March 30, 2013

Who is your neighbour?

In the old days, Mount Road was the theatre of the city.

Processions, VIP motorcades, dramatic events and demonstrations - these and more had to be held on this road which is now called Anna Salai.

Our home atop one of the buildings on this road gave us a grand stand seat, much like a seat in the ‘D’ gallery at Chepauk.

So we could watch all that took place on the road from the India Silk House end to the Round Tana end - the Wallajah Road-Ellis Road-Mount Road junction where the statue of our former chief minister C N Annadurai stands today.

I vaguely remember American astronauts ( perhaps the guys who first landed on the moon in 1969?) being taken out in a procession on this road. The scene was fascinating enough for me to choose this as a theme for my drawing class at school!

Much later, in 1977 when MGR went on to win the state elections and became chief minister, the celebrations on this road were of epic proportions. And though we had moved out of Mount Road in the 80s, the funeral of MGR in 1987 that took this road was also an event that cannot be easily described.

The historic anti-Hindi agitation had also spilled on to this road but I really do not have memories of that event.

These images roll back now as I read about the agitation and campaigns that are being undertaken by the student community across the state and in our city.

I do not want to go into the merits or demerits of this move by our young people.

But I wish our young people begin to take serious interest in our local, local affairs.
Affairs that concern civic budgets and civic projects, neighbourhood schemes and the environment, local politics and ward development.
If they do, we may witness some dramatic changes and responses locally.

Sadly, our seniors have given up the fight. And the rest are busy with their 9-to-9 lives.

I am convinced our young people, guided by our seniors can do a world of good locally.

They have the strength, they have the adventurism, they have the talent.

Sri Lanka is our neighbour. What about our own neighbourhoods?

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