For me, Chennai or Madras is and always will be a raw city. Chennai is a city which thrives on activity. The beaches, the sound of horns, the temples, the churches, the colleges,the suburban trains,the chaos, the rash driving, the funeral ceremony, the rickshaw drivers, the dosa shops, the TASMACs and the pubs are all integral parts of this traditional-modern city called Chennai. I have heard people who haven’t even been to Chennai telling that Chennai is too hot for them to handle and they cant bear the heat and all. Yes Chennai is HOT. During May you have to rely on the sweat on your bed to cool you to sleep, it is that hot. But once you survive the worst, it is a very warm and welcoming city. Chennai helps you rediscover yourself, it gives you a choice to be what you want to be. It can get you across places for Rs.5 and also for Rs.500. You can choose to stand and gulp alcohol in a TASMAC or head to a nearby pub. You can go to ESCAPE and watch a movie or always head to Devi theater as well. One day you can decide to live the rich life and eat from a fancy restaurant, the next day you can still have a sumptuous breakfast for only Rs.20 in your hand.All that and a lot more, I can go on and on about how enticing Chennai is.
But given all this, there is something that I absolutely dislike about Chennai. The way Chennai and the people of Chennai handle their wastes. No one gives a fuck about the environment, Plastic covers are given out like paper in shops, for everything there is a plastic cover used. You can piss anywhere, dump waste anywhere, litter anywhere and spit anywhere. Chennai is a fucking dirt hole when it comes to all this. The city and the people are so busy growing and surviving and making ends meet that they have successfully failed to neglect the environment. Given all the good things about Chennai, when it comes to disposing waste and growing sustainably, Chennai doesn’t care, or Chennai din’t care till now.
When all goes mans way, nature has its own way of getting back to man. Come the Chennai floods. Yes the city has fought back, it has seen the death of many and misery of many others but Chennai will be back. Chennai has seen the rise of many hero volunteers and use of technology and communication to aid relief work. It has stood together as one and will bounce back to what it was in a weeks time. But according to me the best thing about the Chennai floods was the Chennai floods itself. Nature has given Chennai a second chance. The material damages can all be restored very soon, but along with that the floods have washed away a lot of dirt from Chennai. In a way it has cleansed Chennai of all the waste it has been accumulating over time which would have caused a lot of trouble to the people and the environment. It has given Chennai a reality check and with it a free cleansing driving.
Now things are in the hands of Chennai. Now things are in the hands of people like you and me and many others who call Chennai their favourite city. This is our chance to take the cue and work towards a cleaner and better Chennai. It is now or never, Sieze the day dear Madrasis, because you and I know very well now what the floods can do, and also that there is a no next time. Let us give back to Chennai all that it gave us.