Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Parking at Anna Salai made pleasant by - Rani - who ?

At first look, you are unlikely to get any impression and she would pass of as just another ordinary person that you see on street – a frail looking woman with a pleasing smile.

Those who drive cars, would have learnt by experience that often parking a car or reversing a car, taking the car out from a parked position – requires special skills and a small error of judgment can cause some damage to one’s prized possession.  There are special aides like parking sensors – even after years of experience some still find it difficult…

When we see Olympics or any other competition for that matter, we speak of the intense training, the will to succeed and the oodles of talents those competitors have.  Talent is the special natural ability or aptitude, a capacity for achievement.  It is either one gained through practice or could be inborn, innate ability, endowed to special some.  Success is the culmination, prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors. Not always, does Talent culminate in success, perhaps one requires the right opportunity, the favorable juncture of circumstances,  a good chance for advancement. 

In the metropolitan Chennai, driving the car could be a pain, felt more when you search for a place to park your car.  There are few designated places like T Nagar Panagal park … many a times, the assistant over there may not be of much help – and when back you would get overawed by the rows of cars in front and start wondering how you would ever take your car out….. 

It is a thankless job – the parking attendants work long hours, their life revolve around vehicles; in the hot sweltering sun [for most part of year in Chennai] and in rain on polluted streets which do not provide any shelter or resting places, they have to be alert always – some drivers might drive away without paying even the prescribed fee; many others would argue, fight, scold and foul-mouth, if they have to wait a few minutes extra..  some are harsh and rude on these poor waiting people. 

Anna Salai is the busiest of Chennai roads and just opposite the now derelict building built to house Secretariat is the parking place after Anna statue, nearer P.Orr Sons, from where road branches to Ritchie Street, the headquarters to electronic market. Infact the parking lot is just before the India Silk House, Khadi Kraft shops.  You see vehicles lined in 3 rows – still you see a friendly smiling woman, directing you to park your car and leave the key with her.  She then skillfully places your car in the small space between vehicles, a left here, a right turn there and some more adjustment, the vehicle is placed as if the slot had been made to fit exactly the vehicle – not necessarily small cars, she drives plush SUVs and rough vans with ease. 

It is M. Rani, one of the few women who are on the job as ‘parking attendant’.  She claims that she learned driving to provide valet parking facility to the customers.  She generally wears a shirt over her saree and in the pockets rests keys of many cars parked over there.  As you walk back, she greets you with a smile and takes the key instantaneously out……… you might have confusion in identifying the key, if you had placed it on a new keychain, not she, even when she has scores of them. 

When it rains heavily or when the nearby shops close down on festival days, there may not be many customers who come to park their cars, eventually resulting in decreased revenue. She would not get any extra money nor is she entitled to any bonus, medical benefits and the like.  She strives (wo)manfully and enjoys doing her work.    

Life is never easy for some – but persons like Rani contrive to make themselves happier, keeping others also happy in the process.  Everytime you make some purchase in Ritchie street or in some shop in vicinity, you tend to search for Rani, who sure greets you with a smile and depending on the expected timing of your parking, places your car in the row first, middle or last or in a nearby place ….. wherever it be, you sure would get it back, safely and speedily as Rani exhibits her skill of perfect parking and driving dexterously…..

In advanced countries, there are some luxury cars,  where the available  automated parking system requires the driver to do nothing more than just sit back and watch the car steer itself into the best suited parking position.  A combination of the cars sensors and the back up camera allows the onboard computer to adjust the angle of traction and speed depending on the proximity of nearby vehicles. Once the car is brought into position, the Intelligent Park Assist System will inform the driver that the parking operation has been executed successfully, and that you are free to take over control or kill the engine and simply walk out.

Such systems would dawn in places like Chennai too- but such systems would deny the pleasure of seeing Ranis’ dexterously manouvering a car in third row out of the zigsaw and placing it to the owner…….

The rapid transit Chennai Metro rail project is progressing at a fast phase and has for the timebeing thrown out of gear, the flow of traffic in many places including the arterial Mount Road ala Anna Salai – the Phase I of the project consisting of two corridors covering a length of 45.1 km is under construction. Corridor 1 is intended to cover the Anna Salai stretch  and there would be an Underground Station nearer the Omandurar Complex, nearer The Hindu Office, P.Orr & Sons.  The construction activities have constricted the parking place and there are reports of this becoming a ‘non-parking area’.    This sure would affect the life of Rani as she would have to go in search of newer places.  She remarks that she has met the Mayor of Chennai Mr Saidai Sa Duraisamy, who has offered help. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Talent or intelligence do not guarantee success ; nor are all successful people endowed with talent !!
புத்தியுள்ள மனிதர் எல்லாம் வெற்றி காண்பதில்லை.வெற்றி பெற்ற மனிதர் எல்லாம் புத்திசாலி இல்லை..


  1. Excellent tribute bringing to life someone very skilled but not much known to many.

    Thanks for sharing Sampath. It is also nice to see a separate web address for yourself.

    Best Regards
    R Sathyamurthy

  2. Good post; good concluding remarks .. I enjoyed it.. Kavya