Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Triplicane - Peregrination into Past

Triplicane - one of d oldest & most bustling place in Chennai. I wud say its d nosiest, crampiest, dirtiest place but also d sweetest, warmest place at heart. I grew up there, 1st 10 years of my life were spent there. And I loved every bit of time I spent there growing. But then, things changed, we got our own house in suburban chennai, Villivakkam & moved, one & for all. But my love 4 that place remained at heart with memories to last forever. I never visited Triplicane much past 15 years, hardly had a reason to go there & staying far away from city, didnt even think to travelling so long too. But I longed to visit it. Last saturday, I got a chance to ve a nice ride around places where I lived, played, strolled, rolled (!!), studied, enjoyed, missed....

My last visit to proper visit to Triplicane was GOK. I was jus thinking of returning home, after dropping my mom in her office last sat'day, that suddenly I thought y not visit Triplicane and also blog d experience?? And then i decided, yes its time and I was heading towards old home following my school route from Gopalapuram. I used to get dropped in a cycle Rickshaw with another 8 kids. I wonder know how we all fitted in that little vehicle and a puny rick puller used to bear all our weight and peddal all d way smoking his beedi, playing MGR songs. I just headed to Royapettah where, I realised I had forgotten d route, obviously...then after enquiring a passer-by, I reached Triplicane High Road, Big Mosque junction...things unfolded b4 me in B&W. Ice House, I knew d lane from where our rick used to enter d Ice House rd, I stopped a couple of houses where my old friends used to get in, well didnt know they still stay there or not. Entering one of d lanes, i noticed, Triplicane had truely transformed. So many flats in d cramy lanes whr 2 bikes coming in opposite directions wud get stuck, & even more shops...I still remember, these lanes used to be so free & with Odu veedus (tiled roof houses)...everything gone today...but still home is home at d end, i still love d place. There was aura of holiness and tradition still lingers all thro' d place.

My old homes at VR Pillai st & another at OVM st to which we shifted for a brief period. They unvieled a scene of d movie 'Autograph' b4, i can empathise wat cheran wud ve felt to see old people, old places...Then came d temples which were my favorite in my childhood, though now i hardly get time to visit them...d huge Parthasarthy temple & d gigantic ther outside d temple, small but equally holy Raghavendra temple...Ganesh temple at Big fav one & fav god...i dont know how many pradhakshanams i wud ve made there praying for everything & anything of childish desires.
Half of our neighbours had vansihed, either to abroad or other many new faces all around, except few shops and houses we knew which existed thro' time.

Certain hangouts of those days were degree coffe stall at triplicane market, ratna cafe, were still there...drawing people in thousands even dad used to take me there every sunday for a wonderful b'fast of hot idlies & steaming sambar. Queen store, Rex fashions, hundreds of second hand books shops near Ghosh hospital, Jam bazaar, Chepauk stadium, parakum train (MRTS), PWD office, Madras University, Marina beach...everything remain till data reminding of place...d mad crowd, wandering cows, cranky cycle ricks, mosque chants, numerous mosques with people from all over india, bustling markets...Man, thats Triplicance for you - one gr8 landmark place of Chennai forever.

After meeting a few friends and my old landlords, it was time to leave...of course, that wasnt so pleasant a feeling....but then, villivakkam beckons me....bye bye Triplicane...miss u always...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An afternoon with a Government Beurocrat

At last I am blogging, something like getting out of a deep, long slumber. Well, this weekend, I had experienced a lot, which sure needed to b blogged...i dont want them to escape memory...Not this one atleast...

It was on Saturday, both my parents were working that day, quite unlike for Government Employees, but yes, there was this special ocassion & they had to gruel it out on a weekend. My dad left early and since I was nearly jobless, I offered to drop my mom at her Office. Both my parents are State Government Employees, both in Labor Department of TN Govt. And this is something they cherish a lot & keep chirping abt with gr8 pride. Truely as in their young days, a govt. job in hand was equivalent to ve conquered Everest (jobs werent that easy sometime in late 70s).

My Moms office is in DMS, for people who know chennai well, DMS is a hub of Govt offices, next only to Chepauk. I have to say, I hate govt office for petty reasons too, lets not get into the broader agonies since its so known that nothing works there...I hate it cause of d dull wooden furniture, iron godrej cupboards (or locally b-e-e-r-o), noisy typewriters, loads of dusty files, rickety fans, dull tubelights, idle & chattery people, unions & their din...its just purely unbearable...shows d sorry state of India's development track.
Arrghh...being pampered in my revolving cusion chair at d well furninshed and lit office, this view of govt office was an sloppy!!...But having accepted to drop my mom, I also had to accept her wish - she wanted me to meet her boss. But I agreed, quite unwillinging to her request, cause her collegues were all amazed for me, my workplace and my qualification. Though I am very secretly proud of my self at these, I feel odd when others watch & talk with an awe at you for wat u r..I met a few of her collegues & they started complimenting me & generally questioning on IT sector, pay, Bangalore etc etc. But then, to them all this was just amazement, not only wrt me, it was wid everyone & anyone in private jobs, particularly banks, friends have also experienced same. And then, it was time for me to meet my mom's boss.

He is the Deputy Commisionner of Labour for one of the Chennai Divisions. Its quite a big job, cause I learnt (from mom of course) that anything related to Ministries, important govt. orders & crucial cases, his presense is perennial and his word is ultimatum. I expected an old man, mostly grey-haired, with thick glasses, dressed in safari suit, protruding belly and dumb talks as i was walking towards his room. But I really was in for a surprise...

He must be somewhere nearing 40, looked very smart, dressed in formals even on an off day, clean shaven, talking on a N73 while glancing at his LCD monitor as I entered the room. A very broad smile which even my past manager didnt give me when it was my 1st day in office, made me feel very warm. Offering me a seat after introduction, he started to hit straight into serious conversation on IT & Govt. and recent deals of all big IT cos. in TN & India. Man, I was astonished, this man knew a lot, starting from PCM/CMM status of my co. to recent Cloud computing, he was firing everything at me. And I really was not expecting this. What I thought would be a 5 mins shake hand, bye bye stuff was turning to be more serious. And not to stop, we shifted from IT to recent amendments in Company's Act & Labour laws. This was getting better now, as things were really interesting. He was explaining complexities on why there cant be unions in IT cos., govt. relaxations on such cos. thich to date even I wasnt aware of and he did reciprocate same intense interest on business and deals that my cos. was into. Finally, no talk is complete without pulling in Share Markets and that prolonged for next 15 mins. Lastly, we had to leave as DCL had a meeting to attend. We shook hands and this time, his shake was harder, and mine humbler.

I just bid a bye to my mom & left d office. Next I knew was that I was only thinking for this man, how on earth, he has built so much knowledge sitting in that dusty office. I later learnt he was PG in Madras University & immense experience to support his sound knowledge. But wat kept hovering my mind was is this man wasting his time in a Govt. office? maybe he must b trying his worth elsewhere? How many such hidden gems are there in our country? And y is Govt. vehicle so rusted even with such bright people?? Truely, meeting wiht d DCL changed a lto of my perception on d Govt. beurocracy...i really thought Collectors, IPS and Revenue personnel were d only sensible people in entire govt. operations, but not at all...I can bet, dat even a senior managerial employee in a top MNC wouldnt have such mammoth knowldge combined with such simplicity...well they do enjoy status and privileges which grossly mismatches their peers in industry, but their presence in the Govt. is for sure consequential.