I spent my last six years in Chennai. Most of the days, its just office and home. Whenever there was a chance I left the city to feel fresh air in mountains and wilderness. I thought there was no place in the city where you can enjoy nice sunrise with lot of greenery around and fresh air.I am not a big fan of beaches.
As a part of Chennai Bloggers Club initiative, I went to Elphinstone Bridge along with Clement and his lovely family this Sunday Morning. We had our doubts as Elphinstone bridge pointed to both Broken bridge in Besant Nagar as well as the bridge that is adjacent to Thiru V K bridge of Adyar. The morning was too good, with mist and temperature just above 20 degrees.
It was only after few minutes of Sunrise, the Adyar river was golden in colour. For a moment we forgot all the stench that we were standing in amazed by the scene. I never thought I would see such a scene in Chennai City. There were stairs in both sides of the bridge. We tried to climb the stairs in Malar Hospital side. Firstly we were attacked by nauseating and repulsive smell of human waste and flower wastes dumped by the flower vendors nearby. Secondly the stairs led to slabs instead of a steady platform, making it somewhat impossible to use it. We walked through the bridge to reach the other side. There was one more photographer happily clicking so we thought there should be some way to climb up.
The pathway to the stairs is somewhat ok but we can see that people use this as urinating place in nights. We saw a man in his tracksuits and paper in hand got down to the bank of the river, and disappeared between the bushes to answer the nature’s call. It was surprising because the other side of bridge had a pay and use toilet and its relatively less distance to cover. May be he is so worried about that 3 Rs or he liked to do it in natural way/view.
This is the view that greeted us in the morning. Just imagine this scene without the wastes below and replace it with a lawn or grass. How happy would that father and child would have been? The river was stinky enough. We walked up the bridge. The bridge is being used at nights by some people for boozing and sleeping. There was a pillow and one can see a lot of empty alcohol bottles.
One thing you cannot miss when you climb the stairs is the row of toilets in the bridge. Yes, toilets were built and it was used as public toilets. I wonder who came up with this wonderful idea. Elphinstone Bridge is said to be the only bridge that connected Adyar with other places. And then came Thiru Vi Ka bridge. I think they have taken this “public” toilet thing so literally.
If you excuse the stench, then this is THE best view of sunrise one could get in Chennai. The sea breeze caressing you in the morning and you see lot of mangrove kind of trees in both sides of the river with some swamps in the middle of the river. The morning birds in their uniform flight whizzes past you which puts a smile on your face for no reason.
Right now this bridge is not advisable to use for kids and old people because the bridge has no railings. It is difficult to fish people out of Adyar river. So people can better avoid it. It reminded me of the bridges seen in movies like “Before Sunrise” where artists creating impressions of the scene, theatre artists rehearsing and a group of morning walkers discussing news and happenings. *Sigh..* How good it would be if someone has such vision to make this beautiful. I wonder how many people who crossed Thiru V K bridge that day stopped to see the magnificent sunrise we witnessed. The whether was extra ordinarily merciful on us so we spent considerable amount of time there.
The bridge would be of very helpful for bird watchers, photographers and the likes. If there is enough security, this bridge can be very well used for stargazing at night. I believe it would be more beautiful at night. Like Mylapore festival, if there is going to be any festival in Adyar, then this is one place which cannot be missed to conduct events.
The meet ended with wonderful coffee brought by Divya Clement at Broken Bridge, Besant Nagar. This place would be excellent for bird watching I believe. I know nothing about the birds but still the sight was good and I came to know from this bridge we can see where the river meets the sea.
Few years before, in the movie Rhythm, Vairamuthu compared rivers with women. I was thinking about that song when I was standing on the bridge watching the river. So many people and plants make use of the river. It makes the land flourish wherever it goes. People try hard to spoilt it and after continued effort they succeed. After than, oblivious to the fact that they are the reason for the stench the complain the river itself. But the river cares none and reaches its destiny day in and day out. We became a tribe who don’t give due credit to women and rivers in the nation.
Hope things change in near future.
Few more pics for your viewing pleasure from the Bridge