This autorickshaw driver (I did not ask his name) proudly mentioned that he was a member of an organization called the Indian People’s Protection Organisation, an NGO with headquarters in Adyar. He hastened to add that it is a non-political organization and was involved in training the local children in road safety and life skills. A laudable effort and must be encouraged and supported considering the background of the local children.
I did not ask him whether they conduct classed in road safety and rule for auto drivers!
Meet Neelamegam. He sells kitchen utensils from his two-wheeler around Ezhil Nagar tenements. The vehicle is completely covered with his wares that I fail to understand how he would sit and ride.
He has a loudspeaker which blares out pre-recorded sales message in a professionally catchy yet natural voice. A photo of his mother decorated with flowers adorns the top of the headlamp. He procures the utensils from Salem and other places. The way the women of the area were thronging around this handsome young man indicates that he must be doing brisk business.
A general view of Kannagi Nagar which is evolving as an Art District thanks to the initiative of St+Art and other organizations. A bunch of youngsters is busy with their football practice even as a hydraulic boom crane used by artists dominates the skyline along with the almost-finished mural.
Kannagi Nagar, a township of lower-income tenements has been selected to be developed as an Art District. It is a collaboration between St+Art and various other organizations. About 15 renowned artists from India and abroad participate in this effort.
This mural is by Kashmira Sarode depicting a mother-daughter duo affected by the tsunami, facing life again with hope.
A few years ago, I had posted a picture of a blue enamel signboard from George Town. These signboards, which were ubiquitous once in shop fronts and street corners are disappearing. Occasionally you come across a signboard like this one above in Triplicane.
The brand ‘Rashiklal’ for betel nut powder was so popular that some outstation visitors to Madras used to buy in bulk for their year’s requirement. The brand is still alive and popular. I recently had to guide a visitor from Mumbai to a retail outlet where he could buy some for his senior relatives back in Mumbai.
During my younger days, there used to be several shops selling firewood and charcoal (விறகு தொட்டி) as many households and businesses were using them. In fact, the present Sardar Patel Road Adyar had a couple of them. Today, the use for these is confined to small operations like ironing, etc. Hence the number of shops has dwindled. This shop still survives in Mambalam in a prime location and is run by the descendants of the family who started it. The present owner admitted that the business is dull and the pressure to sell off the property is high.