Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXI No. 5, June 16-31, 2021

Short ‘N’ Snappy

- MMM

To Lockdown or not to Lockdown

The Man from Madras Musings has nothing but sympathy for the head that wears the er… crown (now what did you think MMM meant?) in our state. We all know he had to wait long to be entrusted with the responsibility. Some had even written this as an impossibility. Parallels were drawn with a man in a similar situation in far away England who too has been waiting long. But all has ended well for our prince, though the other one, in water-girt isle has heaven knows how long to wait.

But to get back to our man, he must have all along imagined life to have been one of speeches, meetings, cutting ribbons, laying foundation stones, receiving and sending off visiting dignitaries and then travelling around. Instead, what he has gotten on to is a pandemic-ridden territory, with none of the above exciting things happening. And each weekend he has this momentous decision to take on what is to be done with the lockdown. To open or not to open that is his question, a dilemma which if you remember kept the Prince of Denmark awake several nights.

Mind you, the head that wears the crown has MMM’s sympathies. There seems to be no one answer to this question. Our state has so many diverse groups, each having an opinion and though there seem to be only two answers (open or remain locked down), there are fifty shades of grey in what can be allowed in between. Our head must be turning quite grey in whatever is left beneath that crown (once again if you thought of something else that is entirely your imagination).

Take for instance the question of allowing vehicles. MMM is reliably informed that there is a group of owners of high-end German cars in the city that wants the lockdown to end immediately because rats have taken to gnawing the wires in their idle vehicles, this apparently being a problem these cars are particularly prone to. And so, we have these influential men wanting the lockdown to lift at once. Not so enthusiastic are their chauffeurs who have thus far had a paid holiday and want it to continue.

That then is just one conflict of interest. Now take this forward – you have the temperance league people vs the regular TASMAC goers, the parents vs children group, the teachers vs students groups, the small-shop owners vs the mall shop owners, the OTT content providers vs the theatre owners, the society for the continuance of the virtual meets vs those who want to meet in person and so on. And then there is that huge group of home delivery people – the Swiggy and Dunzo men of this city. MMM is not sure if they would like the lockdown to continue. While they have done a magnificent job rushing products from place to place, MMM thinks they are overworked and would not mind some easing of the pressure.

There is a conflict everywhere. But MMM is sure that no matter what, everyone would want the lockdown to end and more importantly, the pandemic to go. It is still early days and the next few weeks will really show us how we fare. And let us not forget, this is just a partial opening up. There are going to be plenty more decisions for the top man and MMM is quite sure he will be often lifting his crown, scratching his head, and pondering over whether life in the opposition was not easier. But then, the way he has been begun MMM is quite sure he will do well in this tenure. All the best to him.

Need for a Pied Piper

The Man from Madras Musings has mentioned in the previous passage the rat menace to which high-end German cars in the city are prone. He now takes harp in hand and sings in detail about the problem. Apparently, cars of this kind need to be kept alive and kicking if they are not to be troubled by rats. The heat of the vehicle, and heaven knows that in Chennai anything takes ages to cool, is a sufficient deterrent when these cars are subject to normal use but come a time when they are not, and rats immediately make a beeline to them.

Those in the know inform MMM that this is a design defect, a point which MMM is sure these vehicle manufacturers contest quite hotly. They need to, for if they did it coldly then rats are sure to gnaw at their vitals just as it happened in the Greek myth with Prometheus, only it was a vulture that did the job in his case. But to get back to the rat menace, it seems that these cars were designed for entirely rat-free cities. But are German towns really free of rodents? MMM seems to recall a certain Pied Piper had to be called to Hamlyn town standing by the River Weser in Brunswick. It is of course quite likely that the man did such a thorough job of it that there are no rats left. In which case Chennai by the River Cooum in Tamil Nadu ought to extend an invite to this man to make an extended stay here. The German car owners will, so MMM believes, be quite happy to sponsor the visit, for the other option, namely, to have the cars’ innards bitten by rats comes with an even more expensive bill. MMM is also given to understand that these car manufacturers offer a rat insurance which by the way is not all that comprehensive. One of the two high-end car manufacturers offers a mesh that electrocutes rats. The other apparently believes in a policy of live and let live. On prodding they do however offer a mousetrap. Or so MMM is informed.

MMM was discussing this issue with a lady who owns an Audi and he was informed by her that the solution to this menace lies in tobacco. You need to take a few leaves and place them in all the flat portions within the bonnet, these being spots where the rats like to rest at the end of a long working day. Unlike their human counterparts rats it seems do not have any liking for tobacco and stay clear of them. Maybe it is time for our health ministry to place ads in the papers and in other media informing smokers that they are inferior to even the common rats. But that is a side business opportunity into which we need not go just now. Care however needs to be taken not to place too much tobacco inside the vehicle MMM’s friend warns. The smell can penetrate the cabin and give everybody a high and that can in turn lead to other side effects.

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Tailpiece

The Man from Madras Musings, and others at Madras Musings are very flattered at the number of grumbly emails that have come over the non-delivery of the print version of the magazine. While it is nice to feel wanted, we take this opportunity to bring to the notice of these people that there is a pandemic out there and also a lockdown. The latter in particular needs lifting for us to return to print. Till then, they need to visit us at our web site www.madrasmusings.com. But not every printing press in the city seems to have shut down. MMM notes that whoever prints the poster shown above worked overtime for these, always plentiful on our city walls, have now proliferated into a pandemic of their own. Perhaps these are problems to which the human mind turns automatically when under enforced lockdowns.

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