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Updated: September 12, 2012 18:30 IST

History in your backyard

DHILIP
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Anna Tower in Anna Nagar, Chennai.
The Hindu
Anna Tower in Anna Nagar, Chennai.

Before you marvel at the history and achievements of some of the world’s cities, take a look around you…

“Why don’t they let people climb the Anna Nagar tower anymore? I miss the view from the top,” I remarked to my friend casually.

“The what?”

“The Anna Nagar TOWER, …the one with the park and the skating rink,” I said, flailing my arms around, trying to describe the tower and some sign of recognition. He still seemed clueless. This is a guy who’s lived in Chennai for the past 15 years and he had no idea about the tower, something the whole of Anna Nagar holds close to its heart. As an Anna Nagar-vaasi, I’ve always been super-proud of my locality. To me his ignorance of the landmark held dear by all of Anna Nagar was nothing short of sacrilege.

My pride had just taken a beating and I was determined to make him rue his existence. So I told a couple of friends standing nearby about it and expected them to taunt him. I was in for a surprise…neither of them had heard of the tower. One of them lives a couple of bus stops away from the tower… made my figurative jaw fall to the floor. What was the world coming to?

The Tower, along with the LIC building on Mount Road, has been considered the epitome of altitude in the city for decades. I find that people are more than ready to discuss great structures and marvels of architecture from around the globe and even willing to take loans just to have a glimpse of these edifices but are completely ignorant about the treasures in their own backyard. For instance, most people know where the Statue of Liberty or the Leaning Tower is. But how many of us have visited Fort St. George, the place where Chennai as we know it, was born?

While I hope I’ve got at least some of you interested in our city’s history, the question that got me thinking still remains unanswered: Why DON’T they let people climb up the Anna Nagar tower?

DHILIP, III year Mechanical Engineering, NIT-Tiruchi

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