The Concrete Desert! Our KIDS will have

| 3686 words | Infotainment | 15 Mins  |

On my trip to Bangalore, I saw something breath taking, but, that was considered normal by everyone. That situation is not only in Bangalore, every developing city is in that state.

If that continues, we might have the money we are running for today at some point but, that money might not get whatever we want later or to our kids.

The semi-sleeper bus was good enough to keep me sleepy with very few jerks but, not the neighbor seat guy. He stepped on my foot while catching his window seat.

Everyone wishes for a window seat in their journey no matter what’s the mode of transportation is. But I don’t. It gives pain in my ears by the blow of wind and if it’s for 9 hours straight, puff… I might go deaf!

Now I really wanted to have a window seat or just a change of seat. The fat guy next to me started using his hands as his pillow with no shirts on is irresistible. Come on, he just boarded at Erode, and we haven’t even reached Salem. For another 6 1/2 hours with this stinking asshole will be hell. I’d choose to go deaf instead.

Seats in the left are occupied by a Mother and a Daughter to which I can’t put my head’s direction all the way to Chennai and that too won’t stop my nose from absorbing the Bandicoots pits!

I couldn’t sleep for some time. I was looking at the bus everywhere & after some time I realized, it was literally my second time in a Semi-Sleeper. The first being the IV (Industrial Visit) trip with my fellow mates while I was doing my college 3rd year. I started to float in the memories of that trip where we have headed Bangalore. It was a funny night to the core. While indulging in that, some memories of hard feelings flashed too.

We reached Bangalore by 6 in the morning. In the foggy morning sleepiness, I didn’t notice anything suspicious. But while visiting C-DAC which was at electronic city phase-2, we have to catch the Electronic-City flyover from our lodge. That’s when I realized something is wrong in this city.

I was sitting in the second last seat of the south-east corner (obviously window seat). Out of nowhere, my face was hit by a hot air blow. Within seconds, I thought, how come a chill city like Bangalore is producing such a heat wave? Right after that, I saw the scene. That city was completely made of concrete. Everywhere! The worst part about that is, nowhere green can be spotted. I can literally sense a live hell in my eyes.

E-city i-1.jpg

The view lasted longer than I thought. It’s not just that part. Everywhere I turn my head, the city is moving to that stage. Whatever I see later was a mix of good and bad sights but, this scene overtook the entire story of Bangalore in my mind.

This is one of the main reasons I chose to hit Chennai. Something said, there’s hardly any life in Bangalore apart from making money. Well, making money is the primary reason for my visit but these memories and nativities bond put Chennai the priority for the extension of my business after making it a good one in Tiruppur.

These flow of thoughts and that stinking Bandicoot kept me awake for some time. But both ended as soon as he folded his hands, I got my sleep back.  Rest in Peace now (I said myself)

I don’t know whether it’s a magic or an instinct, but, while we are travelling to some new places, we naturally wake-up while entering the phase of it (I hope, you can relate it, at most cases). I woke up at Thambaram! And looked at the name board in front of the bus. It also shows, Chennai 45Kms!

People telling Chengalpattu & Thambaram as Chennai strikes at that time. I wondered why people framing their area name with an already famed one and what’s wrong in saying it. It’s them, who should change the fame of their area. Not the name of it (silly fellows!).

I get chances often to look outside the bus as the front mirror is just 4 seats in front of me. I don’t wanna turn left as it is the Ladies department and my right is not even considerable. Within few mins the bus stopped once again and you know what? That Bandicoot just jumped out of the bus! Thank goodness! I said myself and continued to stare outside the window for the rest of the journey.

The bus is nearing Kathipara flyover. Earlier to that, I was seeing many greens at least here and there. But, after that, I got shocked is an understatement. This scene was experienced by me earlier on Electronic city Flyover in Bangalore. The resemblance came to my mind.

The scene was not the same. But it’s so clear that, Chennai is moving at a high speed to that state. The feelings of regrets and fear came to my mind even before entering it. Till I get off from the bus, a gut feeling told me that, something is wrong here and I should do whatever I can do as a part of my gratitude to this city.

I wanted to reach Anna-Nagar. That’s where Thenmugilan is staying. My friend from college who’s pursuing Masters in Engineering. One more typical south Indian from our class. I’m going to stay in his room for the next 10days.

The bus stopped at Koyambedu stop to reach Koyambedu Terminus. The first mistake I did after reaching Chennai is opting for an Auto Rickshaw without inquiring him anything. I just told him to go to Anna Nagar and climbed!

The Auto-Wala took the Cuvam route. He’s going through every turn he sees in the road. Later I came to know, that’s how auto-wala’s of Chennai rides in the cities. I never left the view of the city at any moment of the ride. Everywhere, I hardly see green. Some are multi-storey buildings even without an inch gap on both sides. “How do even people breathe inside it?” I questioned myself on the architecture.

While crossing Cuvam, the situation was worse than the Tiruppur’s Noyyal. Inside my mind, I had made a clear thought that, I’m going to spend time in a graveyard.

The Auto-wala enters a colony of rich people. I was clear by looking at the houses and other architectures. I wondered how this fellow got a rented house. And even if he has one, how’s he affording it?

Then comes a turn where the junkyard look begins to appear. Houses made of close structures and with gates, even normal person have to shrink themselves to enter begins to appear. In the corner, Mugil stood signaling the auto-wala through his instructions in the phone. I thought “This should be the longest route possible to his house”

If Mugil isn’t there, my first robber would have been that auto-wala in my Chennai diary. Because, he asked me 250 ₹ for the ride while Mugil was unloading everything. I just asked Mugil in a doubt and that saved me 130 ₹. Thinking about that incident, my granddad’s dialogue crossed my mind,“You will be robbed to death if you choose to work for someone instead of working for yourself “.

It was a Friday. I have 2 days to roam around the streets. Until then, exploring Chennai was my plan. But looking at the climate, I decided to stay in the room. Just for the Heat Chennai blows! I went to terrace and saw a ground few hundred yards from the house in the next street.

It was summer vacation. I could spot a lot of cricket balls flying high and a group of people far from the players as they could find no shades to sit under anywhere near them. After seeing all these, I thought whether Chennai is growing or getting chafe?

While standing in the terrace, I saw some kids coming from the ground after their play. The opposite house of ours (2 houses away) had a large threshold, in which, they got seated under the Neem tree’s shade. Some of them looked really thirsty. I somehow guessed their houses, which got located in this area by absorbing their body language.

Trying to make some friendly neighbor’s I asked them, ‘you need water?’
‘Double thanks if it’s an icy one!’, one guy replied.

I smiled at them and went inside to pick 2 bottles from the fridge & went downstairs and sat among them in the threshold.

There are no disguise in the face of any for me sitting with them & interrupting their chats. 2 guys randomly asked me, ‘new to Chennai?’ & ‘Mugil bro’s friend?’

‘Yep! Came yesterday’, I replied surprised.

‘We can see that by giving out water to strangers unasked’, the guy who asked me “new?” replied. That was the first conversation with them. And that day gave me 6 new friends in Chennai.

After I shook hands with everyone, ‘Tomorrow Mugil bro joins to play cricket with us. you join us’, Arjun (the kid, who is living as our 3rd house neighbor) said.

‘Sure, but I don’t even know to catch a ball properly’, I replied

‘No problem bro, we will lift the world cup for you’, Elango (another kid) teasingly replied me stating that it’s not such a huge match to consider.

Later came to know that Mugil & Arjun are so close for the past one year. I smiled about the fact that, how a ground is getting us friends in Chennai!

The game didn’t grab much of my attention, but the climate did. Unfortunately, I wore a half sleeve round neck & 3/4th. I have heard about Chennai being hotter than other cities. I thought it’s because of the location (close to the sea) & humidity of it. later realized, that these are one of the reasons.

Normally, hot air will blow in every place like these but, there will be natural barricades to cool it down. In Chennai, there’s not even 5% chance for that to happen.

The heat is irresistible for me. I run to tree shades in the corner of the ground and sat just after 3 overs. My thoughts were completely rewinding to my school-days where these green trees were a part of our childhood. Playing with it and in it. I played a lot in the open ground but, never ran like this to a shade ever in my life. For a newbie like me in Chennai, playing in an open ground is really a punishment.

‘Just till 11 bro, then we go home. Come now’, Elango shouted at me.

‘No bro, I may fall sick’, I replied & stayed there thinking about the rest of Chennai for my next day visit to every store in the streets.

We came home by 11:20 AM and sat on the threshold of Arjun’s house. Everyone is chatting but, my thoughts didn’t leave my experience in the ground. I looked at our room. It’s facing the same kind of climatic condition in that ground but in a closed environment.

This place right now I’ve landed is a monument to me. whatever I’m going to do in this city starts right here. So, to make it a moment to remember and a piece of gratitude, I planted a Neem plant in front of the house digging some inches of the road property.

Planting trees is not just digging a hole, throwing a seed and leaving behind. The water flow should be arranged. Luckily, our sink water from kitchen are hosed directly to the ditch in front. We made a branch out of it by cutting the regular pipe and added an extra one, directing it to the plant.

Three days went empty-handed. It’s Thursday. In my intention to grab several stores, I left the room early with Mugil (he’s in study holidays for the semester). The day starts to heat so soon; Both internally and externally! No stores are taking the order being the internal factor and the burning sun is the external. I checked the weather at 430 Celsius. I wished for some rain but, it shows clear blue sky for the entire day. Bad timing though!

All these days, the house owner in the ground portion went to his native. Next day morning while getting our bike out I noticed the door of HO’s (House Owner) open. Hurrying to catch new stores with whom we had appointments, I didn’t notice a change. The day felt like I was missing something.

By the time we finish our lunch, it started raining. Chennai is getting its rain literally after 115 days. As unexpected to take precautionary measures (rain covers), we got wet. I thought, it’s better to hit the room instead of going wet to grab customers so, we head home. While opening the gate, I found what’s missing! It’s the plant I planted. Also, the PVC pipes (that we branched) are broken down to pieces.

I don’t know who’s that so bad to hate plants. We had spent half a day on it. But those went like nothing! The pain could have been felt only by those, who planted a tree. I stood still looking at the place. I wanted to kill the one who did that but, where would I found him? Asked within and kept quiet.

Hearing the bike coming inside, house owner came out and asked Mugil, ‘who planted that tree and made all those works?’

I thought he might know who did it and rushed to him asking, ‘you know who took those off?’

‘So, it’s you I think from the eagerness you are showing!’, HO asked me.
I looked confused for a second & asked him, ‘is that you?’, with a confused look

‘Who do you think you are? Is this your house? What do you think of yourself?’, questions came from his mouth even without a gap for me to understand what went wrong here.

‘Uncle, I just did good for your house’, I tried to state my mind but, didn’t work.

He kept scolding me in words of his own. In that, only one word got my attention that’s, “where will we park our bike for emergencies?” as if they are running an emergency service.

After he blasted me out for some time, I went up. I nearly broke down by those words. Mugil was still convincing him in the downstairs. Vacating here was the only thought at that moment. While I started to pack all my things, Mugil came up and pulled the bag off & gave me a towel to dry.

The next day was announced strike all over TN for the hike in petrol price. I think, yesterday’s rain gave HO’s son cold & fever by hearing those coughs and moans downstairs while roaming in the veranda. We didn’t go down the whole day. We phoned and instructed everyone (area kids) to not visit us today too.

Sunday’s are mandatory days for cricket in Mugil’s diary if he stays in Chennai. But he didn’t go today and asked every other kid to leave him. This brought some doubt in Arjun and he visited us. He came to know everything from Mugil and went down for a quarrel with the House owner as he is a relative to him. Mugil tried to stop him but Arjun was fast to reach down. Mugil went behind him. Both saw the HO lying down near the door and his son trying to call “dad, dad” loud with his low voice.

Mugil shouted, ‘Mahesh, come down quick!’, to me.

While I get down, they were trying to wake him up by spilling water in his face. When I tried to lift him up, I sensed the heat his body is liberating. It’ll most probably be above 1030 for sure. Mugil once told that, HO’s wife is the only person who knows driving in their house. The absence of car and the absence of his daughter’s noise made me to realize that they didn’t come from their native yet.

Arjun and I went to get Arjun’s car. Mugil made the HO and his son get to the gate while we got the car. Arjun and I took them to the hospital in the car, while Mugil joined us in the bike after locking the houses. It was 1040 for HO with low BP and his son got 1020.

They got sedated & asked to stay in the hospital for some more time to get checked with the results. It’s been 3 hours. After checking the blood reports and all the procedures, we headed home. Unfortunately, Mugil left the keys of the HO’s house in the hospital. So, he went back to get the keys.

Instead of spending their time in the hot parking area, I took HO’s son and asked him to follow me. I headed straight to the tree shade on Arjun’s threshold and signaled him to get 2 chairs. Arjun gave the chairs & water and went inside.

It took 40 mins for Mugil to reach back. On all those times, no words spoken. After Mugil’s return, we dropped both the patients in the sofa and headed to get some food and fresh juice for them.

We got 5 idly’s for the HO and 3 for his kid with 3 tumblers of orange juice. We came back & noticed no one in the house and searched the whole house before coming out. I saw them sitting in the Arjun’s house Neem tree shade. I signaled Mugil out & went near them.

‘Why are you sitting here?’, Mugil asked curiously.

‘It’s hot inside. This feels a bit good here’, HO told us in his notorious voice

“You wouldn’t have to sit here if those are in front of your house”, I didn’t say that. But really wanted to.

We left them and went upstairs to our house. By the time around 7, Mugil & I went down to give them Chapati’s we made and to check on them. Fever seems to be low on them.

While going back, Arjun came to us telling, ‘there’s a store in Vandalur owned by my uncle, I told him about you and he asked you to visit him tomorrow if possible’.

‘Sure dude! Will check on him’.

Appointment is fixed. While getting away, I saw 2 men standing in our parking. They barely look like relatives to the HO, yet we went silent instead of making it in an issue. We headed straight to Vandalur and met with Arjun’s uncle.

He doesn’t seem to be a nice and calm person instead he’s the rugged and orthodox person I’ve met in Chennai.

I was almost over my sample demo’s & descriptions. While concluding, a guy (who works on his store) came and gave him a signal. He immediately stood & got ready to leave. I was not really expecting this. When I asked him, ‘what about the order sir?’, he just said, ‘will call you soon, now have to catch some more important work, sorry’ and left the room

I looked pathetic at myself and smiled. Mugil tapped my shoulder and said, ‘you tried good, cheers! We’ll grab orders soon’

We know we lost that order because, Arjun clearly told us about his type being accepting right at the moment if he likes and neglects straight away if he doesn’t. My plan was just 10 days in Chennai. Until now, no orders placed. Tonight, I have to leave Chennai to catch all the works in Tiruppur. With a dull face we headed back.

I was not really in a mood to get cheered on going back. This trip was a complete failure. My return ticket is @10PM tonight. It’s just 2:30 in the noon. I don’t wanna spend my time in the room just by lying down. Not really in a mood to look for some stores too. So, went straight to the beach and came to the house by 7:30 in the evening.

I was sleeping by leaning on Mugil’s back. He just shook me up after reaching the house. In my sleepiness I hit directly for the stairs. Even before stepping on, he honked me by staying in front of the gate.

When I looked back, he didn’t say a word except a smile. I look puzzled and went near where I was surprised to see 2 plants, planted on both sides of the gate with metal fence around. It has the same type of water flow for both the plants.

I didn’t say a word. While standing there looking at it, my phone buzzed. It was Arjun’s uncle. I expected an “apology” for leaving us like that and received the same. But he added, ‘There was a financial work for me to catch with a friend and just now solved. I really liked your works. I spoke with my friend too. On my words he wants to place an order too. Shall we discuss the rest in mail?’.

I don’t know whether it’s the dream continuing or it’s a real moment. With a touch of sleepiness and surprise I just said, ‘sure sir, no problem’ and stayed quiet

‘It’s cool then, pleasure doing business with you’, he replied and hung the call.

I was smiling at my phone. There’s some kind of happiness and relief inexpressibly. In my mind I just thought about Arjun and Mugil’s HO for a second and told them
“Thank you!”

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