What is in a ‘Street name’?

For Shakespeare it was easy to write ‘what is in a name’ in Romeo and Juliet.

But when the name enters into the whirlpool of politics, it gets different hues.

Once the entire stretch from the present day Adyar signal to SRP Tools factory and beyond the stretch to Muthukkad was known as Lattice Bridge Road as the bridge made out of  criss- crossing wooden rafters across the erstwhile Buckingham Canal near Thiruvanmiyur  were known as lattice and the name was given by the British era. The bridge lasted up to 1995 and later converted into cement concrete to bear the heavy traffic. But the name remained as solid as a rock.

Then a fight came in renaming the road. Three names came up. The road was divided into three sections. Adyar Signal to Adyar Depot with the road name Dr Muthulakshmi Road, then the next stretch up to Thiruvanmiyur Signal as Kalki Krishnamoorthy Road and the balance portion was retained as LB Road. What is the use? Even today the name is LB Road only for almost all and also found in almost all Name boards of banks and commercial establishments. Why? A new rule should be brought to change the boards, otherwise? It should not happen like tarring the unwanted language that erased the needed one written underneath.

Whatever we do in our country by changing names of states and districts is only to create expense in the country in changing the letter pads of government establishments and nothing else.

Call a cat chitto or mitto; it will still mew only in its sound from its vocal cords.

What a lot of paraphernalia goes along with changing the name board. Glittering letters till it is opened up by sliding the velvet curtain by a dignitary, the security to protect him or her from all citizens, few flowers to throw and few pyrotechnics. Last but not least, a lot of ‘yes’ men to accompany the coterie. A beeline of cars and media to boast will follow them.

For the past few days the preparation to clean up and make it pretty gritty and glittery would have swallowed an important medium of exchange. After few days, the glitter on the board fades; few roadside dwellers will take possession of the place nearby and dry their wet clothes over it. If many such street corner names get a change with the help of celebrities, we can make a clean Chennai at least for few days.

See the condition of the stainless framed, blue background and white letters of many streets. The idea of making a ‘Clean Chennai” is welcome, but it should have been thought of whether the commonest of the common man is prepared to accept it in his heart, when even the toilet in the International air terminals are leaking and stinking. The paint or the sticker has peeled off giving a blank look. Already bit notices and advertisement posters and even the ‘love sign’ and names of lovers have attacked them apart from the pillar boxes of BSNL and TAGEDECO boxes. The bizarre sex disorder ads are found on them as they seem to be more ‘communicable’,  ‘electrifying’ and ‘shocking’ than other ads. Some are holding the 3G and 4G ads as if the speed is more than the speed of light! (Not in feeding the data but for feeding the ‘Bata’.  Ideal place and is a free for all place for all activities. Don’t blame the common man only.

Earlier also name changes occurred to remove the caste and religion names from street names. Later it disappeared. There was a humorous write up in one magazine about this.

There was a street named ’Vandikkaaran Pettai Theru’. A panel of judges started probing the caste and religion. They traced the archives, but failed. The mandatory order to remove some part of it came from above and it has to be followed. If ‘theru’ is removed, it won’t look nice and won’t make sense. The name ‘pettai’ is nothing but a colony. So no use in removing it. The name ‘Vandikkaaran’ came into existence from the British days as the street was occupied by 10 or 15 horse carts and stable. Finally it was decided to remove the first two parts as there were no such carts in the vicinity and retain the last part ’theru’. It remained as “Theru’ with its English counterpart ‘street’ as there was a lot of space left out.

One school boy standing nearby suggested to rewrite the name in the reverse order so that it will be thought as a foreign name and even suggested to fix a mirror opposite so that Indians can still read it as original.

What is the use in changing the name? What will happen to the address in voter ID, Adhaar ID, Ration Card ID of the residents? Will they have to stand in queue for centuries to get their new ID.? Will the respective authorities come to their residence and change all these in a ‘jiffy’ as we claim that we are in the e era.                                           Nay, this old name will remain as a strong prop to this new name as ‘SUMAITHAANGI’ just like English language will remain in India till the last citizen say ‘no’ to it.

Apply  the Vibhoothi or (ash) or kumkum on the elephant’s forehead. It will still remain as elephant only. What it needs is only timely food. Just like that a street needs cleanliness,that’s all. A name is just a postal address.In my college there was a boy named ‘ONE’.It is true.


By Sundareswaran  Date:  20th Aug 2015

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