Dear Chennai politicians,
I have a bone to pick. You ruined my Sunday. A Sunday which I was looking forward to. A Sunday which I had marked on the calendar, to meet an old friend who had come to town.
My friend was staying in North Chennai and I, in the South and I was looking forward to a peaceful, traffic free ride through the city I proudly call home. All that and more changed the very instant I left home.
The moment I stepped out and shifted gears, I was in for a harrowing experience. The whole city looked like a painting you had commissioned with complete disregard to the people you are duty-bound to serve. I understand that it was your leader’s 100th birthday celebrations but you had absolutely no right to use public spaces for your private party. Trust me, if your leader was alive today, he would have balked at your mindless and misplaced sense of political reverence.
But let’s get to that later and get back to my Sunday, the one that you shamelessly encroached upon. Let me ask you this – What was the need to plaster the entire city with environmentally toxic flex banners with same artwork over and over again?
What was the need to place them on footpaths, traffic signals, road dividers, parapet walls, flyovers, bridges with every single one of them jutting out at life-threatening angles for commuters? I almost got clipped by one in the middle of a flyover that would have sent me tumbling down a fifty feet drop, head first, into bone-crushing concrete and would have left me brain dead!
Have you forgotten the gut-churning manner in which Ragupathy Kandasamy, the 30-year-old techie died last November when his bike hit one of your illegal banners, that sent him right under the wheel of a speeding truck ? Did you pause to think about the cruel twist of fate that you set in motion for his loved ones? The young lad had just returned from the US to meet a prospective bride and your little birthday party turned a marriage homecoming into a funeral procession.
To make matters worse, I also got yelled at by the traffic police at one signal after the other because…guess what? You ruined their Sunday too. Whom else could they vent their anger on, after having to manage mind-numbing detours under the merciless sun, just so that your party workers could have a traffic-free jaunt through the city?
It wasn’t always like this you know. There was a time when I used to be proud of the brand of politics that Tamilnadu’s Dravidian parties displayed. I used to showcase to my friends in the North the numerous public welfare schemes that your leaders in the 70s and 80s put in place, which had phenomenal success rates.
But after the last year and in particular yesterday, I am done with all that. All that is left of you is this ruthless, selfish, apathetic organism that makes me cringe every single time your name is brought up. Neither will I ever be proud, nor will I ever defend you again. I am not the only one that has reached this conclusion. The state judiciary too is fed up of you going by this news article.
Now this brings me to this question – when do you plan to stop? How many more Ragupathy Kandasamys do you plan to sacrifice so that you can have your birthday celebrations?
I also wanted to use this opportunity to ask you about the horrible condition of our roads, or about the lack of street lights throughout the city that makes it downright impossible for the women, who elected you to power, to feel remotely safe to venture out after sundown. But then, who am I kidding? All you are concerned about is your birthday party. Enjoy while it lasts.
And you, the kid who didn’t get the invite to yesterday’s party – No, you are no better. You would have done the same thing had you been in power.
Rest assured, neither of you get my vote the next time the state goes to polls. This is what happens when you ruin my Sunday.
Does it even matter?