Sunday, June 15, 2008

Beautiful - at rest

Childhood memories of summer in Madras include a sequence where people in thatch-roof huts run out screaming, followed a short while by the sirens of the fire engine arriving on the scene. There were always multiple causes assigned to how the fire started - open stove, breeze blowing through, dry thatch... and then those consipracy theorists who averred that the fires were started by the local goons so as to muscle in to a share of the compensation that the local government would invariably pay.

Thankfully, those sequences have become rarer. I can't recall the last time I saw a fire engine cleave through traffic, rushing to the rescue. I'm not saying they are completely unused - enough mishaps occur in commercial and industrial areas to keep the Tamil Nadu Fire & Rescue Services personnel on their toes - but the number of serious fires in houses appears to have come down. It is always much nicer to see these shiny red vehicles standing still!

(The guard on duty was not very amused to see me taking photographs from across the road; but before he could get really angry, I had taken all I needed!)


Hilda said...

I wish I could say the same here in Metro Manila. But we have so many "informal settlers" there's always a fire everyday. =(

Shantaram said...

>> Hilda>> 'Informal settlers' makes it tough for the firefighters - access is difficult, hydrants are non-existent... all make for a proper blaze.