The Man from Madras Musings has certain fixed routes by which he goes every day and while doing so he never fails to observe what are often referred to as posses of policemen at two locations – one at a garden that contains the residence of a late Chief Minister and the other a consulate belonging to the country that is considered by many to be the Ultimate Stupendous Abode, at least to judge by the number of people queuing up for visas every day.

It is the first that perturbs MMM more. Guarding a living and functioning Chief Minister is understandable. To what purpose is making so many policemen hang around what was the private residence of a late Chief Minister? And it is not as though these policemen and women are standing to attention all the time, making for an impressive display like the guards outside the palace of another and living queen in a distant rain-soaked island. There people pay money to go and stand up close to the guards and take photos as well and that is one of the ways that erstwhile world power shores up its economy and keeps it queen in comfort. Here, in Chennai, on the other hand, these policemen just lounge around and given that they have no shelter from the heat or the (occasional) rain, present a far from impressive spectacle. In any case, MMM wonders as to why the State is paying for what is essentially the guarding of an empty private residence. Surely it is up to those who inherited it/claim to have inherited it/dispute the claims of others to inherit it/fighting to convert it into a memorial so that the people inherit it, to pay and provide that security? In any case, most of those guarding the place appear to be busy sending out phone messages or browsing on their smart phones.

The same applies to guarding the consulate. Imagine spending your entire day perched on a flyover with nothing overhead but a metal sheet and nothing to see but a fairly ordinary-looking consulate and nothing to hear but the roar of traffic. It must be a dead job. It is no wonder that most of the guards on duty are found seated on parapets under the flyover, either looking into their phones or gazing enviously at people who are gadding about in cars/buses/two-wheelers or on foot. There is just one difference between guarding the house and the consulate. MMM is fairly certain that the latter is not protected gratis and so it does generate some revenue for the State.

Either way, MMM wonders if in this era of hi-tech security, standing a posse of not-very-attentive policemen outside a premises is the best way of providing protection.