Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Chennai/Madras 6: New Chennai
India's changing fast, if not fast enough for all. Here are some pictures on the "half-full" side, followed by a few on the "half-empty."
The convention is that you can tell how a country is doing just be looking at its airports. Here's Chennai's, pretty much up to international standards.
But with an Indian twist. Call it a legacy of the caste system fused with British colonial hierarchies.
Out on the street, we pass something that a visitor from the 1980s would have thought impossible. "It will never be," he said, but he was wrong.
The full monty.
A dealership straight out of the global catalog. Farewell to the coconut-powered Ambassador, cut down at the last to its chassis, loaded with cotton, and pulled by a bullock.
Remember autarky? Self-sufficiency? Trade barriers that kept the global players at bay?
The new India needs new offices.
They rise like squash flowers from a compost heap.
Nobody ever said they had to comport with European taste.
If you can't read English, this space isn't for you.
"London shuttle's landed, sir."
It's Easter Sunday, 2016. What's the attraction?
Answer: Marina Beach.
Meanwhile, the old city continues crumbling into the dust.
Eventually it's demolished or restored. Here's a case of restoration: The Daily Mail Building in about 1990.
Ten years later, the newspaper had moved out and the building had been cleaned up.
People meanwhile occupy every vacant inch. Here's a line of huts on the grounds of St. Andrews. Come around to the front.
Laundry, as colorful as it gets.
No room for a hut? Stack it on a proper building, in this case on the city's outskirts, past the airport.
The outcome? Optimist and pessimist alike must wait and see.
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