Society

Chennai’s much-missed beaches, amid waves of change

Molaga bajji at Marina Beach, popcorn at Sathyam Cinemas and the chaotic fervour of a first-day-first-show film make up my wishlist

We are used to sound. In big cities like Chennai, the roads are always characteristic of noisy yellow autorickshaws, blaring car horns and the screeching of the bus brakes at bus stops.

They are all missing now.

Out there is a sense of quiet and the neighbourhoods of Chennai — be it Anna Nagar or Mylapore or Royapuram or anyplace else — the crows and dogs that have laid siege. Chennai has never been quieter.

Once the city becomes its old, noisier self post-lockdown, I would love to head back to the Marina and the Bessie beaches. The crowds would be understandably lesser, and the sand cleaner. I have been used to seeing the beach super crowded and noisy, and it would be exciting to see atleast a part of that. I’d like to hear the twinkling sounds from the merry-go-round accompany the excited cries of young children, who have, finally, been rescued from the clutches of the mobile phone and television. I’d like to see their parents indulge in a plate of hot molaga bhajji or pose for a picture with the numerous cutouts of Tamil cinema superstars...well, what’s Chennai without these matinee idols?

And oh, after I finish basking in the sound of the waves, I would probably dash down Dr Radhakrishnan Salai to Sathyam Cinemas, where the magic of films come alive every single time there’s a new release. Chennai is probably the only city in the world that wakes up before 4 am to catch a first-day-first-show screening of a superstar film. It was in January this year, but it feel like just yesterday when I made a dash across half the city to go to Chrompet’s Vettri Cinemas to catch the adrenaline-pumping first-day-first-show of Rajinikanth’s Darbar. With the cheers, confetti and crackers dominating the theatre complex, the madness just multiplies as fans see the word ‘Superstar’ roll out on the big screen. Watching the same film today, on an OTT platform in the comfort of home, is not the same thing at all.

Post lockdown, there might not be any new exciting releases or the milling crowds that are a given, but I’m up even for a re-watching of a Rajinikanth masala flick or a Kamal Haasan classic on the big screen. And then, when I’m armed with a tub of popcorn and the film begins, the sounds of everyday life will be back in action, yet again.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:50:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/chennais-much-missed-beaches-amid-waves-of-change/article31488396.ece

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