Tata for traffic

One major outcome of the Metro Rail construction across Chennai will be, quite obviously, my monthly broadband internet bills will remain unpaid for the next two years.

But we will delve into the Metro Rail first.

As a Chennaiite I feel reassured that with the Metro Rail there seems little scope for traffic snarls to break out in 2013 — the year the first phase of the Metro Rail service is expected to roll out —- because it looks highly unlikely that the traffic jams that I am encountering today would have cleared by even then.

Put it simply: Metro Rail seems verily a project that has been conceived to address the traffic problems that Chennaiites will face in the future by getting them to endure that future chaos today itself.

But 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 road 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 also, 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 around it. And above all this spans a road bridge.  The authorities, smartly realising that a Metro Rail line would reduce all the confusion here, are working round-the-clock to get up the facility.

For the incredulous, let me repeat the whole plan: The Metro Rail will be 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 are majorly hamstrung by all the maddening construction activity. But on the plus side, we maybe the ones to witness it 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 the Metro Rail drivers)

One of the buildings that has come down, as it happens, is a part of my daughter school’s. She and her classmates are, however, hoping for adequate governmental compensation in the form of relocation to a higher class without the pointlessness called exams.

Now we switch tracks to my broadband internet.

I am signed for an ‘unlimited plan’.

I will straightaway confess my mistake of never having looked up in any dictionary the meaning of ‘unlimited’.  Fortunately for me, my service provider has now provided an authoritative definition for ‘unlimited’: ‘It’s 5 GB’.

But I can start to complain about my internet service the moment I start to get to anywhere near my internet connection, which is possible only if the ‘accounts guys’ (of my service provider) get off the phone line that they are constantly on with me.

I will explain: My internet bill has been ‘outstanding’ for over a month because the collection personnel is still to show up at my doorstep. But every day someone from the company calls up and begins by saying: ‘Sir, your bill is unpaid. Can I send a person and collect the amount?’

Me: ‘Please do’.

No sooner do I put the phone down than it rings again. Some other voice (but with the same earnestness): ‘Sir, your internet bill amount is outstanding…’

Me: ‘I know. I think I just told your colleague that you can come and collect it anytime…’

The earnest voice: ‘Sir, how would I know what you told him…?’

Me: ‘Is there not something called coordination in your office … (slight pause for the sarcasm to sink in)’ (But the rule of the game is never be sarcastic with tele-callers it usually boomerangs on you)

The earnest voice: ‘There is plenty of coordination, sir. We talk amongst ourselves. But we never discuss what we discuss with the clients. So how would I know what you told my colleague?’

Me (resigned to my fate): ‘Okay, send your person without fail at least today’.

Seconds after I end the call, the phone rings. ‘Sir, your internet bill…’

Cue: Expletives.

The point is they keep calling me almost every hour without dispatching the person they promise to, which makes me to think that he might have actually set out for the collection but has not arrived at my doors due to one of those humungous traffic snarls that Guindy is prone to suffer from.

In which case, my bill may remain unpaid for an unlimited time. Unlimited, of course, also means 2013.