The Man from Madras Musings missed it all, just as he did the floods of 2015. Well not entirely. He was in our Madras that is Chennai during the peaceful and dignified part of the Jallikattu protests but was away when the peaceful sit in became a fairly chaotic break out. He will thus have a couple of chapters less when he pens his book titled The Various Challenges, that Chennai Faced in 2015/16, but he cannot help it. Talking about book titles, MMM hears that these days you can convert the most banal of books into a bestseller if you include a numeral in the title and, so, he perhaps ought to title his as The Five Challenges of Chen-nai. Three are the floods, the cyclone and the protests. The other two MMM leaves it to you, dear reader (as Charlotte Bronte would have said), to identify.
MMM understands that the city ran riot for the best of a day and that temper ran high. He was, as he said, not around and returned only at the tail end, when the all clear had been more or less blown. But he did get to experience the ripple effects of the trouble even in the not-so-distant place that he had gone to.
It all started at the airport where MMM was, all ready to get back to his beloved Chen-nai. The first sounds he heard on entering the place was a man loudly thundering on his phone that he did not care that Chennai was burning or whatever it was, but he wanted his sales targets to be achieved. The other end was obviously not interested so much in the sales target as it was in getting back home and, so, must have said something fairly truculent for this immediately heated up the man on the phone at MMM’s end. His voice rose several decibels and he said that with Chennai always facing some issue of this kind – floods, cyclones, state funerals, strikes, protests – how could any sane person do business in the city. He then looked at MMM for sympathy, of which he got none. Nobody messes around with Madras when MMM is around.
Arriving in Chennai (sorry, Chief, MMM meant Madras), MMM was hovering around the baggage carousel (and let him tell you that you need to hover for long in Madras to get any of your baggage), when he heard an obviously-from-the-north lady cursing our city and saying that ‘olways some probelem in this Medrose.’ MMM could have challenged that, for he too had resided up North and could count among his memories several violent clashes that disrupted life no end whilst he lived there. But he chose to keep quiet.
Emerging eventually with his baggage and scanning the horizon anxiously for his car, rather in the manner of Maria-na of the Moated Grange, MMM heard plenty more curses about our city. But what tickled him most was a man who obviously tired of waiting for his car, took offence at everyone else whose conveyance had made it to the airport. He muttered imprecations under his breath and, finally, unable to handle his frustration any longer, dialled his driver and asked him as to why he was so slow when everyone else had managed to break through the protestors and the barricades!
All said and done, our city has had a bad press in the past many months and it needs a quick clean up act, rather in the manner of the Marina from which MMM understands, -several thousand tonnes of -garbage was removed post the protests.