oh yes, I did see a VIP some two days back. Guess who? He was a cyclist but cycling at an early hour of the day. Bicycles are rare in this city.
What a city of contrasts !