Click here for more...

Click here for more...

VOL. XXIV NO. 19, January 16-31, 2015
Short 'N' Snappy

Pleas against posters

The Man from Madras Musings was delighted to see the latest initiative by the Corporation of Chennai. It has put up signboards all along the flyovers, after it has finished painting them a garish green which, incidentally, is said to be the favourite colour of those who matter. These signboards request those who paste posters on public walls to think before they do so, for the flyover has been painted with the money that comes from the taxes paid by those who paste posters. Thus far, the appeal appears to have had its effect, for the flyovers that MMM is familiar with have remained poster-free.

Signboard at a flyover

However, MMM does have some differences of opinion with those who came up with this idea for deterring the poster nuisance. Firstly, do those who actually paste posters on walls pay any taxes? Highly unlikely is MMM’s view for these are the people who belong to the fringes of society. And so how does the Corporation aim to protect public walls from them? Secondly, do those people who commission these posters pay any taxes? That too is highly debatable. The biggest offenders are the political variety, and these are largely men and women from outstation who spend money on posters and cutouts featuring their city-based political top bosses. The posters of the film industry closely follow these. There again, taxes are a sensitive subject. Next come the posters featuring the dear departed. These posters, depicting two weeping eyes around a photo of the deceased, are again sensitive subjects. MMM expects those who order print runs on this theme to be so grief stricken that taxes are perhaps the last topic on their minds. MMM however is not so sure of those posters that are put up to commemorate the first (and second and third and so on) anniversary of the deceased.

A new variety of offenders is the Sabha or classical music organisation. MMM is rather puzzled as to what joy the secretary of a Sabha gets by putting up posters of artistes which are then chewed by our four-legged brethren or urinated upon by the two-legged variety. But this is a recent trend. MMM doubts if tax is a relevant topic in this industry too. It is notorious for low fees at least on paper by which MMM does not mean poster paper.

What of the media which rightfully speaking ought to be leading the battle against posters? MMM is certain that the various publishing houses of the city definitely pay their taxes but when it comes to putting up posters their record is not particularly edifying. The latest issues of the vernacular magazines in particular are widely advertised by means of posters and these are to be found everywhere.

Lastly, by putting up this signboard, is the Corporation stating that public property alone is to be spared of posters and private walls can be used with impunity? That is a matter to ponder over. But having said all that, MMM is of the view that the latest signs are very much an improvement on the old ‘Stick No Bills’ or ‘Those Pasting Posters will be Prosecuted’.

Driving up, and down

The Man from Madras Musings has in the past lamented about the state of the speed breakers on our city roads. The lack of standardisation in curve, slope, width and texture has been dealt with in detail. So also has the lack of markings to indicate that a speed breaker is lurking on a particularly dark stretch of road. But before you go on to the next article with a muttered comment about how MMM has lost it and is repeating himself, lend him your eyes a little, for MMM now writes of the new kind of speed breaker that has manifested itself.

MMM is fairly sure that you have come across it. It is broad unlike the earlier ones that were sharply curved. But such is its width that it gives you the feeling that you are climbing up a hill. If you are in a car, everyone is thrown back as the vehicle makes the ascent. If you are on a two-wheeler and you hit the up slope with some speed, chances are that you take off like a rocket and land in the next postal district.

Once you have climbed to the top, it is best that you tarry a while. This is to let your heart rest and get its beat rate down to normal. Most vehicles pause here anyway, for at a particular spot on the summit, they attain a kind of equilibrium, with the entire chassis poised evenly as on a fulcrum. You can also get a good view of the scenery of the surrounding countryside. But then all good things have to come to an end. You can’t stay on for too long anyway for those behind will be coming up and wanting their share of the air at the top. And so you begin the descent. Here again it is advised that all regulations that apply to a roller coaster need to be followed. Expectant mothers, elderly people or those with lumbar or cardiac problems are advised to say their prayers, as also those who are susceptible to motion sickness. The only advantage in coming down is that it is invariably quick and you can always see what lies ahead of you, which is not always the case during the ascent. But there is one thrill that awaits you as you come down. The area beside the speed breaker being at a lower level, a considerable amount of water accumulates at the base whenever it rains. You therefore not only descend with a splash, you also liberally douse anyone else who is around. All this for free. To think people were paying through their nose at aqua themed parks for the same kind of experience. Given that ours is a welfare state, it was but to be expected that the powers that be would give us, apart from food, gas, medicine, entertainment and information, some good clean fun also for free.

Once you are on the ground there is no time to relax, for these speed breakers were evidently designed by those who specialised in putting up amusement parks with thrilling rides. More often than not, another of the same kind follows this sort of a speed breaker at a very short distance. Like the animals in Noahs ark, these go about in two and two.

Oh, yes, and before MMM signs off on this story let him warn you. There is still no standardisation on the markings for these speed breakers. Several become evident only when you hit them and your vehicle rises sharply in the air. If you do experience this, it is best to keep your seat belt fastened and pray for freedom from air turbulence.


Please click here to support the Heritage Act

In this issue

Buckingham Canal highs and lows
Madras Landmarks - 50 years ago
The importance of being smart
A trail of hope
Why can't Tamil Nadu villages aim to be like these?
How the Buckingham Canal was born
The birth of Matscience

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Readers Write
Dates for your Diary


Download PDF