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Confounding India

semi-overcast 30 °C

Just when we think we’ve got a handle on this country, everything spins around and we start all over. You can say what the hell you like about India … and it will probably be true. It is, simultaneously: filthy rich and obscenely poor, new and old, grotty and clean, and pretty and ugly. And wherever we look we see signs of arrested development – abandoned partly finished buildings and projects that litter the countryside and clog up the cities like the aftermath of war. The yet-to-be opened overhead Metro in Chennai is a perfect example. This Skytrain promises to whisk millions of passengers across the city in minutes and unclog the congested roads, but work has taken so long that the unfinished stations have been vandalized and abused to the point where they resemble abandoned warehouses; not a pane of glass is intact and no stone has been left unturned in an effort to remove anything of value. The resultant concrete hulks are rapidly disintegrating and it’s difficult to believe that the Metro will ever run. However, the lack of public transport is only a problem for the poor. With a growth rate verging on 10% per annum, India as a nation is racing toward the first world while leaving a huge chunk of its population in the dust. Some three hundred million middle-class and rich Indians have all the trappings of the Jones’s of the West, while hundreds of millions continue to struggle on less than two dollars a day. So, where is all the new-found wealth going? Switzerland and Dubai mainly. Indians are now the major depositors in Swiss banks with holdings of more than 1.6 TRILLION Dollars. No wonder there’s no money left to complete the Metro, fix the roads or pay garbage collectors.
However, on a brighter note, as soon as we decided to leave the rain-sodden east coast for the Malabar Coast of Kerala, the sun came out just long enough for us to visit the 7th Century temples and carvings of Mamallapuram.
These monoliths were all carved into solid granite using primitive tools…
The work must have been extraordinarily hard as these artifacts are real mammoths…
However, it seems that little has changed over the centuries. Just like the Chennai Metro - these temples and statues were never finished!

Posted by Hawkson 05:26 Archived in India

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Amazing temples and sculptures - and there is something to be said for not finishing a project - an air of great potential.

by Janet

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