The foot overbridge on Haddows Road (near Shastri Bhavan) and the one further up, plonked in what is arguably one of the busiest sections of Nungambakkam, are twins. They both owe their existence to one intervention: They had been constructed under the MPLAD scheme, through the office of late Murasoli Maran when he was member of parliament from Chennai Central parliamentary constituency.
Whatever similarities these two foot overbridges shared at birth faded away with time, nurture trumping nature hands-down.
Today, they present two different ironies. The foot overbridge near Sashtri Bhavan shows various signs of premature ageing. It needs a visit to the dentist: Think of a foothold slab coming off the hinges and also of those upturned and unstable like a weak tooth. It also needs a dermatologist’s consultation: Think of rusty steel. Despite all of these, the “users” of this facility near Sashtri Bhavan hardly complain about it. They in fact dare not raise a voice: Tipplers have a ready hangout space in this foot overbridge. Regular pedestrians hardly find it inviting.
It is obvious the Nungambakkam foot overbridge is doused in attention and paint of many colours. When viewed from below, its staircases resemble a variegated glass dance floor at a discotheque, thanks to the artwork on its risers. At night, the headlights of vehicles enhance its look, the way strobe lights add to the sparkle of a colourful dance floor. There are no bottles to be found. If they are, they are probably cleared promptly.
Despite these high points, users of the Nungambakkam foot overbridge cannot stop complaining about it. This facility plummets to a terrible low, sinking hopelessly under the weight of high expectations.
Users cannot gloss over the fact that the elevators at the foot overbridge are like an employee who took a short sabbatical, but keeps extending it indefinitely. Unfortunately for this facility, it attracts the regular users, the pedestrians who want to get from one side to another, and the elderly among them would particularly appreciate a helpful prop that a functional elevator would be.
And they do not take kindly to elevators that seem stuck in eternal inertia.