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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 13, october 16-31, 2009
Short 'N' Snappy

Poster pestilence

And so the Government has declared that posters are “hereby banned” on four arterial roads (lucky chaps, those who live on them) and anyone found defacing properties on these roads will face action under Section so & so, Sub-Section such & such, such & such para, etc. etc. and so on. The Man from Madras Musings has a sharp attack of bile every time he thinks of it. And being a fairly rational human being, though the Chief and MMM’s good lady have markedly different views on this, MMM has analysed the reasons for his biliousness. The first is the fact that MMM’s house, though on an arterial road, is not on one of those four chosen arterial roads. This naturally means that roads such as those where MMM lives will now have to bear the brunt of posters, as there will be that many more to be pasted as those that cannot be pasted on the aforementioned arterial four owing to Section so & so, Sub-Section such & such etc.

The second reason for MMM’s biliousness is that the Government has already got the legislation protecting properties from such defacement and that piece of law was enacted a good fifty years earlier. The Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of disfigurement) Act, 1959 protects not just the four arterial roads from defacement but all roads, irrespective of whether they are arterial or coronary or pulmonary or whatever else. Even the small capillaries which are visited by no Government official are protected. But this law, which ought to be celebrating its golden jubilee this year, has simply remained on the books. So why the fanfare for using a law to protect only four roads? Or has the Government accepted that it cannot monitor all roads for such defacements and decided that its jurisdiction will now cover only four chosen thoroughfares?

MMM has also written about this before but would like to repeat it again – that it is the lawmakers (both ruling and opposition parties) themselves who are the biggest source of posters, followed by city-based magazines who think that each issue of theirs ought to be publicised through posters. Once these two exercise some self-restraint, public defacements would automatically come down.

Manned meters

Mylapore, as befitting a locality that is even older than Madras, has always believed in being in the forefront of just about anything, and The Man from Madras Musings notes that this includes parking meters as well. MMM had gone to North Mada Street the other day and was surprised to find that instead of the usual human being who collects parking fees and rather reluctantly gives a receipt, there was a parking meter. Clear instructions were given on how to operate it. Despite this, some technologically-challenged folk, such as MMM, were diffident about using it. A helpful attendant was stationed close by and he assisted in the whole process and, presto! there was the parking ticket. MMM was advised to keep it on the dashboard so that it was visible from outside and that was that. A quick procedure and despite the crowd of hangers-on who appeared to think that this was a magic show of sorts, it was all hassle-free. The only negative is that the arrival of the parking meter is a sure sign that North Mada Street is not going to be declared out-of-bounds for traffic in a hurry.

Compare this with MMM’s experience outside the High Court. Only lawyers are now allowed to park inside the campus and so those of us who have other business there (thankfully not small causes) have to park on NSC Bose Road. The parking space here is at a premium. And controlling the spot is a team of attendants who collect the parking fee manually. And do they give a receipt? No, sir! When MMM made bold to ask for one, he was given a look that suggested that he ought to consider himself blessed to have been given a parking slot at all.

Court heritage

Talking about the High Court, The Man from Madras Musings remembers a day when the Chief came back from the place all pleased as punch. A heritage committee of some sort had been set up there to study the historic campus and work out a plan for its restoration.

MMM wonders as to what happened to that committee. Certainly during MMM’s visit there was no indication of any restoration of any kind. The place was a warren of haphazardly parked vehicles and it being a rainy day, MMM had to wade through a rich sludge that resembled oatmeal gone bad.

The main building, MMM noticed, had huge airconditioning ducts for which large chunks of doors and walls had been gouged out. As for the later buildings on the same campus, the less said the better.

Medley of fonts

Have you ever reflected on how there appears to be no quality control over the shapes and sizes in which we get vehicle number plates? The Man from Madras Musings remembers that there was a law that insisted on a certain standard. Wonder what happened to it?

Nowadays there appears to be a great craze to have single digit registration numbers and then have the whole plate painted with just one fixed intention – make the other numbers completely unreadable. What happened to the strict law enforcement that was to take place?

Once again, it is the extremely influential who have the craze for such number plates and, naturally, they cannot be controlled especially when they sport No. 1 and believe that’s what they are.

Monsoon curtain-raiser

It rained for exactly 45 minutes last week. And it left such a trail of havoc by way of water-logging and traffic snarls that it left The Man from Madras Musings shuddering to think of what it will be like when it rains for two or three days at a stretch. Our authorities have, of course, made all the right noises about ensuring freely flowing drains, traffic-free roads etc. But as to what the ground reality will be is anybody’s guess. In the meanwhile, MMM is busy searching for his trusted raincoat, his umbrella and mackintosh. You would be better off doing the same.



In this issue

Fort’s tourist potential...
Plea to save the beach...
A promise kept...
From the Aronda...
Bihar to Madras...
Historic Residences...
Other stories

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Short 'N' Snappy
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Quizzin' with Ram'nan
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