Remembering Chennai evokes a chequerboard of emotions in me, both black and white and almost in equal measure. And before the recent past transforms into the good ol’ days, imbuing every memory with a glossy sheen of forgetful nostalgia, I thought I should record my thoughts about this city that was beginning to feel like home; before it got too hot. I mean Madras did give me a few things to cherish: it taught me to take pride in sporting a stache, its ghee-laden cuisine bestowed upon me my slight (in my imagination) potbelly that I’ll have to work off, and it gave me a rigorous training in reporting around a completely alien tongue that should hold me in good stead. Continue reading
New Kid On The Block
There is a fresh force out to upset the lucrative gravy train that has become the lot of Tamil Nadu politics. Out of the second floor of a nondescript building in Kilpauk, a motley crew of civil society activists, stockbrokers, rickshawwallahs, teachers, are preparing a roadmap for political revolution in Tamil Nadu from scratch. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a primarily North Indian party with a Hindi title, has entered the alien political terrain of Tamil Nadu on an anti-corruption plank with the 2014 General Elections in its crosshairs. Their numbers are rapidly multiplying. The movement is adding a thousand members to its rolls each day. Within two months of its inaugration, AAP Tamil Nadu has acquired a staggering 1,00,000 members, according to party sources. Continue reading
The law against domestic violence passed in 2005 is not making a significant difference to the lives of thousands of women in Tamil Nadu who continue to be battered and abused, a senior government officer told this reporter.
“Unfortunately, this is a progressive legislation that is not making much progress”, said Saroja Thiruvengadam, Deputy Director at the Directorate of Social Welfare, Tamil Nadu, referring to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) in 2005. Continue reading
We were standing amidst the sounds and sights of the sea: the wind was in our hair, the waves boomed distantly, and the birds chirped incessantly. In front of us loomed the Shore Temple, a somber grey structure that immediately transported us to a different era in South Indian history. Behind the temple, the Bay of Bengal stretched in front of our eyes like a vast piece of blue green velvet draped across the horizon, dancing to the wind. Like all ancient monuments, but even more so because of the violent sea, the temple retained in its ruinous beauty, a sense of decaying grandeur, as if time, like termites, was eating away at its existential foundations. It had lost the original intent behind its construction and become that ubiquitous national commodity, a heritage site.