Friday, January 6, 2017
If you happen to talk about old Madras to someone who was around during the 1960s and 1970s, they would most probably have a story to tell about how they went boating in the Cooum in those days. Heck, I would spin a tale too, about how I used to see the boathouses along the river, with boats tied up, waiting for a good bunch of people to gather before being taken out for a spin. But somehow, I haven't had, or heard, of any boats on the Adyar river.
It has been a very long time since a boat has been seen on any of Chennai's waterways. Looking out from one of the office buildings in MRC Nagar, overlooking the northward curve of the Adyar river, I noticed what seemed to be a right regular ferry service. On the eastern bank, a spit of land almost fords the river. But it still leaves the river too broad (and likely too deep) to walk across, while also being too narrow to contemplate a kind of permanent connecting structure.
The ferry service - more like a skiff, with a couple of planks thrown together and supported by a crossbeam - can handle only 2 or 3 passengers at a time. But hey, the crossing can be done in less than a minute, and so there not going to be many complaints from those waiting!