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Change that look

Auto hassels in Chennai. Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

Leave it untouched

The stench of Basin Bridge as soon as you enter the city by train or the omnipresent Cooum. The rude autorickshaw drivers , the overcrowded buses or the belligerent hagglers in Ranganathan street? But all these things define Chennai. Sure, life would be much better without them, but life wouldn't be the same without them either. Chennai has changed with time and tide, but its charm and zest for life remains the same. Marina Beach is no Marine Drive either but it functions as a conflation of a multilayered and multifaceted culture and people who come to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Chennai, for me, is a living example of India's diverse culture and tradition, and change is the last thing it needs.

Vardaraj SRM University

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Keep it clean

The simplicity of Chennai is one major factor for me liking it, apart from the fact that women are much safer here compared to other metros! Every place has its own good and bad. We do have bad traffic due to the metro rail construction but it's only a matter of time before the work is completed! Anyone would fall in love with our beaches but, we need to work on cleaning them up. We have umpteen beautiful temples here but people don't realise that in the name of praying, they do litter a lot in the temples too. We tend to forget the old quote, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.

Sruti Bhaskar, LOYOLA INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

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Attract tourists

Since we can't make ‘global warming' be kind to the city, the only choice is to utilise the resources we have and one of those is the river channel that flows in the city— the Cooum. I really wish the Cooum river cleanup project is taken much more seriously gets kick started immediately. Cleaning up and beautification of this river network and using it for commercial purposes as well will make it another mini Venice or like the river town of Alamo. It will not only be a big tourist attraction but also home to many migratory birds. This will make Chennai splendid and admirable since it has too much brain already and only the beauty is missing.

Kaavya Ramachandran, MANIPAL UNIVERSITY

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Language barriers

Loving Chennai is like being in love. When you are in it, you never notice a flaw. After moving away from Chennai, I realise that though it is a very comfortable city to live in, it has a lot of flaws. For example, commuting by auto even twice a day will cost you a fortune. Why not use the metres rather than having them as a showpiece? Also, not knowing the language is a major problem in Chennai, as many of the sign boards are in Tamil. If these small defects are taken care of, Chennai will be the best city to live in.

Akshata G.J has recently started work for a Bangalore-based ad agency.

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Riding high

Chennai is the perfect wife. I've been married to her for 23 years, and she's not complained even when I was away for the last three. If ever I held a grudge against her, it's for those auto drivers who demand too much. Other cities score over Chennai just for that reason. People call it too closed / conservative / small — but I love it the way it is. Yes, we're closed because you need to trust Chennai to let her trust you. Yes, we're conservative - but your definitions are blurred. We're small — but we always punch above our weight. Chennai is perfect.

Venkatesh Harinathan is a theatre actor who also divides his time for the radio.

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Not well constructed

Bad road systems, welfare and road safety is one of her biggest concerns. “As someone who tried (and failed) to drive in this city, I think the most necessary and immediate change that I would like to see is road safety awareness in India. Drunk driving and absolute disrespect for the rules have taken too many lives and will continue to do so until a radical change is made” she says. Not only are the roads dangerous but also the way they have constructed them, there is absolutely no space for a normal-sized car to move.

Vaibhavi Prakash, a graduate of Sishya School and Nottingham University.

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Inadequate cleanliness.

Every time you drive around the city, you spot piles of rubbish on the sidewalks and people spitting all over the place. Practicing cleanliness and hygiene could help our city grow. The city boasts of its rich heritage, which is left uncared, and tourism is hindered as we, the irresponsible citizens, litter our city. Practicing proper disposal could keep our city filth-free and encourage people to visit the city or encourage tourism”.

Suneyna Swaroop, a student of psychology at Madras University.

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Town planning.

Most developed countries lay stress to proper and efficient town planning. However, each time I visit Chennai, I find haphazard suburbs with little or no town planning or good infrastructure such as power connections, drinking water, sewage disposal, or storm-water drainage. This leads to unhealthy living conditions which is not becoming of an international big city. The present suburbs need to be progressively revamped and benefit from proper town planning exercise. Plus, Chennai must, in the future, undertake all development of suburbs which will address the needs of the population which will live there”.

Kritin Sundaram, a pupil at Warwick's University Law division and founder/business leader for Entreisa Ltd

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Be pro active

One more major problem Chennai possesses is contaminated water. The Adyar and Kooum rivers have become filled with trash and waste which spreads disease, is unsightly to look at, and creates a sickening smell. We need to clean them up. I would really like to see the government take initiative in dredging the rivers”.

P.T. Prithvi Ramkumar, C.A. student and drummer for the band Oxygen

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Check the pollution

An additional weakness Chennai has is pollution and an expanding number of cars in the city. An important thing I'd like to see be taken care of is pollution. I would like this subject to be brought under check, especially air and noise pollution. This is caused not only because our roads are used as a garbage dump but because of the rise of the amount of cars on the road today. If we could all just take better care of our streets and reduce the quantity of vehicles, our air would be much cleaner and we wouldn't have to listen to excruciating sounds from outside!

Subiksha Raman, student at Stella Maris College

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Books more!

What I love about Chennai is the changeless, enthusiastic spirit of its people. Having lived here for more than 20 years, I am very glad to see the city becoming more multicultural and multi-ethnic. But when it comes to public conveniences, there is lack of cleanliness and maintenance. I also feel the need for more libraries in the city, especially ones catering to children and young adults.

Sangeetha Mahesh, a PhD Student in Human Science

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Increase frequency

Chennai is an awesome city that offers great food ranging from the trademark idli-dosas to the traditional Tamilnadu meals. But the beauty of the city is marred by poor drainage system and garbage dumps. As one who regularly commutes by public transport, I feel buses should be more regular and the frequency needs to be improved.

Maya Rajshekar, Masters in Communication, MOP Vaishnav College for Women

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Metered fares

I would love Chennai even better if every auto runs by meter and if people refrain from littering the streets. Once the littering is off the streets, I bet the city will become a much cleaner and hygienic place to live in. But having been born and brought up here, this city is very dear to me and I do accept and love it with its many flaws!

M.Divya, III year Computer Science, CEG

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Red alert

As an animal lover, what I feel the city desperately needs is better shelter and adoption schemes for stray dogs. Traffic signals in the city are becoming more chaotic and this needs to be addressed. Otherwise, this city, with an ever expanding population is a delightful place to live in!

Yamini, Visual Communication student from D.G.Vaishnav College

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Well blended

I adore Chennai for its amalgamation of culture and its unique blend of the old and the new. Despite being perennially hot, the city has a charm and happiness about it that can never be found elsewhere. Like every hardcore Chennaiite who has been residing here since birth, this city is indeed my epitome of perfection!

Charu Krishnamoorthy, BSc Advanced Zoology and Biotechnology, Stella Maris College

As told to PREETHI R. completed B. A. Journalism at MOP Vaishnav College; SWETHA RAMACHANDRAN III Year B. Sc Advanced Zoology Biotechnology Ethiraj College for Women; ARIA SUNDARAM.


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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 2:53:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/change-that-look/article2365564.ece

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