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“Start aayidu, Lakshmi”

As the writer of this column is down with fever and couldn’t come with anything new this week, we present below a slightly touched-up version of a piece he had written four years ago on Chennai Metro Rail, which is set for inauguration between Koyambedu (arguably Asia’s biggest bus stand and inarguably world’s biggest dust factory is located here) and Alandur (a place well known for being described nondescript).

Thanks to the Metro Rail, the travel time between the two places will be drastically reduced to around 17 minutes —- the current road travel time is around 30 minutes. The 13 minutes saved is sure to come handy for the public to walk to wherever they had parked their vehicles, because as far as we can see there is not much parking space provided at the Metro stations. But we seem to be getting ahead of ourselves when we are supposed to rewind.

Those who couldn’t read the previous piece —- most likely because they were stuck in a traffic snarl due to the Metro Rail construction work and have managed to make it to their house only now —- can make use of this opportunity to read it now. But for all those still caught in a traffic jam, no worries, when the second phase of Metro Rail is inaugurated we will publish the same piece yet again. Our writer has promised to fall prey to a fever then, too.

And here it goes:

“I am happy that when the Metro Rail becomes operational, it is certain to be a huge success in terms of public patronage, as the authorities seem to have taken up all the roads that are navigable by other means.

These days, there seems to be only two kinds of paved roads in Chennai 1) The ones taken over for the Metro Rail construction. 2) The runway at the airport.

The Metro Rail authorities, left to themselves, would have taken over the runway too, and ordered the flights landing at Chennai to take an easy detour to Kolkata.

NO, I am not exaggerating. And if you ask the question: Will the authorities be stupid enough to think of a railway line above the space meant for airplanes? Well, my answer is: They are anyway stupid enough to think of a railway line above — no, don’t even try guessing this — a railway line.

And this is happening right at Guindy, a location not very far from where the Chennai airport is.

For the sake of those who have not been to these parts, this is the scenario here: There is an existing railway station. There is a pedestrian subway near it. And above all this spans a road bridge. The authorities, smartly realising that a Metro Rail line would reduce all the confusion here, have worked round-the-clock to get up the facility.

For the incredulous, let me repeat the whole plan: The Metro Rail is above the road bridge, which is above the regular railway line, which is around a pedestrian subway.

Our office is located pretty close to all these. We were majorly hamstrung by all the maddening construction activity. But on the plus side, we may perhaps be the ones to witness first hand, if and when it happens, the world’s first mid-air collision involving an airplane and — wait for it — a train.

Insensitive as it may sound, they should probably ticket the event.

Anyway, if you want to get a hang of the route plan of the Metro Rail, I suggest that you enhance your design understanding by watching the Rajnikanth film Padikathavan.

In the movie, Rajni, who is a taxi-driver, is shown, in a cheesy dream song sequence, to drive his vehicle on the perimeter of nearby high-rise buildings and other similar structures. The Metro Rail, it seems, intends to take such a route.

I base this theory of mine on the fact that, in my neighbourhood, they have smashed several buildings down, which were standing at least 100 metres away from the actual route that the Metro Rail takes. The buildings were on the periphery of the road while the Metro Rail line threads only through the middle of the road. I hope they at least make it mandatory the Rajavukku Raja Naan Thaan song for Metro Rail operators and call the train, Lakshmi.”

PS: Once the Metro Rail becomes operational, Crank’s Corner promises to provide, first-hand, a typical irresponsible take on a journey on it. Provided the writer can make it past the traffic snarls to the station.