Right before Chennai sees in its earliest light, hawkers hasten to secure a spot at the aisles with their ragbag of wares of all shapes and sizes. Hauling in the day’s catch, droves of tricycles swerve across the packed arena, passing the baton to deft auctioneers who will put on a show with skilful yodelling.
Over at the only fishing harbour in the city, Kasimedu is bizarre and magnificent in equal measure. Anybody new to this place can instantly get overwhelmed by the dizzying load of sights and sounds, not to mention the unmistakable pungent smell of fish. Yet, the place is indefinitely plagued by an influx of customers who throng the fish market by the thousands. Equally many are the number of trawlers that dock at the wharf at any given time, serviced by hundreds of kattumarams that ply between the trawlers and the shore fetching fishes and crustaceans in plastic baskets.
Even during the recent deluge that literally sank most of the city, things carried on like clockwork here. And we can see why: A microcosm of India, really, Kasimedu is an ecosystem of sorts where various subsets of people mutually depend on one another. Be it the fishermen in the docked trawlers who pile the never-ending stream of baskets with fish to pass on to fellow fisherfolk who help in getting those baskets to the shore using rented kattumarams, the daily wage labourers who then work in tandem to deliver the commodities to the wholesale dealers, or the hawkers who complete the cycle by disposing of the items to seafood lovers, no group can function without the other.
This unassuming bond is what makes the harbour and its environs tick. It ticked my box too.
Here’s a visual ode to a place that I love as much as I hate the smell of it.
In this day and age where a person’s success is measured by his bank balance, one can’t help but admire Giridhar’s resolve to invest all his time and energy into his lifelong passion: distance running. Giridhar “Giri” Balasubramanian, who’s been running full-time for more than a year now, broke his 10K PR recently. He is all set to take on bigger athletes at one of India’s biggest races, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, in November.
“…I believe most people love their pets because they are always there no matter what. They do not judge, they do not abandon you, they become something in your life that is static and that can be relied on. Even as a lizard, Mars is without a doubt my best companion. He has taught me to not give up hope even when the odds are not in your favor. He has provoked me to work exclusively with exotic animals as a future veterinarian, in hopes to educate others about the special needs of animals such as himself.”
“When Louie was one year old he developed bone deposits in his jaw causing it to fuse shut and making it very difficult for him to eat. This rare, noncancerous excess bone growth called Craniomandibular osteopathy was a serious problem, and enough for his owners to elect euthanasia. My friend and fellow classmate Nicole Berlin heard about Louie from another student and we decided to see if we could save him…”
“The first time I ever saw a ferret I was at a summer school class, when I was 12, about different “critters” or something like that. Everyone else was excited about the rabbits or the fast hamsters, but I was fascinated by this slinky and sleepy animal in the cage … Gandalf was the first pet I ever had. Having him in my life has definitely changed it for the better. Whenever I am lonely or sad I have this warm living teddy bear to snuggle with.”