editor's desk

To many, Mylapore is the centre of Universe

Many people believe Mylapore is not just the centre of our city but of their universe.

I know of people who have invested all their savings to purchase a box apartment where there is enough space on the terrace to sight the eastern gopuram of Sri Kapali Temple.

There are others who have bought box apartments on the other side of the mada street so that a school, the market and everything else is within 100 metres from their gate.

Most people who live in the heart of Mylapore have never known flooding while their distant cousins in Sriram Nagar are learning a trick or two from pre-Irma conditions on how to escape from waters that run into their homes from streets that are on a higher level than their floor.

So the saved-from-flooding folks gloat in the whatever-monsoon season, unaware of the cause of the run-off.

When they go around and talk about their lucky status, their far-flung cousins sell off their apartments in Urapakkam and start a life in box apartments in Mylapore.

One other community which has to come to Mylapore are architecture students.

In the past, this community from the Guindy region would descend here to work on their annual projects.

There are some six and half dozens projects on everything Mylapore - from vintage houses, to temple tanks, to janal bajji sales window designs to Chennai Corporation's 'intervention' in hawking zones for the vegetable vendors on South Mada Street.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a group out to study the positioning of kolu doll hawkers on North Mada Street.

Any study is welcome. As long as it earns a degree.

The trend though has changed.

Now the architecture students flock to Mylapore to do something more than designs and sketches.

They come here for the real.

Because they are all competing in national architectural competitions.

But since the heart of Mylapore is packed to the mada streets with box apartments, keerai-hawkers and multi-level sabhas, and the students' need is open spaces they settle for the larger Mylapore neighbourhood.

Places where there is a lot of muck, worn-out tyres, old washing machines and pots with cactus gone wild.

Because student groups are challenged now to convert mucky open spaces into nice open spaces.

So they sit under the neem tree, breathe in deeply, draw up plans and set to work.

Walls get painted, tyres are used to make swings, washing machines make stark junk art and the plants, after a trim are places along the walk zones.

I like the ideas. I like the effort. I like the pictures on social media.

But once the work has been submitted for the contest, the show is over.

What purpose really?

There are lots of people painting walls, doing up mucky spaces and donating for more road dividers.

All for their reasons.

It happens.

Now what great purpose will be served if someone asks - tell me, why Mylapore is not the centre of this universe?

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