Every city has its characteristics and Chennai is no exception. But it takes a non Chennaiite to actually list the telltale signs for Chennai or for any city, for that matter. So, here goes my list... You know you are in Chennai when
- You see larger than life-sized cut-outs of local filmstars - its a film crazy city
- You see women's faces doused with turmeric powder - ever wondered why their faces were yellow?
- Women's hair plaited and adorned with jasmine /crossandra flowers
- The first shops to open in city are the TASMAC outlets - authorized shops that sell liquor
- You see flyovers that don't ease traffic woes
- You see huge hoardings 20 feet x 30 feet of politicians in the street corners where they live
- You realise that cricket as a sport can also be practised as a religion
- You see commuters of all hues, fish carts to bullock carts to cycle rickshaws to autos to pedestrains to bikes to cars to The Hummer, all fighting for space in narrow alleys, we call "....Main Roads"
- College students celebrate 'Bus day' - a crazy exercise
While the rest can be dismissed as quirks and culture or lack of it, of the city, the Bus day celebrations done by certain college students really beats me! Its highly stupid and is highly ridiculous... Apparently, the practice was started some years ago by students to thank the bus drivers and conductors (its always the local government buses) at the end of the academic year for having helped them commute to college. It actually has turned out to be the most unruly and violent days of the year. The students run amok (much akin to the animals in the sanctuaries and zoos) and disrupt traffic, make a nuisance of themselves and the police end up mute spectators. Is it a surprise that only the most notorious colleges in city observe this practice?? Speaks volumes of the real agenda of these celebrations
This year, the police acted tough and even the courts wondered if they could consider banning these celebrations!!! Like they consider banning jallikattu every year around January:-)
Some things never change for a city although one wishes and hopes it does!!