Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXI No. 4, June 1-16, 2021
And so, here we are, in yet another lockdown. The results are encouraging. The chain of transmission seems to be weakening, at least in Chennai, where the numbers have fallen precipitously. That is by itself a reason for commending the initiative. But what after the lockdown is lifted and we all go back to our normal activities to the extent possible? What happens when markets, shopping malls, places of entertainment, gyms, hair and beauty saloons, public transport and offices open up again? After all, they cannot be kept closed forever, can they? What then if the numbers rise again? Will we have another lockdown? And then another? What is the permanent solution to be?
We need to accept that we did not have an option this time. Numbers were spiralling out of control and the frontline workers at hospitals and let us face it, crematoria as well, were facing enormous stress. Death touched practically every family and if a Delhi-like situation was to be avoided, we had to go into a lockdown mode. But what needs to be remembered here is that in February we as a city were in an enviable position. From then we, by our carelessness, brought the second wave on ourselves. Election campaigns with scant regard for safety apart, the populace of Chennai did not, and what is even more worrying, still does not, seem to think wearing of masks is at all necessary. When worn, they cover just about anything and everything other than the nose and mouth.
It is all very well to say that life has to go on even during a lockdown. But that luxury is not open to everyone. Not every business is one where working from home is an option. Not everybody lives in homes where every resident can go about their activities as they would in an office. Not everybody can afford to do e-shopping and order food and groceries for home deliveries. Not everyone can earn by staying at home. And continued doling out of largesse and provisions through the public distribution channels while good in the short run only causes overcrowding at those locations resulting in spread of the virus.
The sexual harassment claims lodged against PSBB teacher G. Rajagopalan has inspired several students to come foward with their own grievances. The New Indian Express reports that the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) is making inquiries at three schools after receiving complaints from their respective students and alumni. The TN Minister of School Education Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi has also announced moves to establish a monitoring committee to regulate online classes and set up a student helpline to report harassment.
In the past decade or so, ever since the DGP Building aka Chief Office was saved from demolition, the police in Tamil Nadu have emerged as exemplars of heritage conservation, at least when compared to many other Government departments and private owners. Police stations have been restored and when new wings had to be built they were constructed in a sympathetic style or if in a new idiom then tucked well away from the older structure.
In 2016, I entered the eleventh grade at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School, KK Nagar. I chose the science group while some of my friends flocked to commerce because of one dedicated, knowledgeable and creative Accountancy teacher, G. Rajagopalan. The school received many accolades thanks to him; he churned out several commerce toppers in the board examinations. My own friends used to eat my brains praising his ability to simplify complex concepts.