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Vol. XXXII No. 21, February 16-28, 2023

Heritage Watch: 50 years of one of Chennais most iconic living beings – The Anna flyover!

– by T.M. Karthik

For many of us who have travelled across this landmark for most of our lives across decades, this flyover holds a bouquet of our stories and memories.

In fact for many, many years, ‘flyover’ meant only one structure, even after the other juniors came up. Anything beyond ‘the flyover meant’ out of town, for somehow, this became the centre point of the city as I saw it.

Just ‘after flyover’ meant Safire Theatre or Landmark; Great Entertainment meant watching the hopefuls standing patiently in full formals outside the Consulate (‘the’ Consulate meant the US Consulate, of course) from suprabhata sevai to ucchi veyil times; and once you crossed the flyover from the Gemini side to Cathedral road, it signified the start of a run for home! The arm of the flyover leading into G.N. Chetty Road was a little scary for me as a kid. It would suddenly grow very quiet and lonely, and the mind would conjure haunting thoughts of riotous thugs coming at me fully drunk, brandishing sickles in hand.

I used to always grow confused about where exactly the Balamandir side would lead to. The central junction has given me solace on many rainy days, as I rode my bike. I learnt the art of riding on one ways on the small side roads along the arms of the flyover and used to get perennially confused about where exactly I could turn.

Stepping out right at the flattest part on top of the flyover and looking down on creation with all the ambient noise around, gazing into the huge drive-in Woodlands Garden with the wind caressing your face (yes, Chennai has some of it too!) was an adventure.

And the many trips with Appa on the flyover! Such memories!

So, happy golden anniversary Gemini flyover – Anna flyover! You are as much as we are you!

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