“I came to this city when it was called Madras. Now, not just the name but everything has changed. The city, the people, the way we live, everything! I remember a time when the Marina Swimming Pool drew water from the Cooum river, but now it is impossible for us to even walk past that river without holding our breath tight. Watching the Cooum river flow under the Basin Bridge was a sight that would take your breath away. Well, it does now too, but not in a very nice way. Another water body that I have seen biting the dust is the Okkiyampet lake, which was a place I used to go along with my friends, to take a swim on a Sunday evening. But now, I cannot hold back tears every time I drive or walk past it, by seeing the state in which we have left it.
Another major change in this city ever since it has transformed into the Singara Chennai as we see it today, is the way the roads have gotten busier and more crowded. There was a time I used to cycle all the way up to Tiruporur, but now it is impossible to even dream about doing it because the roads are filled with vehicles that are competing to overtake each other and the madness would drive you crazy before you drive a few kilometres.
I remember a time when the sand in this beach was softer and nicer, now I come here every weekend with my son in the morning and build sandcastles that don’t seem the same. While the Tsunami did some damage, we have done way more than that. We have failed our city and its resources and I think there is no point in blaming each other, because every citizen is responsible to protect the city they live in. It is important to take care of your city, just the way you take care of your house. I do my bit by ensuring I don’t litter and try to tell people to follow suit too. Even if one person changes, a significant difference is made, I believe.”
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