open, optimistic, hot by Bill W
Chennai (formerly Madras) is the fourth largest city in India with over 4.2 million people. It’s a major port on the Bay of Bengal, and is the capital of Tamil Nadu, the state in India’s extreme southeast. It’s hot here, but not any hotter than the rest of India, and despite proximity of the ocean feels very dry.
One is immediately struck by the chaos of street life. Streets are narrow, and shared by cars, trucks, motorcycles, autorickshaws, bicycles, pedestrians, large and small animals, construction material and debris and some garbage. Sidewalks, uneven and always in a state of rehabilitation or disrepair, are not really for pedestrians, but for the shops that spill out onto them.
The street is filled with autorickshaws, three wheeled taxis equipped with a two stroke motorcycle engine and with room for two in the back seat. Painted words, eyes, stickers, tassels and all manner of religious symbols make each taxi and truck glitter with information about its driver. The instruction “SOUNDHORN” is painted on the right rear bumper of every commecial vehicle, and is never ignored by rickshaw drivers, unless of course they’re only equipped with a bell.over 7 years ago