Those who follow these long and loquacious posts of The Man from Madras Musings (and may their tribe increase), will know that he remained holed up elsewhere during the big floods and returned only after the waters began receding. Coming back to our Ch-enice, MMM and his good lady happened to cross several flooded localities, all of them touted as prime real estate at one time. ‘Come soak in the atmosphere,’ said a large hoarding just outside what must have once been a fairly upmarket gated community. The atmosphere was pretty much soaked. Another said that the residents could view a lake no matter which side of the building they occupied. This was no false claim by the way, for the lake was really all around the edifice. ‘Ready to move in to the lap of nature’ declared a third, only nature had moved in faster and was not willing to move out. Some developers came in for considerable flak on social media, with their names and faces being put up and shamed as those who stole our waterbodies. MMM noticed that several of those uploading these details were residents of the same schemes that they were now trashing. Suddenly, the crime was someone else’s.
All this apparently, has pushed back the real estate market in our city quite a bit. MMM notices that our newspapers have indefinitely suspended publication of those attractive property supplements that sold high rise and residential schemes on lakes on the front pages and then for the sake of form threw in some small laments on the back on why we need to protect our environment and preserve our heritage.
The plight of these real estate developers is even worse, MMM understands. As a great humorist wrote after a Stock Market crash, one day these men were millionaires and the next day they were selling apples on the street. He also added that several were jumping out of windows, but that MMM will not include, though in the current context, most of them did make their money building multi-storeyed structures with plenty of glass windows.
Many people who MMM knows, and who migrated to the far-flung outskirts, are now wanting to come back to the core city. That is going to cause its own set of problems but MMM will not dwell on that. What he wonders about is as to how long this wisdom will last. Consider the facts – Chennai gets a flood of this magnitude probably once in forty years. Most of our buildings last around twenty. Already there is talk that these things are but rare occurrences. So what is the guarantee that we will not be soon flooded once again, this time with advertisements, brochures, hoardings, mailers and fliers about villas in the midst of nature, gated communities boasting three bhk with own swimming pools? And, who knows, some enterprising realtors may even offer boats, or at the least life jackets, as a free add on for those buying flats.