A DAY OUT OF MEDIOCRITY

I’ve spent 8 months in this city, Chennai, that I now call home, but the scorching heat that it has to offer, making one cringe at the very thought of it could not be any sweeter! (Sigh)

I went about with my usual routine here, all set for another reporting assignment that life at Asian College of Journalism is preparing me for. The heat was more than usual, it had to be, what can one expect from a coastal area in the month of March? So I donned my cap, shades, carried a bag with water bottles and hopped onto the MRTS to reach the last stop, Velachery. I reached the construction site of a diversion channel being built since the last TWO years to regulate excess flooding in the area. And boy, was I pleased? Nope, not at all. The Bus Terminus was crowded, to add to it the traffic congestion was bad. I spoke to the Head Constable of Traffic Police who was fluent in Hindi. (Yayy!) He gave me a rough idea of the abysmal condition of the area and asked me to wait till 4 pm for the construction workers and engineers to arrive.

I looked at the sun, made a face and asked him politely, “But why 4 pm, Anna? Isn’t the work supposed to be completed by March 31?”

“Oh yes! But they can’t work in this heat na. Wait for sometime,” he replied.

And I pictured myself telling my Professor that it’s too hot, so I’ll report in the evening and my imagination too reverted with a bunch of “Fuck off’s” coming my way. I giggled and went ahead to stand in shade. I had two hours forth me and not a clue on where to proceed. So, like an obedient journalist (here’s hoping that I become one), I started talking to random commuters and shopkeepers in the area. Everyone was sweet and cooperative, I got some inputs again before I took refuge in a cafe and sipped some mojito while waiting for the clock to strike 4.

In the meantime, I made a few calls to some leads that my Professor’s colleague had provided me with, at the start of my assignment. But some weird, arrogant man, refusing to entertain my questions did some trash talk before finally hanging up on me. I rolled my eyes, let out a few murmurs before finally brushing it off as part of the job, you know.

I let myself out a little before 4 pm and walked afar to look for construction workers and engineers. The path was bad, really bad, they had literally ripped the roads apart. I tripped, a lot (because I’m clumsy), but made my way through before encountering a bunch of men working in the dug spaces of the ground. I felt bad for them, really bad, I cursed my privilege and felt grateful for it at the same time. So since I was short of time, I went ahead and spoke to the one who seemed to be leading them. He guided me to another person sitting at the entrance of a building. I followed suit and got the Chief Executive Engineer of Public Works Department to talk to me. (Yaayy!) He was a polite man and explained the whole situation in detail, but kept on diverting from the topic of two years’ delay in the project. With some insight from him, I walked my way back and clicked pictures and videos of the dismal condition of the place.

A good day to report I guess! Thanks to the sun, for being so compassionate.