Friday, October 24, 2008

Of wet chains and broken links

The Government of Sri Lanka is right now in the middle of one of its most sustained offensives against the LTTE in the past two decades. It appears that the Sri Lankan army has the upper hand currently and are pressing home their advantage. The fierce fighting in the island has forced many to cross the Palk Straits, bringing with them their tales of atrocities by the soldiers. Some of the more hardline Tamizh political parties have been quick to pounce on this as a cause - and the Tamil Nadu government decided to nullify that political advantage by throwing its weight behind the cause, too.

To 'highlight' the sufferings faced by people in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north-eastern regions, a human chain was to be formed in Chennai, stretching through the city into the suburbs. It was scheduled for October 22, but the rains on Tuesday led the organizers to reschedule it for today. One can't blame them if they were in a self-congratulatory mood at 2 pm, about an hour before the chain was to form. But it certainly says something that in a matter of 15 minutes or so, the skies darkened up and let loose one of the most sustained spells of heavy rain that had large sections of the human chain break away; much of the rest had to move to the middle of the road, because the rainwater flowing along the road shoulders did not allow them to stay to a side.

Recipe for disaster? Of course! Traffic was completely paralyzed in many places; one driver estimated a traffic jam stretching for about 12 km through the city. I know that we managed to do about 3 km on Mount Road / Sardar Patel in an hour before we aborted our trip and turned back - just at the right time, thankfully. The return took us 7 minutes. The traffic behind this section of the human chain remained stationary for well over an hour!


sreesnake said...

I was probably one of the 'worst sufferers' of the lankan offensive!! I was at Anna Nagar signal by 6.30 PM and by 10.30 , hadn't managed to reach Egmore railway station!!Please stop the war!!!

Shantaram said...

>> Sree>> Hope you weren't going to Egmore to travel out of Chennai - you'd have missed the trip, for sure!