Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXV No. 20, February 1-15, 2016
Make mine music loud
The charismatic leader’s centenary is fast approaching and instructions had been given that this ought to be celebrated in a manner befitting his status. The Man from Madras Musings assumes that no clear detailing was done as to how the revelry was to unfold. Clearly, money had been handed out and every street corner was to celebrate it the way it felt best.
Those who are regular readers of MMM’s outpourings will know that his residence is pretty much the centre of things – drunken brawls, rash driving, road rage, political meetings, wedding bashes – all of them happen just below MMM’s window. And so it was with the centenary of the people’s hero. Early last Sunday, when milkmen had barely stirred, MMM and those who lived nearby were all woken up to the sound of song hits from the various films in which the man of the masses had acted before he went on to great heights in politics. The volume was a tad too loud but MMM does have a liking for film numbers of a bygone era and so he lent his ear – not that he had a choice anyway.
However, there were clearly only a few songs with the celebrants below MMM’s window and so they played them over and over again. Within a couple of iterations, MMM had enough and hoped that the commemoration would be over by lunchtime. A peek out of MMM’s verandah revealed a large portrait of leader, on a small makeshift platform. Potted plants flanked the picture and on either side were giant speakers, connected to a CD player and amplifier that rested on what is known in our city as the fish cart. This struck MMM as rather ironic for it was during revolutionary leader’s tenure in power that this excrescence first made its appearance, was challenged in court and was finally banned. A couple of the faithful followers hung around the ensemble, seemingly unaffected by the high decibel levels.
The music ceased by lunchtime and between noon and around 4 pm there was complete silence, allowing MMM to have his afternoon siesta. But given that the picture and the potted plants had not moved, it was clear that the revelry would resume in the evening. And certainly it did. MMM and the neighbours shut their windows and doors to keep out the sound as much as possible. Some made bold to complain to the local police booth where the personnel said that there was nothing they could do as this was an event sponsored by the ruling party.
What was surprising was that the fiesta did not attract anyone other than the two or three organisers. And there was nothing done other than the playing of the music. At around 8 pm, MMM’s good lady declared that she had had enough. Despite MMM’s entreaties to the contrary she marched off to the event organisers and demanded that they turn the music off. Rather astonishingly, they complied at once. MMM’s good lady returned with a triumphant smile. They were all in a highly ‘spirited’ condition, she declared, but were willing to take instructions from a lady.
Return of real estate
The Man from Madras Musings was certain that the lull was temporary. He alludes to the brief hiatus in advertisements, brochures, in-your-face pamphlets and direct marketing calls from real estate companies hawking flats and homes in the distant peripheral areas of the city. Beginning last week, MMM noted with a sinking feeling (pun intended) that they were all back, and how!
It appears that price is the now the only criterion and many had begun to pun rather gruesomely on the subject. ‘Surprice’ said a full page ad in all the leading newspapers and just to show that the company had not given up on its original USPs, there were other messages dotting the page (after all when you take up a full page and have nothing more than pop-eyed model to show, you can write all that you want) – the usual key words were there – vista, one with nature, natural surroundings, away from hustle and bustle etc.
To all this MMM has only one question – when a householder (and by this term MMM means men and women) moves to a metropolis, the least such a person would expect would be hustle and bustle, and the last to be thought of would be vistas, nature (if you exclude those answering its calls on your compound wall) and open space. Then why go about making these claims that can neither be delivered nor be sustained? But that is the way of real estate. MMM is yet to come across a company that does not offer “3 luxurious bhk in gated community complete with swimming pool, shopping arcade and gym.”
How would it be on the other hand if these brochures mention that a year after moving in, residents will have to plan on closing the swimming pool owing to poor maintenance and lack of water, the gym will rust owing to poor usage and the shopping arcade will go bust as everyone will find that the all-purpose shop opposite is just that much better and possibly cheaper? The much-touted lake just opposite will soon be filled in and divided into housing plots, the water returning only when it rains, and fairly heavily at that. The only pure air you get to breathe will be when your neighbour stops cooking heavily spiced food and as for the birdcalls, these can be heard only if they are recorded as a ringtone on someone’s cell phone.
MMM however learns that there is greater awareness about such tall claims now slowly seeping in and so emptors are now more caveat than what they were before. Consequently, all these villas, spas and getaways are now marketing themselves rather desperately. MMM finds them calling at all odd hours, and short of nestling in the soap dish, you have them everywhere else – at malls, cinema theatres and, of course, inside newspapers – from where they jump out as flyers. Last heard, flats are now being sold at heavy discounts – you can apparently get an extra bedroom thrown in by simply agreeing to sign on the dotted line. Soon they may be willing to furnish the apartments at no extra cost.
Before someone accuses MMM of being an inner city snob who looks down at suburbia, let him also mention that the plight of realtors within Chennai is no better. One desperado has advertised his property and lists among its pluses the fact that it is close to the residences of the present and former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu!
The accompanying picture acquires a Germanic feel in the opinion of The Man from Madras Musings. Heil Chief!