Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Of movies, rods, spitting and more - 7 random things

Two movies dominated my timelines recently; one of course was Thalaiva and the other Chennai Express. One movie got derailed on the release date the other is making money by making fun of everyone and is stereotypically offensive to Tamizh speakers. Like it or hate it but I am secretly enjoying the fact that it  requires the Chennai magic to make a struggling super star succeed again and no, I am not talking about the real super star, in case you wonder.  Not sure if the same success would have come with say a Kolkota express, can it?

On the note it was shocking to hear that one fan committed suicide over the deferred release of Thalaiva. Like many other news bits, it may be the tip of the iceberg and what exactly led to the suicide may have been a host of other reasons, it is sad to hear these things and that someone will die for a movie tells you the way values have eroded and how much movies have captured the psyche of people today. The fact that movie stars have an assured retirement benefits in the political arena shows that our people are unable to split the reel from real life.

You wonder why people are suicidal. I am not talking about those morons who put their lives at risk on the road with their foolhardiness, I am talking about the school kid who unable to bear the scolding of his parent or a spurned lover or somebody who has been embarrassed by an acquaintance or an indebted farmer simply killing themselves. Is death the end? If man is a social animal why do they not understand that they are not living in isolation and by dying they are hurting more people than possibly when they were alive?

So how do you discipline children these days? You cannot scold them for some kids kill themselves, you cannot use the rod because you can be jailed for abuse. You cannot buy your way through because that becomes a bottomless pit and there is no way out. Today teachers are at their wits end because there are simply no tap on the knuckles with a ruler or the option of throwing a chalk piece at an errant student. They can be hauled up by the PTA or the child can simply lodge a complaint and the poor teacher can be counting the bars. Most teachers are parents too and it simply gets worse at home.

Forget using the rod on kids, sometimes you just feel like taking the rod and whacking the butts of some idiots you encounter every day. Nothing turns me off more than when an idiot ahead spits on the road before me or blows his nose on the road just ahead. It makes you wonder what rubbish goes into their mouths that they have to constantly empty it. The other day a boy in school uniform riding on the footboard of a MTC bus spat out what looked like gutka, considering that the product is banned and the sales of tobacco products is banned near educational institutions you wonder what else ends up in the hands of students.

Till the Metro becomes operational the lifeline of Chennai will be the MTC buses. Though I sympathize with the ridiculous levels of stress the drivers go through daily in our crazy roads I do not think that it is enough justification for them endangering the lives of those in the bus and those outside with their total disregard to traffic lights and rules. And the more you read about successful BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport Systems) models in different cities of the country you wish that at least on a few large roads we can have one here. With more air conditioned buses on a BRTS more cars can get off the road. And life can be a little easier for the drivers and the rest of us.

Lastly I am a big fan of the NHAI since some of my best drives have been on roads built and / or managed by the NHAI. It is very disheartening to hear that one NHAI project in the city is likely to be shelved due to the non-cooperation of the state government. The many pillars on the road stand mute testimony to the callous waste of public money. If diversion of a river is the reason then I would request someone from the government to visit the same river and study the course that has been changed by landfills and encroachments of hut dwellers who gradually have converted them to concrete dwellings. Surely there is another reason. It is painful to see that the tax I paid is staring back at me in dismay.

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