Grandma's Tales

February 13, 2007

Want to save Elliot’s beach?

Filed under: Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:09 pm

One of the things I fail to understand in life is why people want to build structures to “beautify” a place. Especially beaches. To me keeping a place absolutely clean, litter-free, is keeping it beautiful. Fewer the structures, all those tasteless brick squares, the better. A grove of shady trees, grass underfoot, a river gurgling by, and a hazy mountain in the distance, that’s “beauty” for me. What is it for you?
A beach is beautiful because it has sand. It has a walkable waterfront. From a distance you can see the frothing or calm water, see its colour change with the season, watch the distant ships. You enjoy the breeze. I don’t know how anyone can make the beach beautiful or “convenient” for the elderly by adding concrete structures to the sand.
But that’s exactly what the local body officials want to do to Elliot’s beach. They want to erect a walkway across to the water and add an auditorium to the “plain” sand between the promenade and the sea.
Elliot’s beach is to the south of Chennai and is frequented by a lot of elderly people living in the neighbourhood. Youngsters do walk in but that’s mostly when the colleges are closed or at the end of the month when the cash runs out. I don’t think the elderly for whom the walkway is being planned were ever consulted about the project. I am one of those. I’ll bet my last penny that none of us will ever approve. We are not looking for a “convenient” place. We are looking for a beach.
Mr. Satyanarayanan, who runs this unique association Friends of the Beach is naturally agitated. His organisation is solely responsible for the cleanliness of the beach. Early morning walkers know that a group of women descend on the seashore to pick up the debris of the previous night’s revelry. Without their regular clean-up job, the beach would have long become a garbage dump. And FOB finds the funds and manpower to organise the cleaning-up. FOB also trains volunteers to be lifeguards. Since the arrival of these guards, there have been no “untoward” incidents involving the waves.

Is Mr. Satyanarayanan doing anything about it? You bet. Continued…

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