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(ARCHIVE) VOL. XXII NO. 19, January 16-31, 2013
Short 'N' Snappy

New Year resolutions

Now that the 1st of January, has gone by and the next one is a long way off, The Man from Madras Musings has begun charting out a wish list/resolution list for this year. This is not to be confused with the idealistic list made the 1st of January which had such quixotic resolutions as attempting to defy MMM's good lady also known as She Who Must Be Obeyed. By the 15th of January reality sinks in and MMM sets out to plan things that are more achievable.

And this year MMM has put together a survivor's list. By this he means a list that spells out all that MMM hopes to have in order to be able to move around in peace on Chennai's roads. MMM has made attempts to navigate these as a pedestrian, as a public transport user and in small-and, later, medium-sized cars. Having achieved only partial success and a vast number of scratches and bruises (both on himself and the vehicles), MMM now sets out what is needed to emerge unscathed.

AN SUV: MMM had often wondered as to why these SPORTS Utility Vehicles keep careening about on the city's roads. But then our city's thoroughfares are arenas for the adventurous only and what better vehicle for them than the SUV. These are so large and go around at such great speeds that it is safest to be inside these vehicles.

A pennant/political flag on an SUV: Having an SUV alone is not enough. Without the pennant or flag, it is relatively infra-dig. Courageous and physically agile policemen are likely to stop traffic-violating SUVs that are sans this appurtenance. But once you have the pointed thingummy up- front, with a party flag flying, all is well.

Dark windows on an SUV that is embellished with a pennant/political flag: This is strictly against the law, but then if MMM does not cock-a-snook at the law, how can he display his clout? And how else can he get the policemen on the road to salute? MMM notices that the law-enforcers salute these vehicles even if the all important personality is not inside. And the faster these SUVs jump the signals, the more the salutes.

The letter G inscribed on the number plate of an SUV with a pennant/political flag and darkened windows: This is to ensure that apart from jumping signals, MMM can go anywhere without worrying about speed limits. By now, MMM also ought to have acquired a fierce-looking chauffeur who recognises only two components in the vehicle – the accelerator and the horn.

A swirling red-light on an SUV that has the letter G inscribed on its number plate and also has darkened windows and sports a pennant/political flag: This is a vital necessity. When these vehicles speed along, policemen do a double act. They salute and, at the same time, abuse all other law-abiding users of the road for being in the way. It is a tough act.

A convoy to accompany an SUV that has a swirling red light, the letter G inscribed on its number plate, has darkened windows and a pennant/political flag: The number of vehicles in the convoy should be such that they can cause traffic jams by themselves. The convoy will usually comprise vehicles of a brand that means emissary at court and will be bristling with gun-toting guards and antennae of various lengths, thickness and shapes. This usually is associated with the last word in security and, so, is generally denoted by the last letter. By now streets will be cleared for MMM to pass. What more could MMM ask for?

A powerless life

The Chief is breathing ... MMM's neck that for this is long overdue. And even as MMM bends ... his PC trying to ... it out. The TNEB has decided to lend a helping in the meanwhile, by causing a fluctuation ... 5th minute thereby causing MMM's computer to shut down each ... as it is low on.... This obviously means that you, dear...have to fill in the blanks as...and imagine what it is that MMM is trying---say. When a complaint was lodged, MMM... assured that he was not alone and that this problem was common across the....

Which brings MMM to the main point. Considering that they religiously shut down power each month for a full day in all our areas by strict rotation, ostensibly for maintenance, how is it that the power supply is so bad when there is power supply? Are they maintaining themselves or their equipment when they have these maintenance shut-downs? MMM sincerely hopes it is the latter, but somehow thinks it is the former. After all, there is no other State in the country where power is turned off at the main for a full day on account of maintenance.

However, the general view in the mofussil is that MMM belongs to a privileged order for he has outages only for two hours in a day and, then, for a full day just once in a month. Apparently, out there in the outback, power is hardly ever there. Let them use candles, appears to be the prevalent attitude of the TNEB, now TANGEDCO.

Memorials @ Mahabs

The Man from Madras Musings was recently the Man at Mamallapuram. And as he drove along he was quite intrigued to see these objects by the roadside. You could almost pass them off as historic memorial stones. They had all the prerequisites – lying unkempt by the roadside, covered with political posters etc. MMM took a photo (alongside) for your benefit.

These were part of a series of stands that were once put up by (who else?) our Tourism Department. On each was a terra cotta figurine, said to represent our artistic capabilities. All feminine, they were each on the lines of the solidly built dancers we saw on screen in the 1970s, '80s and '90s (and perhaps even now). Actually, they were not all that bad and they did form an aesthetic line-up except for the impossible vital statistics. Then they all went to seed, rather like the dancers of the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Their paint peeled off, they lost an arm or a leg (perhaps they cost an arm and a leg?) and then they disappeared altogether, rather like the dancers of the 1970s, '80s and '90s. What we have are these stands. Perhaps they are memorials in a way!


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In this Issue

More money for tourism
A tinder box waiting to explode
Senior citizens develop an arboretum
Discovering Trichy's Madras connections
Desecrating a memorial to courage
The man behind City's National Art Gallery
The tales of 3 newsmakers
An early scam in Madras

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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