It has been quite a while since the Man from Madras Musings sauntered down the sidewalk by the Marina. Now, circumstances have so arranged themselves that he can do that on practically any day he wants and MMM has begun to do just that, enjoying himself thoroughly in the process. What a fine prospect the beach is, to be sure, where everything pleases but only man is vile.
Mind you, it is not just fellow humankind that MMM has complaints about. The bovine population is also rather high. MMM does not dispute their right to the footpath either, and would be the first person to give right of way. It is only when they begin walking behind MMM that he becomes all nervous and has a tendency of speeding up. Unlike most other people, MMM can take any number of stray dogs in his stride. He looks upon them as the idle wind which he respects not, as the poet someone or the other said. But when it comes to cows, and more importantly buffaloes and bulls, he is all caution. Unlike dogs, they do not bark or give any prior warning as to when they propose to charge. And there is no way of predicting why they charge either. Like the Jallikattu protests, they just happen.
Another objection that MMM has to the bovine is their habit of doing their ablutions (as they are referred to in old Chennaispeak) out in the open and leaving their output behind on the footpath. What with the Marina being lined with polished granite, the presence of dung makes for deadly consequences. But here again, MMM will forgive the bovine and for that matter, the canine, the caprine and the equine, all of whom apparently view the Marina as their favourite toilet spot. But what excuse does humankind have to add to the collection of excrement especially when such large public latrines have been built on the sands for it to literally cavort in?
Unlike the humans on the beach however, the cattle have a great traffic sense and much discipline. Each morning, having completed their business on the sands or on the sidewalk, they cross the beach road in single file. MMM is informed that they do collide frequently, especially when it is dark, with pedestrians and cyclists, but MMM would blame the two-legged rather than the four for such incidents.
And then what of the avian variety? Feeding pigeons appears to have become more a menace than an act of kindness. How then is MMM to explain the phenomenon of dozens of men and women, all of a certain regulation outsize, wheezing down the walkway laden with bags of grain? They scatter these left, right and centre and MMM may not be wrong in assuming that the Marina has more leftover grain on it than sand. The birds descend in vast clouds and fly around repeatedly. All very pretty no doubt. We have not yet had an incident of a pack of birds making away with a human but then you can never put it past these winged creatures. Remember the old tale when they hoodwinked a hunter by flying away with his net?