Chennai Journal
Sunday, September 04, 2005
A World Away
The U.S. seemed very far away this week, with the disintegration of New Orleans filling both the T.V. and print news here as elsewhere around the world. My relatives are safe, though my 92 year old aunt refused to leave her home (about 60 miles outside New Orleans) until the extended power outage finally forced the situation. Fortunately, my dad (her younger brother) is not aware enough to understand that she was in danger and to worry. A great American city lies in ruins. My first visit to New Orleans was when I was only 19 years old---my aunt took me there when I visited her for a week on a college break. Very sad---and suffering and chaos that somehow we are used to having occur outside our borders, but not within them.

Last week I visited Hyderabad, a medium sized city about an hour's flight north of Chennai. Like Chennai and Bangalore, it is a growing center for IT and business process outsourcing. I was impressed with the city primarily because it was much cleaner than Chennai--signs everywhere exhorting people to have pride and keep it clean, which evidently are working. Also the roads seemed more sensible and less congested. Not sure why Chennai--where garbage and debris are seen on every street--can't take a page from this book.

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