Most of us have our favourite hangouts.
They vary from place to place.
Mine are bookshops and stores which sell hundreds of magazines and newspapers.
I have one such destination in Besant Nagar. I have been frequenting it for about five years now. This place isn't a shop; it is a hole in the wall but this 'hole' is a prime location in this neghbourhood.
It is my favourite because the owner stocks all kinds of titles and allows me to browse as long as I wish to.
The English magazine titles have kept changing all the time.
But the periodicals in the vernacular have expanded. Bengali, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi magazines and newspapers are now on the racks and this is an indication of the changing face of this neighbourhood.
This street corner nook is also a nice observation perch for people like me who want to stop and simply stare at the world around us.
People snacking, others shopping, still others struggling to find parking space . . .
This is a Sunday evening and as the lights come on, all that I can see are shops, shops and shops.
This is the heart of Besant Nagar. Once a sandy plain.
And here in the bowel of the colony are traffic jams on a Sunday evening. Three traffic policemen gamely manage the chaos - the rush headed to Elliots Beach, the streams originating from Vailankanni Church and the MTC buses leaving the terminus in the far corner.
Traffic jams in Besant Nagar.
Traffic jams in Vannanthurai, 300 metres away.
Traffic jams in Sastri Nagar.
Inner colonies have changed forever. The landscape, the facades, the roads.
How are we going to manage these sweeping changes?
Are we thinking about ways to address them?
Last night, I almost walked into a metal barricade as I took the bend to my hearth. I hadn't expected these barricades to be placed inside a colony. But there were two on each of the four streets, off the intersection.
A couple of nasty accidents had taken place at this junction.
So the police felt that the barricades would slow down rash drivers.
Simple solution indeed!