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Vol. XXIX No. 6, July 1-16, 2019

Short ‘N’ Snappy



No, The Man from Madras Musings has finally not lost his marbles, and that clarification is only in case you did not think it had already happened. Those are all abbreviations that the IT world has given us. The first is Bring Your Own Food – a scheme when subsidised canteens were wound up following one of these periodic recessions that batter the world of code frequently. The second was Bring Your Own Computer, when the licence laws for software became so confusing and upgrades so frequent that companies shifted the responsibility on to the staff. Now the latest, and this is Chennai specific, is Bring Your Own Water. There is also an offshoot of this – BYOP – Bring Your Own Plate. This is to ensure that you use YOW to wash YOP after you eat YOF and before you go back to work on YOC. There is a more extreme alternative – BYOH – Be (at) Your Own Home and work from there.

All of these have been brought about because of AWS (acute water scarcity and not Amazon Web Services) in the OMR (that you know) area. This IT Corridor has apparently been planned with no permanent arrangement for water beyond the usual WTs (Water Tankers) and when those went on strike there was chaos. Or as the IT people would have put it – a severe malfunction or glitch took place that caused an outage of the entire system. The denizens of the tech world have been left if not high, certainly dry.

MMM (oh come on, you know what this stands for) is quite amazed, as he is sure are his readers that this hi-tech corridor has such an Achilles Heel or in tech terms a bug that can paralyse everything year after year each May unless a fix is developed and a patch fixed. This can at best be implementation of RWH (see page 1 for what this is) systems so that when the rains come, there will be enough water that can percolate to collection points and be available in the dry season. In the meantime, BYOW it is.

But that is all very well as far as drinking water and washing of plates are concerned. But what of ablutions as they are euphemistically referred to in the old world of plain English? Will that necessitate a policy of BYOB and BYOM (bucket and mug respectively)? And will that mean that for those from up north it will be a case of BYOL (lota)? Or will there be a strict ruling that those who work in the IT Corridor have to avoid MYOW (Make Your Own Water)? Only the future will tell.

MYOW reminds MMM of the latest technological solutions that are available to combat the GWS (Great Water Scarcity) – there is a new product in the block that creates water out of air. Apparently it traps the moisture in the Chennai atmosphere, of which we have plenty, and makes it available for us to drink, bathe and ablute. And then there is the other solution that conserves water by not letting it pour from taps but only releasing a fine mist of droplets. That is all very well for the hands. But what if we need a bath? Imagine standing under a shower and all you get is a fine mist. As for the nether regions MMM assumes it will be a case of BYOP (paper). Desperate times have clearly resulted in desperate solutions too.

Making the Hair Stand on End

It was if you recollect Hamlet’s father who said that he had something to say which would make his son’s hair stand on end like quills on a fretful porpentine (which goes to prove that the Printer’s Devil existed even in Shakespeare’s time, for the bard quite clearly meant porcupine). But be that as it may, it was the turn of the twenty or so hairs on the head of The Man from Madras Musings to stand on end. However let him begin at the beginning –
It was a hot summer’s day as it always is in Chennai and MMM was driving along with nothing on his brain but the heat and traffic. And alongside comes this two-wheeler. Nothing unusual about that either and MMM gave it just a passing glance. It was driven by a man and on the pillion was a rectangular red carton which appeared initially to be a refrigerator – nothing unusual there either. The good man was clearly transporting it, though it did look terribly unsteady on the rear seat.

It so happens in Chennai traffic that your fellow travellers remain alongside for quite a while and it was at the subsequent traffic signal that MMM realised that the man on the two-wheeler had four and not two legs. It came as quite a surprise and made MMM take a closer look. And what he saw made his hair stand on end, like quills on a fretful porpentine. That was no refrigerator but some kind of a bin. And it was upturned on a pillion rider who had evidently covered himself with it and perched behind the rider of the motorcycle, was merrily coasting along. No wonder that four legs had manifested themselves when there ought to have been just two. The lights turned green at this point and the bin, which had got off the bike, no doubt to stretch its human legs, was alerted to this fact by the driver. It immediately got on to the pillion, gave itself a shake and was off leaving MMM watching open mouthed.

It is of course something to be condemned from a safety point of view. But MMM could not help admire the intrepid courage of the man who was inside the bin. He had no view of the traffic and despite being completely in the dark, was comfortably seated on a two-wheeler and going along in the Chennai traffic. And the heat inside that bin must have been unbearable too. MMM would not have done this even if he had been paid for it.

Knowing full well that the readers of Madras Musings are a sceptical lot and would not believe this story, MMM drove close at the subsequent traffic signal and took a photo of the two men on the bike, complete with the bin. And so, there it is for posterity. Readers will recollect that it was not so long ago that MMM had taken a photo of a pillion rider who had a wooden stool around him. Clearly the habit is catching and probably some view this as a better option than a helmet.

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