The CMRL is supposedly a very ambitious project that will change the landscape of SINGARA CHENNAI forever. But, even before the train has chugged [I can't help but use the word chug for an article about rail] its way into the city, it's changing the landscape, and not only that, but the minds of the people as well. So as the Metro rail will, in the near future, be helping people go about their daily work [just as the Suburban and MRTS are doing already] its construction works are helping people in a more subtle and unexpected way. This is how...
Honey, I found the 1st gear!!
The most important thing that the Metro Rail has taught me is the importance of the first gear in my vehicle.
If it were Mumbai [or to some extent, Bangalore] I'd have known it better. But being in Chennai, the first gear is one of the most forgotten things [after rains/monsoon, winter and electricity]. Only when you go on a trip to some other cities in India, do we see rains and electricity.
So, as the Metro Rail construction work started, traffic speed on the roads is restricted to 5 kmph [even an Ambassador runs faster than that]. So, first gear becomes visible to the human eye.
Diplomatic car drivers, therefore, use the first gear to travel within the city, while speed thirsty motor maniacs ignore the first gear and also, ignore the whole vehicle and start walking, as their feet take them faster to their destinations than their cars ever can.
We need change
When a little man, exhibits his mischievous self by showing to the world, some acts of what he thinks is bravery, his parents go "This is as far as it goes! You must change your ways, boy!!"
That is exactly what the Metro Rail tells us too… Change your ways.
For, because of the raising of gigantic pillars most roads have been blocked and the rest been turned into one-ways, you can not travel the path you took for your to-journey, for your return journey.
And the beauty of it is that, all the roads that have been changed to one-ways have been so accurately done so, keeping in mind that, no matter who you are, where you're from, what your destination is, your return journey will always be twice as long as your onward one, even if it means just moving the car you parked in front of the gate to your garage.
If you haven't heard me right, do it now… Change your ways!
Take it slow
Ever wondered how they make those classy Hollywood movies, where there is a crook on the loose and cops chase him down in a car?
The crook is behind the wheels of a Mercedes he just hijacked. Then there are sirens and the red-blue lighted cop cars come to the hot pursuit of the vehicle. The culprit pokes his head out of the window and blasts 2 shots from his magnum. 2 cops die. Then, right from the middle of nowhere comes one of these two- Bruce Willis or Spiderman.
The hero dodges all the bullets that the thief shoots [Spiderman serpentines with his web, and Bruce Willis, well.. He just crouches]. And then the crook's ammo goes empty. The hero jumps right onto [where else?] the hood of the car, breaks the entire windshield with his bare fists and pulls out the bandit. All this, while the car is running on top gear. How do you suppose this is possible? Or much better, how do you suppose this is possible for you to see?
If your answer is high speed slo-mo cameras, you're fantastic. But in reality, there is a simpler solution. Shoot the bloody scenes in Chennai! With the metro being built, everything actually goes slo-mo, so you can save on the camera costs. Also, since the process is ridiculously slow, you can shoot the things and even live-stream it in slo-mo. In fact,it's slower than BSNL 3G!! [No offence, though].
Close, Closer, Closest
Bringing people closer together is one thing easier said than done. Many have claimed to have been doing that but none so visibly successful as the Metro Rail.
With the Metro, people think, as many people use the service, a lot of people will be travelling together, and so, as long as the destinations are many, one can see a lot of closeness among people. But the thing is, the cost of the metro journey from one point to another is so high [MTC fare hike not taken into account] that the masses actually avoid using it. Again, the only people who will be able to use the air-conditioned metro rail are the ones who already own air-conditioned sedans.
Then how does the metro bring people together, you ask? We go back to the same traffic jams we've been talking about so far. With the roads becoming half as wide, the vehicular population becoming twice as many, the traffic becomes 4 times as heavy. And where do they all go? That's right- to the roads! So, we now have 8 persons [Yeah, I know you think it's 4; but human population also increases boss] to share the space that was previously designated for one. And voila! Closeness!!
Who said "Trees give us shade?"
The metro tracks [the overhead part of it] gives more shade than a tree can ever give in its life. Ashoka the Great, would have been twice as great as he is today, if he had just built Metro Rails than to have planted trees.
The other impact of the Metro, and possibly the one most advantageous to the general populace is the ease with which you can find where you are.
GPRS, GPS and even 3G can be useless when you don't know where you are in Chennai, but when you say "I'm in this part of the Metro rail works", "I'm near this broken segment of the metro tracks", "I'm in this place of the city where the MTC-Suburban-MRTS-Metro-Road-People converge", people will easily track you down to the last digit of the latitude and longitude you're in.
This way, you can never get lost. Even if you do, just ask the passersby for directions to the nearest CMRL construction site and walk all the way along, instead of asking directions to your own home. This in fact is easier, and you have a higher chance of ending up at the metro construction site, than at your home.
And as they say, ALL ROADS LEAD TO THE METRO!