Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVII No. 2, May 1-15, 2017
A new kind of lawlessness is afoot on Chennai roads. This has nothing to do with the usual perpetrators of rowdyism on the streets. The offenders here are what we generally call “decent people”, the upper middle class, house-owning types.
Consider this scenario. You drive your car down a quiet street, looking for a place to park (a frustrating exercise at the best of times).You are happy when you spot an empty space by the side of a bungalow with no ‘No Parking’ sign nearby. You slow down and coast along towards this space. When you are near enough you suddenly notice that the space is not really vacant. Someone has placed two rows of rocks (more like concrete blocks from construction sites) on the roadside. There’s no way you can park your car there. You wonder if the Chennai Corporation has taken over the spot for some work. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Then, you look at the gate of the bungalow by the side of which you intended to park, and catch the eye of the watchman standing there. He smirks. “You can’t park here,” he informs you.
“Did you put the stones here?”
He nods. “The owners don’t want anyone to park their vehicles here.”
“But I am not parking in front of their gate. This is a public road. You can’t block it like this! They don’t own the road!”
The watchman shrugs. “Talk to the owners. I’ve been told to put the stones there. And that’s all I have done.”
As it seems too much trouble to take him up on his challenge, you drive on and find another, fairly empty street. (By now you are about six streets away from where you really need to go.) Again you find an empty space for parking by the side of a house. As you ease your car into the space, the watchman of the house comes running out and yells, “Madam, you can’t park here!”
“Why not? There’s no ‘No Parking’ sign here. I am not parking in front of your gate. What is your problem?”
“I don’t know about all that. The owners don’t want anyone to park here. They need the space for their own cars.”
“This is a public road!” you shout. “You can’t tell me not to park here! As for the owners of this house, tell them to park their cars inside their compound!”
The watchman totally ignores your tirade. When he speaks, it is calmly and slowly, as if he is talking to someone deficient on the uptake. “Madam, park elsewhere. It is for your own good that I am saying this,” he says in a flat tone.
Suddenly the air is threatening. You think of slashed tyres and smashed head lamps or windshields. You give up and drive on until you find a space to park where the street degenerates into a slum and the residents are a lot more tolerant.
Are the Chennai traffic police even aware that right under their noses Chennai residents are taking over stretches of public road for their personal use?
– Janaki Venkataraman
I was delighted by the reference to Educational Review (MM, April 17th). My father R. Srinivasa Iyengar was a regular contributor to the journal which came out regularly until its closure.
Yet another educational journal of the time was Educational India edited by Prof. M.Venkatarangia, a freedom-fighter and a Professor in Andhra University. His daughter Dr. Shantha Sinha was the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Children.
Also, Dr. Mani’s statement (MM, April 17th) that he owed it as a duty to his country which provided him medical education, to return, is heart-warming. If only 10 percent of IIT alumni had chosen to stay and contribute to the economic and industrial development of the country which subsidised their education heavily, our nation would have been much different from what it is today.
30, Kamarajar Street
Chennai 600 093
A letter from one of the readers regarding The Educational Review brought back nostalgic memories. It was being published from 16, Sunkuvar Chetty Street, Triplicane in a house belonging to Prof. M.R. Sampathkumaran, after the printing machines and associated machines were shifted from its previous location, during 1950-60s. I lived in the same complex during my childhood and had many opportunities to meet and interact with Prof. A.N. Parasuraman of Minerva Tutorials, Prof. Sampathkumaran and other illustrious educationists. It surely helped me in many ways in my later life.
Gp. Capt. Arunachalam (Retd.)
62, Jal Vayu Vihar
I read the wonderfully written review of Dr. M.K. Mani’s book Yamaraja’s brother (MM, April 17th) with great reverence. It has brought out the honesty, intelligence and ethics in outlook of a super specialist, Dr. Mani.
He is a strict disciplinarian and a great human. This is well reflected in the last paragraph of the article!
It is sad that such noble qualities are scarcely seen nowadays among current, commercially-oriented medical people.
Every person connected with the medical field should read his book.
Dr. J. Bhaskaran