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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcoming New Year 2017 ~ need for sanity !!

31st Dec 2016 ~ New Year eve – returning late from Office – there were traffic snarls on the way, and more as one got nearer to Marina beach.  Chennai Traffic Police had made elaborate traffic arrangements and placed large teams of personnel, sealing many approach roads to Marina beach - approach roads towards Kamaraj Salai, Lloyds Road, Besant Road, Ayodhi Nagar, Sunguvar Street, Bharathi Salai, Wallajah Road, Swami Sivananda Salai junctions were  barricaded to prevent vehicles from entering Kamarajar Salai from 9 pm onwards.

Old order changeth – yielding place to new” – there are many things which were a novelty at the time of their conception but lost their significance over the period of time.  A few decades ago, New Year would usher in with hundreds of ‘Greeting Cards’ personally written wishes from relatives and friends that would make one happy.  That was the time when people thronged Post Offices for Post cards, Inland letters and covers –– later it was phone calls and SMS,  then e-mail took over ; Most telephony providers hike or charge special rates on festival days and the messages do get delayed due to overload of traffic.  Social networks gets flooded with greeting messages (somehow many of them  appear bulk inane messages with no life or personal touch !)

Love it or hate it, many people  feel compelled to count in the New Year at midnight, whether celebrating at a party or freezing outside watching fireworks.  In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve , is on December 31. In many countries, celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year's Day).  In a movie  Cable Raja (Silambarasan) living in a slum bemoans his poverty and wishes to become rich by marrying his girlfriend Priya (Jasmin Bhasin). He cons her into believing he is well off, and adopts a well-bred persona in front of her. When he is asked by Priya to buy high-priced passes to a New Year's Eve gala, he finds himself severely short of money. After a failed attempt at chain snatching and crossing paths with the police, he heads to a hospital with theft on his mind……..

Let 2017 unleash a million reasons to smile!  In one posh hotel in the City, the  New Year extravaganza offered beverages - Whisky - Chivas Regal 12 years and Ballantine's; Vodka – Absolut; Rum – Bacardi; Red Wine - Jacob's Creek Cabernet Shiraz – all for an early bird couple price of Rs.15000/- and demonetisation did not stop people from attending it – elsewhere on a TASMAC bar opp to Chepauk stadium, people of all ages were jostling to buy that great drink – none complained of long queue before ATM and non availability of cash !!  - it was the same scenario in most other parts as well.

At Chennai,  Buhari hotel Mount road, gets spruced  up for the late night bash –at  midnight, group of youth would gather on roads, drink, drive crazily, shout and  disturb, annoy, rattle, enrage and even cause harm to others……….  What is this about and what would this merriment provide to any body ? one could hear crackers and din in Marina – when crackers are hurled at people on road, none complains of noise or pollution !  Everybody knows that drunken driving causes majority of accidents during New Year Eve and most claims are viewed with suspicion by the Insurers when they are reported closer to New Year.  The City Police keeps a big patrol on road.  Nearly 10,000 police personnel would be deployed on security duty for New year celebrations in the city. 

Beach road, Marina beach, Elliots beach, ECR, Mount road are some of the places where some incidents and some accidents get reported every year.   Besides the road accidents, Chennaites should remember the grisly incident at a famous hotel a few years ago.  On that fateful day, the makeshift dance floor on swimming pool collapsed killing 3 of the revellers and injuring few more. 

If you felt this post to be too cynical…. Nothing much has changed – Beach road was strewn with filth and in couple places parts of damaged vehicle.  News reports state that a total of nine persons lost their lives lost their lives in various incidents across Tamilnadu since last night, while over 150 were injured in events connected to new year revelry.Police sources say that in Chennai, several youngsters rode twowheelers in a rash manner and around 100 mishaps were reported in which a total of 150 sustained injuries. And many were admitted to nearby hospitals.

Will sanity ever prevail ~ are there not better ways of welcoming New year ? – and at Thiruvallikkeni MRTS, some vehicles parked outside the parking lot were charred in what is reported to be insane fire put out by some inebriated persons.

Sad !

-       S. Sampathkumar

1st Jan 2017.

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