Questions??? – to the people of Chennai!

I am a middle aged man, with comfortable means that lets me live happily if I did plan carefully. I have been an avid listener of concerts from the time I remember. My wife loves to watch Bhartahnatyam solos. We live in Mumbai. My parents live in Chennai. Whenever time permits we visit Chennai during the Margazhi saeason and try to attend as many concerts a spossible within the week or 10 days of our stay in Chennai.

Since our parents are retired they have moved out of the city centre and are now some 13 kms away from T-Nagar. So when we decide to go to a concert, we usually end up taking the bus or usually at most times, auto. We get to pay around Rs 150-200 to travel one way to the concert venue usually in T-Nagar or Mylapore Area. The distance travelled I guess would be around 15 kms. If my parents are with us we use a cab who charges us around Rs. 500 -600 for taking us up and down. I was just wondering how is it that Chennai-ites are used to paying so much for the auto or taxi. I think the cost for these services are three times what an Indian gets to pay in Mumbai. In Mumbai I have frequently seen hawladars/constables keeping an eye on taxi drivers/ auto drivers. If need be they intervene and make the drivers pick up aged/handicapped passengers. I have never encountered this “over the meter” business. Don’t people in Chennai deserve the same service as those in Mumbai?

The minimum amount for a kutcheri today is Rs. 100. My understanding is that the festival receives no/minimal support from the Government. So I am Ok with paying this amount which goes towards the livelihood of artistes. I am also appreciative of the fact that they are quite a few free kutcheris during the season thanks to corprorate sponsorship. But if it is 4 of us going to a concert it costs us a minimum of Rs 900/ concert. If it is 2 of us it works out to about Rs.600. Isnt this a little too high? I can understand others who feel that they could buy 4 CDS for the money and repeatedly listen to them. Yes of course they miss the ambience of the concert venue! But not everyone can afford it and pay towards what????- AN UNFAIRLY INFLATED AUTO RATE??? CAN ANYBODY TELL ME WHEN, WHY AND HOW DID THIS PRACTICE START AND HOW AND WHY IS IT ACCEPTED AS  PART OF CHENNAI LIFE? SHAME ON YOU CHENNAI!

-KSR

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5 responses to “Questions??? – to the people of Chennai!

  1. Dear Sir,

    I don’t have the answers to your question. I am sure you/we will come accross somebody who does.I agree that the problem you so vividly capture in your letter exists.But your blanket “SHAME ON YOU CHENNAI!” pains me.

    They are a lot of things that makes “Chennai Proud”. Being a “Fan of Chennai”, I can only hope and pray that things improve and do so quickly 🙂 I hope your next visit to Chennai is more pleasant. I salute the art appreciation that carries you from Mumbai to Chennai. And I am also extremely happy to see that you do take your parents along on these kutcheri trips. If the expense is on the higher side for the “earning” citizens, it could be a formidable amount for retired rasikas.

  2. Yes! autos are expensive..!

    My problem is a little different.. I live at Annanagar and I drive a two-wheeler so it doesn’t cost me as much as it does to Mr. KSR. But travelling in Chennai roads in the evenings is not so easy.. That too with my mom on the pillion! But still there wasn’t one day in 33 days that went without attending a dance concert. Some times in mylapore, some times in KGS and some other times even in Besant nagar. I think that is the magic of the season! 😀

  3. Art flourishes in the places with fewest restrictions and laws, and the lawless Chennai is a good example. The country where laws are really enforced, like Germany, produces no artistes and not art at all (zero!). In Chennai, we believe that laws the really work are the self-imposed laws, not the once enforced upon us by a policeman.

    Rs. 100 does not go towards the livelihood of artistes: it mostly goes into the sabha owners’ pockets. “Quite a few free kutcheris during the season” are not “thanks to corprorate sponsorship” because it is the artistes themselves who have to foot the bill out of their own pockets. Surely, it does not happen in Mumbai!

    I wonder why KSR had to travel to T-Nagar or Mylapore if there are probably many events happening in his neighbourhood. The reason so few come to watch a deluge of performances in T-Nagar or Mylapore are obvious.

    KSR must not “try to attend as many concerts as possible”. Quality, not quantity, should be more important. Otherwise, the autorickshaws will continue to enjoy his patronage! 🙂

  4. Art flourishes in the places with fewest restrictions and laws, and the lawless Chennai is a good example. The country where laws are really enforced, like Germany, produces no artistes and not art at all (zero!). In Chennai, we believe that laws that really work are the self-imposed laws, not the once enforced upon us by a policeman.

    Rs. 100 does not go towards the livelihood of artistes: it mostly goes into the sabha owners’ pockets. “Quite a few free kutcheris during the season” are not “thanks to corprorate sponsorship” because it is the artistes themselves who have to foot the bill out of their own pockets. Surely, it does not happen in Mumbai!

    I wonder why KSR had to travel to T-Nagar or Mylapore if there are probably many events happening in his neighbourhood. The reason so few come to watch a deluge of performances in T-Nagar or Mylapore are obvious.

    KSR must not “try to attend as many concerts as possible”. Quality, not quantity, should be more important. Otherwise, the autorickshaws will continue to enjoy his patronage! 🙂

  5. I am in exactly the same situation KSR is in. When I visit Chennai, I have to travel 15 kms to see a kutcheri in NGS or Music Academy. It blows a hole in my pocket to take the auto or call-taxi. Many people avoid this by staying with someone close to Mylapore or in the city so that traveling to kutcheris gets shortened. Having said that, KSR should remember that not all kutcheris are attended by everyone. This time I went only to one venue since that made me more economical.
    Irrespective of season, autos demand a high rate in Chennai and with increasing proportion of people with higher rate of disposable income in-hand the auto guys do not want to charge the normal rate. Why auto, compare the rate of any thing 3 years ago and now…you will see a steep incline (I am not talking about Onions). In any case, hopefully your next visit would be more pleasant at Chennai.

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