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Friday, March 1, 2019

travelling to holy Thirumala ~ cognitive estrangement - new Terminus !!


Ever heard of a Croatian -  Darko Ronald Suvin and his pet theory ?

திமலா நிர்வாகம் ~ உங்கள் வேண்டுகோள் 20.2.2080  அன்று காலை 10:16 உங்களுக்காக ஒதுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.  நேரந்தவறாமால்  வரவும் !;  இந்த அட்டையும் தவறாமல் கொண்டு  வரவும். உங்கள் பார்வையாளர் எண்  164396  ~ lines from a famous short story of my favourite Sujatha.

Decades ago, our family started on a pilgrimage to the holy Thirumala Tirupathi – we started from home, by bus reached Broadway area.  Then boarded bus to Andhra from MUC grounds.  The Madras United Club is one of the oldest Indian clubs in the city, was founded in 1888 to foster outdoor and indoor games as was being done in the Madras Cricket Club and the Madras Gymkhana Club of the British. Prince Ranjitsinjhi, the great cricketer, was one of its Patrons.  It has seen many changes, for sometime Tirupathi (and buses to other places in Andhra) operated from Elephant Gate.


How well do we know Chennai and or we updated with the developments ? – I am not, as I found it the hard way .. .. my ignorance is perhaps the subject mater of this post.  Madhavaram is in north Chennai city located between Perambur and Kodungaiyur. There is one bus 29D from V House to Madhavaram.  Madhavaram Milk Colony is a well known name as the place  of first co-operative milk producing union Aavin of Chennai.  There are some factories too.  The container yards and movements of goods often halt traffic making traffic snarls.   CMDA has developed the truck terminal at Madhavaram over an extent about 100 acres (0.40 km2) at the cost of about INR 60 million (6 crores). It is located near the junction of 100 Feet Road and the GNT Road, with easy access to Chennai city, port and railways.

The sacred and most reverred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak – Venkatachala hill of Tirumala.  The Lord stands tall as bestower of all boons and lakhs of people reach here to have a glimpse – a few seconds darshan of the Lord.  This beautiful temple in its present form owes a lot to the works of the greatest Vaishnava Acharya – Sri Ramanujar. The sacred Thirumala, the abode of Lord Venkataramana, [Balaji, Govinda, Ezhumalaiyan….] starts with  Alipiri, the place at foothill of seven hills in Tirupathi, from where pilgrims starts ascending the Holy Thirumala. Alipiri literally would mean resting place. In olden days pilgrims used to climb all the seven hills only through the stepped way on foot, as there was no other option.

Now there are lots of buses besides the train services to Renigunta (in Mumbai line) and the terminus at Tirupathi.  Saptagiri Express is a famous train.  Buses at high frequency ply and ferry passengers to Thirumala.  Private vehicles too are allowed [cars and two-wheelers but not private buses] .. this morning had the fortune of good darshan at Thirumala – got down to Kiz Thirupathi – could get airconditioned bus (APSRTC) to Chennai [fare was Rs.250 only – an earlier bus asked 325 !] ~ and the conductor said, it will go to Madhavaram (what, I was planning to get down at CMBT Koyambedu, take metro to central, auto home – or a call taxi to home from Koyambedu).

eventually got down at Madhavaram in a big expansive bus terminus .. .. it is the Madhavaram Inter-city Bus Terminus, a new satellite bus termini of Chennai, providing outstation transport services. Spread over an area of 8 acres (32,000 m2), it has been  built to decongest the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus in Koyambedu. It handles  buses to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, including holy Tirupati, Nellore, Vijayawada, Kurnool, Puttaparthi, Visakhapatnam, Bhadrachalam, and Hyderabad.  Web searches reveal that the infrastructure was built in 2018 at a cost of 950 million and was inaugurated on 10 October 2018 by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.
 waiting buses at Tirupathi and the new terminus at Madhavaram

Spread over  an area of 8 acres (32,000 m2), it is built in two levels. The level at grade can accommodate 42 buses and the upper level can accommodate 50 buses. There are nine slots meant for city buses. The parking space can hold 1,700 two-wheelers and 72 cars.  It is to have stairs, elevators, ATMs, shops, restaurant, crew rest room,   health clinic, pharmacy and a dormitory.  The premises is lit by five high-mast lights.  Right now there are not much of city buses and the places does not appear to be well connected –  hope this would change in the coming months.


This story titled ‘Thimala’ that you read at the start – is set a hundred year after – wife of a very busy Computer specialist, gets this allotment – and she travels in spaceship  .. .. with technology taking you to later years – it would end that they visit the holy Thirumala .. .. the abode of Lord Sri Venkateswara.  Read somewhere Sujatha describing it as ‘cognitive estrangement’ theory.   Darko Ronald Suvin is a Croatian born academic and critic who became a Professor at McGill University in Montreal.  He is best known for several major works of criticism and literary history devoted to science fiction. He was editor of Science-Fiction Studies from 1973 to 1980. 

                              He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences).  In 2009, he received Croatian SFera Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction.  For Suvin, the key to cognitive estrangement is the presence in a story or novel of what he calls a ‘novum’, that is a device or machine that is absolutely new and whose presence compels us to imagine a different way of conceiving our world. In his story, Srirangam Rangarajan aka Sujatha connects the holy Thirumala to a thought decades later.. when the World becomes very very busy !!

~ with regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Feb 2019.

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