chennai

Crumbling Glory

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Schmidt Memorial
Courtesy: Wikipedia

Isn’t this that crumbling structure people spit on? This shady structure in Elliot’s beach, Chennai was built for a worthy cause as opposed to the drinking, making out, weed smoking spittoon that it has become today.

The culvert that can hardly be read ( if you can make it past the stench and dare to intervene in the not so polite activities that go on there) reads

TO COMMEMORATE THE GALLANTRY OF

K A J SCHMIDT

WHO WAS DROWNED NEAR THIS SPOT ON

DEC. 30-1930

IN HELPING TO SAVE THE LIVES

OF OTHERS

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Culvert
Courtesy: Wikipedia

Karl Schmidt was drowned while trying to save the life of a young English girl. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George Frederick Stanley, the Governor of Madras commissioned this memorial allegedly outraged by the apparent apathy of the victim who was saved and to honour the selfless service of Schmidt. P. Munuswamy Naidu, CM of the Independent Movement’s Justice Party (remember the Madras Presidency was under Dyarchy for some time) also welcomed this commission.

So what happened after that? Well, we got independence and budding artists couldn’t just leave a white canvas blank. They had to create modern art but spitting beetle juice, drawing with charcoal, stubbing out cigarettes, discarding used condoms, old underwear, rubber flip flops, glass shards from beer bottles… That should add a bit of colour and character to a plain white structure eh? They composed haikus, graffiti and left them etched on the small patches that had escaped. Less artistic folk simply resorted to carving their names in. Lack of lighting contributed to the place turning into a charitable abode for the world’s oldest profession. Hint of Ganja smoke, jasmine and urine in the air, the hot and heavy adventures rendered the place completely inaccessible for the public. From a monument to a monumental symbol of all that is wrong with our city, the Schmidt Memorial has certainly had a dramatic fall from glory.

The Chennai Corporation is now attempting to restore the structure. But just patching up the cracks will not be enough. The foundation has to be strengthened and even the culvert needs help. The tenders have been floated and petitions given. It is a good initiative, but needs public support.

We Chennaiites are known for taking pride in our city. The influx of people from all over has not fazed our loyalty. We ought not to loose the spirit of Chennai in our mad rush to be the perfect hosts. We are hospitable, helpful; we hold dear all our cultures and invite yours too; we strive to help the less fortunate; we are marching ahead but would not like to leave you behind… Such is Chennai, please help keep our city beautiful. 

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Coffee, Paper and a whole lot of repressed thoughts…

Don’t take anything for granted!

I belong to the generation that was raised on that principle. Perhaps the last generation to be raised such. But, perusing the newspaper seriously for the past few weeks, realisation dawned that I take several things for granted. Here is a list…

I take for granted that in India:

  1. People have the right to marry out of their caste
  2. People have the right to consume alcoholic beverages or socialise without inviting a sexual assault
  3. People will be given first aid in case of an accident
  4. The police are actually there to protect my rights and dignity
  5. I have the right to a fair trial and the governance will deal with me in the same manner as the rich
  6. Our taxes benefit us or the general public in some way
  7. The choice of clothes I wear, accidentally meeting a person’s eye, smiling, wearing a shade of lipstick or saying “NO” to advances will not be misconstrued as an invitation for rape and torture
  8. Crimes where children are victims will be handled with utmost diligence, sensitivity and the strictest punishment given
  9. The entertainment and sportsmanship we witness and learn is not an orchestrated drama
  10. My merits would primarily help me secure jobs, placements or subsidies

You must think I’m crazy

P.S: People who have been encouraging and sometimes downright pestering me to write (my husband J, mom, Guppy and Sathish) – Thank you and I’m making Vanilla Walnut cake this weekend if you want to drop by 🙂

‘Cupcake’ guy is back and I saw a camel!

Img Courtesy: Purdue.edu

Img Courtesy: Purdue.edu

I was parking my bike at a flower shop on my way home last night…

It’s burning hot in Chennai and I was surprised to see the shop having a big bunch of beautiful pink and white carnations…The breath caught in my throat and I pulled over.

I was looking at the beautiful collection of flowers they had for the day/evening (Roses and Carnations mostly) and they had a pink and white theme going… When suddenly I heard

“So can I get some flowers for my cupcake?”

Deepak Debnath (sack o swine poo).

“Hey” my face darkens by several shades and I suddenly wish it was TK or any other friend that I ran into…

“Why the long face (pause) baby face?(Hearty Chuckle, apparently it was something clever and / or funny)

“Nothin’, I was just leavin’ ”

“Yo! Hold up Bunny Bear, you want me to drop you somewhere”

“No thank you Deepak. I wish you would call me by my name.”

“You hate me callin you sweet names huh? That’s different about you. You gotto have that checked out… Most girls pray for it…”

“I’m not most girls. I have to go. Bye!”

“Bye Joyceykins… What? It is your name right?” Calling after me “I’ve moved here, I’ll see you around”

I beat a hasty retreat shooting a prayer to the heavens. “I promise I will cut back on road rage and pulling pranks on people for a whole month. Just get me outta this! I’ll even throw in eating my vegetables…”

Yeah! The cupcake guy is back… 😦

This afternoon I was riding to work. It is 104.36 F and the humidity Gods are at their most benevolent phases in the year.

So I was ridin along and turned a corner and VOILA! There was a camel…

A goddamn CAMEL! Ship of the desert, with a hump and bad teeth and everything!

There it was ambling along, and a boy who looked about 12 yrs old,was leading it offering rides in boiling weather…

I knew Chennai was getting hotter, but sheesh!

This is insane. This is just wrong. Cart them damn camels to where they belong. I’m not ready for this yet!