The Woodlands Drive-in Restaurant has a special place in every Madarasi’s heart especially those born up until the 1980s even though it is long since gone. In its place now we have ‘Semmozhi Poonga’ – the public park. The hotel was taken back by Tamil Nadu government after lease expiry of 99 years. It sat at the very heart of the metro. Chennai’s rosy ’60s, ’70s and ’80s centered around Woodlands Drive-in, a favourite hangout for lovers, college students and celebrities alike.
How many pictures were filmed in the Woodlands. My parents’ wedding reception was held in the lawns of the very same hotel in the year 1966. Nostalgia. I have been to the restaurant a couple of times no more, after it lost its glory. Probably the owners or lessees lost interest in the business as the date of handover drew closer.
Very recently, the Anna Nagar Tower Club was also taken over by Chennai Corporation after the lease period was found to have expired. The case was dragging for years as the club membership is very impressive.
Wow wow, what an honest coverage here by TOI and the Hindu. Wonder how then they are keeping quiet about the churches in India, especially Tamil Nadu. Selective amnesia. The leases expired for most or all the cathedrals, churches in Tamil Nadu (and even mostly in entire India) that are over 100 years old because, the British always entered into lease agreements for 99 years, never opting for title deeds on ownership. Then why when Woodlands drive-in restaurant could be taken over by our government, the cathedral opposite the same restaurant with expired lease (most definitely) is not making headlines. Why no media is covering them.
Well, someone is sharing my opinion.
If the churches cannot vacate. let them buy out the real estate properties – mostly prime properties of acres and acres worth thousands of crores by today’s standards – who is stopping them. Or let them pay the market rate as rentals and extend the lease by every 11 months as is normally done in India for any commercial lease. As of date. most of them are illegal occupants or squatters who can be vacated without a notice.
How was Hong Kong taken over by China. The British handed over Hong Kong in silver platter to China after the expiry of the lease period of 100 years. Now will BBC do a cover story on illegal occupation/squatting of churches and cathedrals for free in Indian metros and through out India.
Let every single Indian share the information and let us make this a sensational movement. Let them pay for the lease at least, clearing the balance overdue. It is high time the churches and madarasahs in India are audited. Why Stalin, Vaiko, Seeman, Thirumurugan Gandhi, Actor Vijay are not asking for handover of church lease to government or renewal upto date. Every Hindu should make this a mission to publicize the news. Why is none moving the court. Should only Subramanyam Swami do it every time?
The thing is, only women from non Islamic countries serve as field nurses or nursing assistants in any part of the world. Right there the Paki nurse concept fails in the picture Tiger Zinda Hai. Islamic field nurses serving kafir patients must be blasphemy, right! Did the makers of ‘Tiger zinda hai’ realize that. You just committed a grievous one misters. Women nurses from islamic countries may be restricted to serving their own hospitals, and who knows in fact to only female patients. Mostly in Middle East, we see either Indian nurses or Filipino nurses or at least Sri Lankan nurses, none other. Even in India, it is rare to come across a muslim female nurse for the simple reason, the community may not be permitting them to serve non muslim patients. So 99.99% of the broadminded serving Indian nurses are either Hindu or Christian. I am yet to come across a muslim female nurse working for a medical hospital in India. I have to laud the Christian community in India for their service mindedness when it comes to working with the sick. As far as it comes to serving humanity in the most earnest way, I doubt whether muslims have such a generous big heart. To touch and clean a kafir male patient, hold his bedpan. Will a trained islamic field woman nurse do it. Can she do it. Can she change his dress and dressings.. Can she give him a sponge bath. Whole body bath. Just who are you kidding guys. Hindu Dharma and even Christianity for that matter, do not set boundaries when it comes to serving humanity. There is just no limit to serving mankind for us. Producer-director of ‘Tiger zinda hai’ – you made a complete and cruel mockery of one of the noblest professions of the world serving fellow humans who are suffering and who need a healing touch. Show me a single muslim woman staff nurse doing the kind of motherly-sisterly selfless humanitarian service to a kafir male patient. Interestingly, the contrary holds true. Non kafir male or female assistants and paramedics can nurse muslim men or women when they may be sick. One way road.
It is upsetting therefore to watch such white lies like: (praying) (here too!)(Tableeghi jamaat or what) Pakistani muslim women nurses cast on EQUAL FOOTING with serving Indian nurses working in a hospital in war torn region of Middle East. You cannot ridicule the sisterhood of Indian nursing community more. Outright assault on our entire medical fraternity and principles. Pakistanis are world renowned for taking lives, never for gifting life.
Secondly, our intelligence agency doing a job with theirs is insane, an insult to my India and especially our Kashmiris. Just read about a Kashmiri Hindu woman’s travails. How the Pathans came down in 1947 from Pakistan raping from home to home any and every Hindu Kashmiri little girl to granny. India has had a Mumbai 26/11 not long ago. A Kargil before that when our soldiers were captured, tortured to death with their bodies mutilated beyond recognition. India has also suffered multiple bomb blasts orchestrated by ISI in various cities including in our Stock Exchange and in business districts of busy metros. Even for making money across the border, one should not be making such thoughtless films. Oh, ‘Tiger zinda hai’ is not a thoughtless film. Probably it was made after considerable and careful thought to portray terrorists as good samaritans and plant a seed of self doubt and mistrust in the minds of the Indian masses. By whom? I am coming to that.
Thirdly, Cannot digest Pakistan flag flying level with ours. In a real life incident our ex Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did rescue some 45 Indian nurses stranded in war torn parts of middle east. In which Pak had zero role to play. It is reckless and demeaning to credit Pak with anything as good as this one, even if this is just a picture.
Fourthly it means, the film must have been funded by the D gang from across the border, no second thoughts on that. You can guess from the casting crew: Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. To paint a rosy picture of their terrorist intelligence agency, one must be hand in gloves with them. One of them. Why was the picture even released in India. How did our sensor board approve it.
What is the need to project our adversaries to this extent is what I cannot understand. More than trying to show them as THE BEST, the producers have gone to the length of showcasing their spies in good light.
You have to be sick for producing such a trash film, it’s an assault on our intelligence and I felt like puking. Bastards.
Finally showing our own Indian muslim in Salman’s team to be the ultimate sacrificing patriotic guy is the last straw. I do respect some (not all) Indian muslims, but any trust, I will not put in them. I am not comfortable with them. I tolerate because we have to be polite and civil to each other for the nation’s sake. Where such a decorum has to be maintained, and/or if situation demands, I will play up to my expected role.
As far as India is concerned, no combined effort on any front with Pakistan. Pak lies in history. We don’t want to have anything to do with them. Never.
‘Tiger zinda hai’ is out and out a terror project. I regret I had to see it. I regret watching this nonsense. GLORIFICATION OF TERRORISTAN, TERROR AND TERRORISM at its best.
Mahabalipuram aka Mamallapuram, mere 45 km from city, is city as well. Almost. The city expands upto here and further. In fact, the metrorail may be plying upto the sun-kissed dusty town in near future. Still Mahabalipuram is of Kanjivaram district I suppose for administrative reasons. Situated on the ECR (East Coast Road) enroute to Pondicherry (now Puducherry), the historic seaside maritime port is millennia old, having been a trading center for Tamils for centuries. More than six rock cut Pallava period Dravidian architecture temples here have been washed out into the sea from the shore. What remains as the Shore temple is from the 7th century CE. The Pancha Pandava Rathas, Arjuna’s Tapas all in the rock carvings (the Pandav chariot and the Arjuna tapas cave carved out of single rock formation) point to the existence and flourishing of a vibrant Hindu culture and art in the southern state from over two thousand years before. The Chinese and Romans were regulars trading with this part of India which is why there are Chinese figurines carved into cave temples in Mamallapuram.
This is the reason President Xi probably chose the scenic Mamallapuram for his informal rendezvous with Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi. Xi insisted on taking road to Mamallapuram from airport, turning down aerial transport because he apparently wanted to see this part of the country with his own eyes. I won’t say Chennai is beautiful but I would any day vouch Chennai has this ‘lakshanam’ – auspiciousness about it. Chennai does not have a soaring skyline like Noida or Bangalore or Mumbai and neither is Chennai swanky like Pune or Chandigarh or even curious and classy like Hyderabad or Delhi… Chennai is like one big overgrown village that’s all. It grows on you as and when you live here, never one for making a first and fast impression.
Chennai’s art and culture scene rocks! We could be aptly called the Cultural capital of India. Tamil Nadu is littered with ancient Hindu temples of Dravidian architectural style spreading acres, thousands of them, street to street. The state is a historian/archaeologist’s delight. A month long music season for classical Carnatic is still our annual feature that draws in fans from around the world. Birth place to classical dance form ‘Bharat Natyam.’ Many may not be aware that Kung Fu etc., the martial arts of China had a Hindu-Buddhist founder who originated from Tamil Nadu and migrated to China. While the martial art form died in India, it survived in China. The monk’s name was Bodhi Verman.
Chennai has given to the world not just the Google CEO Sundar Pichai and outgoing World Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi, but also 3 times world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand to Tennis aces Ramanathan Krishnan (world junior Wimbledon champ of his times) and Ramesh Krishnan and Vijay Amritraj and Anand Amritraj. Chennai has produced Noble laureates and eminent scientists and mathematicians and scholars who have made good at global level. Chennai still keeps a low profile ! The best part that the Tamils have played in history is, being a quiet but stable and reliable and constant rock steady part to the idea of India. And this has nothing to do with our voting preferences. Tamils may not vote for the Congress or BJP over the regional Tamil parties, yet Tamils are most nationalistic by nature, and highly underestimated.
Ancient Hindu and especially Tamil Hindu contribution to the world is amazing. Our forefathers were creators, not destroyers and terrorists. They built huge architectural marvels of temples and universities, not mausoleums. India exported the best to the world, not terror and violence. Tamil society had structured grammar by 3rd century BCE and proper built dams (over Kaveri river that stand goods today, world’s first dam) with literary courts functioning in full flow.
Mamallapuram today stands a witness to this great glorious age of our ancient Hindu Tamil Kings who ran a reign of over 1000=2000 continuous years before their lineage came to an end. Pallava kings raised the Mamallapuram structures that are classified UNESCO World Heritage today. In Tamil Nadu, every street has an ancient temple that could be a world heritage site!
I would say, Tamil Nadu has this calming effect on anyone. Not impressive at the outset. People here are less agitated. I have heard north Indians give this opinion. We don’t have a pleasant climate. We are known for our humidity levels and sweaty weather. Yet Tamil Nadu is rated a good or perhaps the best place to live in or raise your children. One reason is, my state people respect law and order and try to follow it!!! Disciplined. Hardworking. Intelligent. These are the three words I would use to describe Thamizhs.
Mamallapuram to Chennaiites is weekend escape.
The last time I was in Mahabalipuram was just a year back. We girls chose a beach resort to unwind and swim (!) in their private beach closed to public.
The ECR is dotted with entertainment places. Pubs, discotheques, beach resorts, multi-cuisine restaurants that can cater to every taste bud… A pucca party place for the party animals. Pondicherry which is less than 100 km is Union Territory where they don’t levy excise duty on liquor. Hence the weekly drive to Pondy!!!
The ECR is also a very dangerous road to drive – known for drunk driving and accidents. Hundreds of casualty every year. I am never comfortable traveling down this road. Years back, this road had the first drive-in seaside cinemas. I watched the memorable picture ‘Bombay’ here curling up in the ground under the car in a cold month. Now the cinemas is in ruins but lots more different places have become fashionable and trendy spots.
Once upon a time, an uncle of mine owned acres of seaside property here that he later sold away for a pittance. Today this stretch leading upto Pondicherry is gold. I won’t say this is a scenic road – because sea view is hidden in most places by structures that have come up in between the sea and the road. Upto 1 km range of land distance from sea level is not approved by government after the Tsunami struck, but that has not dampened the real estate development. (Real estate growth is lukewarm nevertheless happening).
My first visit to Mahabalipuram was in standard 10 in 1984. ECR was a narrow spiraling road then with just a single lane. Every school girl’s first memorable excursion! I think we did not even own a camera then. We enjoyed the day the way one ought to enjoy outings!
Many Tamil pictures were filmed in this road and in the quaint beach resorts of those days that served as lovers’ secret meeting places.
We still take friends visiting us in Chennai to Mahabalipuram. There is a sculpture school there. Good food. Ideal place to spend a weekend. Luxurious beach villas and resorts. Some theme parks are closed, otherwise even for kids the ECR used to be a great stop. Free flow of liquor. A favourite with foreign tourists. The mix with culture makes it all heady!!! Two more attractions on the road before you reach Mahabalipuram: The Crocodile Bank and Dakshina Chitra (heritage architecture showcase).
Well, never expected our PM Modi to meet the Chinese prez Xi here. Hopefully the two drank in heartily from history. Every time I step into an ancient Hindu temple that is at least 1500 or 2000 years old, I think of the Hindu king who built the magnificent structure. For instance, the Brahadeshwara temple is even earthquake proof! You have to walk through these temples to be transported by the mind’s ‘Time machine’ into virtually another world and age.The Shore temple of Mamallapuram is an abandoned structure, no more a functioning temple. It is a miracle it was not affected by the Tsunami! Whenever I visit Mamallapuram, I picture artisans working on these great sculptures in the vibrant town of the Pallavas. In Brahadeshwara temple of Tanjore, nonstop Puja to Lord Shiva is going on for over 1000 years. Most Hindu temples in India are functional for two thousand years easily minimum. North could have had more but they were razed to dust by the Moghuls who raised their bloody mausoleums over our sacred places of worship.
The Shore temple of Mamallapuram is a rare one in that, Lord Shiva is seen here with family. Nowhere else in India can you see Shiva like a family man – mostly He is represented as Shiva Linga.
In Mamallapuram time does come to a standstill – at least for me. I have been here a dozen times, no more. But every time I step in here, I am drawn to this unbelievable proud native history of ours. Pristine. I almost feel a tear drop roll down my eyes. Moving.
As for China-India tie, India is NOT in contest with anyone. India has a soul, China lacks one. India is a time-tested people’s democracy. China is yet to take the acid test that it will fail miserably. The entire future of China may be incumbent finally on this one crucial step that someday China has to dare to take. Inevitable. People in India ACTUALLY LIVE. LIVE LIFE. We are happy the way we are in India. We shall progress at our own pace. We don’t want to saturate ourselves too soon the way China is going at it. Average Indian life holds good in the present. We Indians still throng temples and cinemas and attend concerts and go on holidays. Music is not only for stage performance. Music is for caressing our soul. Sports is not just for winning the Olympic medals. Sports is for our entertainment. That way, even India’s fixation with Cricket is good. Millions soak and enjoy these games. Which is more important to most Indians than winning medals like a machine without a pleasure. India can do better, no doubt, buts India is doing fine anyway.
China is this ruthless moneylender. China has swallowed African territories and even a Sri Lankan port city when they failed to cough up principal with compounded interest. China is modern day East India Company. India will hardly be ever that. INDIA REFUSES TO PROSPER ON OTHERS’ BLOOD, AT OTHERS’ COST. Us vs. Them. When we shed every moral and ethic in the code book, we can become China in no time too. Chinese eat rat and dog for main course. Can majority vegetarian India ever do that. Eat snakes? Do Europeans, Americans do that. Trivial it may sound, trivial it is not. This is the major existential social difference between India and China. Unbridgeable gap. India: Underdeveloped for a reason. Slow with a purpose. When you can eat man’s best friend the dog, then you will stop at nothing.
We were once taken for a ride by Mao Tse Tung. Xi or no Xi, INDIA DOES NOT AND WILL NOT TRUST CHINA. INDIA WILL NOT GIVE MORE MARKET ACCESS TO CHINA. INDIA WILL NOT BE DIRECTED OR CONTROLLED BY CHINA. INDIA REFUSES TO TOE THE CHINA LINE. INDIA DOES NOT CARE WHAT CHINESE MEDIA THINK OR HOW CHINESE MEDIA PORTRAY INDIA. INDIA WILL NOT JOIN THE SILK ROUTE. INDIA WILL NOT GIVE UP TIBET. INDIA WILL NOT GIVE UP AN INCH OF INDIAN SOIL TO CHINA. Full stop.
Prez Xi, we hosted you with respect because you were our guest. ‘Adhithi Devo Bhava’ – this is our culture. India can afford to antagonize China, India can live without China. India will.
I don’t want to dwell into morality, legality and ethics concerning PC, our ex finance minister now rotting behind the bars. Do not want to mix politics.
Just wondered how more useless all the wealthy hoardings of P Chidambaram and his son Karthi Chidambaram could get than this, when none of these managed to get the 74 year old senior citizen out of his Tihar cell that reportedly includes an unpartitioned (unscreened) squating toilet facility. Food is stated to be standard prison issue. No air-conditioner.
Is this what these guys worked so hard for … and then some… (!)
Kaliyug, where and when not even your Karma would wait to catch up with you in your next janam. Instant Karma means instance justice. Fast trial.
Time for reflection for the septuagenarian ex minister as well as his son who is in his prime. The family can only watch in agony.