Monday, November 25, 2013

கலங்கரை விளக்கம்

  On November 24th 2013 one of my childhood fantasies came true. When I were a child, my father and mother would take me to the Marina during Sundays. I fondly remember the days when the Marina's shore would be so long and we would be endlessly walking towards the mirage that are the waves. With not even one fourth of the way through I would ask my vertically challenged mother to pick me up and carry me. She, with all her might would carry me halfway through. I would get restless with a sea of crowd blocking my view of the ocean and ask my 6 foot tall father to lift and place me on his shoulder to give me a towering view above the rest. It was always fascinating for me to get a towering view of the ocean.

While going back I would notice the tower structure standing tall and would ask my father to get me up there. He would say we cannot go there and I would cry like a bitch till he bought me "kuchi ice" from the local vendor. I then grew up to realise that it was restricted for public viewing. The towering view of the mighty Bay of Bengal remained an unrealised dream. This emotion was further heightened on seeing Vijay in Ghilli hanging out with his friends in a replica of the lighthouse bulit for the movie. Every time the 12G/11H bus would turn left after passing the V-House bus stop, I always wonderhow it would be it, if I got up the elusive structure.

To my delight, the Government recently opened the lighthouse for public viewing. I was very much excited and planned a visit to the lighthouse with a couple of friends. The queue to enter the lighthouse resembled that of a queue during "Vaikunta Ekadesi" at the Tirupathi Devasatham in T-Nagar. Everyone wanted the piece of this marvel. We stood there for over an hour and it was nearing the closing time of 5 pm.

We were probably the last batch they would send. We got inside the lighthouse compound and found another queue for taking the elevator to go up the lighthouse. I just couldn't wait and took the steps. Since I live on the 3rd floor in a elevator less building I somehow could manage to climb the stairs without much difficulty. Within just a week of its opening the scoundrels had scribbled their names on the walls of the steps. They were etched with their bus routes, their favorite actor names and even the overused heart-teen made an appearance. It reflects the kind of dreadful society we live in, who don't value the importance of preserving monuments such as these.

  Three quarters of the way through, I took a peek from the windows. The view of the ocean was breathtaking. I then hurriedly climbed to the top. I almost lost breath. A guy stood near a room and shouted "Innum oru mAdi dhAn Erunga sAr". I pulled my breath back and made the final climb. The place resembled my balcony, fully grilled to make sure that no one would fall. It was like we were viewing the world behind the bars, as if to re-enforce that we have no control on the events unfolding before us and we are just spectators.

The crowd was maddening and uncooperative as one would expect. I muscled my way through fellow humans and got to the observatory. The view was very contrasting. On the right side, there were worn out filthy TNHB quarters and dark sea. The waters looked heavily polluted and nothing like the blue that one would expect of an ocean. The left side was filled with wonderfully painted buildings including the IG office, which was the nearest and a fabulously maintained Marina beach till the Napier's Bridge, where the couvam immerses itself into the Bay of Bengal. 

The right side view from the lighthouse

The left side view from the lighthouse

I was standing amidst two extremes. It was like a scene that of people who were left behind on the development race on the one side and a flourishing array of Government offices, commercial establishments and educational establishments on the other side. I then looked down from the from the lighthouse and noticed how puny a thing we are compared to the all powerful nature. People looked of the size of that of an ant, a mere dot in the cosmic ocean.

The view as I look down from the lighthouse

The waves were rushing in and hitting the shores as the ants rejoiced in the momentary pleasure. I was living a dream. All the people around me were invisible, it was a blissful state of me alone and the ocean. Only thing that was visible were the palette of blue painted across the shores.I could endlessly watch this over and over again with gusto. But I had to move on to let others live their childhood fantasy and left the place. 

The palette of blue appearing as the waves hit the shore and people rejoice

The moment I climbed down and came out, I saw quarrel and a stampede that is typical of our public who were denied something and reality came rushing down to give a tight slap on my face.

Mad rush at the entrance of the lighthouse

I looked up at the Lighthouse, one last time and then left with a feeling of fulfillment that I had finally got close to the fairy, my fairy, "The Chennai Lighthouse" 

The view as I look up at the lighthouse

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