Saturday, June 18, 2011

What's up Chennai?

Seriously. What is up with you, Chennai? You have changed. Changed much.

Your streets are choked up with an astounding number of vehicles. Your products and services are sending their prices skyward at a speed comparable with our GSLVs. Your residents are multiplying at an alarming rate. And your people...Oh, your people. What happened to them? Where are the friendly ones I used to know? Why is everybody in a foul mood?

The people of Chennai were never a laidback group. In a fast growing metropolis which is competing for attention and businesses at a national level, the people cannot be laid back. They have to be driven. They have to be smartworking. But they were never rude as a matter of fact. Some chivalry was always alive among the Chennaiites. Road rage was never this widespread. The societal values never hit such a low.

I was never hit intentionally by a motorist simply because I had no place to move and he thought I was blocking him, until now. I was never serviced by rude salespeople who couldn't care less if you did not buy a product, until now. I was never shocked with Chennai's notorious autodrivers' haphazard driving and shameless haggling, until now.

What caused this? Is this the payoff for 'Development'? Is this because there are too many people? A few months' stay in the US has taught me to 'blame it all on the immigrants'. Do I do that? Is it because of the immigrants - people who have moved to Chennai from elsewhere in the state and the nation? But, hasn't Chennai always been a potpourri of diverse cultures?

I'm still waiting for answers from you, Chennai. I'm bewildered and saddened at your change. I wish that all these were only a product of my feverish imagination.