Sunday, September 21, 2008


I tried to capture the glorious beauty of the setting sun from our bedroom western window. You can just about see the last of the red disc touching the mobile phone antennas in the background with a lot of greenery and coconut trees in the foreground. The photograph does not do justice to what I had witnessed - I am a novice at this photography thing. Hope to do better next time.

Friday, September 19, 2008


How many times has it happened to you? You are driving around in the city, by night, and are blinded by the headlights of the oncoming vehicle. It must be a daily occurence, and the only constant, if you happen to be driving around in Chennai. The majority of the vehicles in Chennai drive around with their headlights selected to high beam. It blinds you completely for a few seconds, and this is even worse with the latest high intensity headlights that most of our modern cars, motorcycles and scooters have. Many a times I have just about missed a poor pedestrian crossing the road, who is wearing no reflective clothing, or even aware that he was just going to be run over. At other times, I have missed cattle, dogs, or bumped over a pothole, or gone over a raised manhole cover. There is a need for all of us to be considerate to each other on the road. This would help us all, and also ensure that we donot run over some poor pedestrian trying to cross the road. We donot need the high beam at the speeds that we are driving around in the city. It is only needed when you are probably clipping on the highway. Even then, courtesy demands that you dip your lights to any oncoming vehicle. Can we all help each other and make our roads safer for people - both on the vehicles and on foot.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I was happy to come to Chennai after having lived in Delhi for some years. In Delhi, one got fed up of seeing every other car sporting a red flashing light - a sign that the car belonged to a VIP, whose time was more precious than that of the other citizens of the country. These cars invariably wanted right of way on the road, and honked when they did not get a pass, or if the road was not broad enough. In case you happened to be driving ahead of them, you were expected to melt into the surroundings to let these VIPs pass. In case the VIP happened to be an elected representative with a XYZ category, then you would have these black cats in other escort vehicles brandishing guns at you if you did not give a pass fast enough. I thought Delhi was the national capital and had a large number of VIPs, and that other cities would be better as regards treatment meted out to ordinary citizens, due primarily to lesser number of VIPs in the other cities.
When I moved to Chennai I found that this city was definitely better than Delhi as far as the red light flashing cars were concerned. However, I was soon witnessing another phenomenon in Chennai, and other parts of Tamil Nadu too. This is the phenomenon of the white menace in the form of either a brand new Scorpio or a Tata Sumo with dark tinted glasses which does not permit you to look inside. This menace invariably has a party flag of one of the DMK parties (there are so many of them these days) stuck on the bonnet. The occupant is always dressed in whites and sits besides the driver. This driver generally has no clue of the rules of the road and drives from the pavement to the median, about 10 times in one km. His only brief probably is to take the occupant of the SUV (a VIP in his own right) ahead of everyone else on the road. I have been trailed by these menacing vehicles a number of times. They flash their headlights, honk their horns and do everything in their control to throw you off the road. In case you are brave hearted like me, they immediately press on the pedal and overtake you from any side irrespective of other traffic. I mentioned this to a local friend and he said that these are the party functionaries of one of DMK parties, and it appears that these vehicles are given as gifts for jobs well done. The flag of the DMK or AIADMK on the bonnet ensures police impunity, and thus they have the right to break all rules meant only for lesser citizens, but not for their elected representatives or aspiring to be elected representatives. May God save the citizens from the menace of their own elected representatives or aspiring ones in these white menacing vehicles, or can the party bosses do something to reign them in, atleast on the roads.