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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Where have all the public places gone? And can we think of putting them back?

    Several years ago, I had visited several temples in various villages of Tamil Nadu. Wherever I went, sometimes after 6 PM, the local people would ask me to take rest in the front portion of their houses, called "thinnai" in Tamil. This was a superb raised platform, as high as three and a half feet from the ground level, perfectly cemented. Though I was a total stranger, I was offered dinner and was shown the way to the rest room and made very comfortable. And of course, the concern and affection shown in villages was superb.

    Even today, such places are common in villages. In fact, there are huge banyan trees, and a huge cemented platform surrounding the tree, or in the vicinity of such a huge tree, where all village elders group together to discuss any small issue affecting them. The caring and sharing is still there, though many new modern houses have even come up in what were called "agraharams", the traditional residential townships of Brahmins.

    Today, we do not have a single place like this in most bus stations, where the poor or those who cannot afford the cost of hotel accommodation, can rest a while or stay overnight and then go back to their places. Of course, the parks do have some benches where people do sleep in the afternoons, and will be woken up by the watchmen in the evening and also thrown out before PM.

    Can we think of such places, even if they come up at some places, some ten kilometers from the main city? In Hyderabad, Chennai or Bangalore, more so, near temples or where there is huge greenery, so that the summer months will not be a torture for tourists?

    Do members know of such places? Do we have any scope of getting these places back, in some form in the cities and towns?
  • #637030
    In coastal Andhra Pradesh in many villages we see such places even these days. The Panchayat buildings will have one or two rooms and there will be a washroom also in that. If any new person comes to that village for a specific purpose and he has to stay overnight there, the president of the village may allow him to stay there. There are people who are offer food for the strangers in these villages. banyan trees with a huge cemented platform around the trees are seen in some villages.
    I don't know any such places either Hyderabad or Chennai. But there are guest houses in some parts of the cities where you will get rooms for a very cheap rate and free food. In almost all pilgrim centres you will find these guest hoses where you can stay overnight.

    always confident

  • #637032
    My parents were still there when I grown up. I just went there observing my childhood days along with the old buildings of my school & the surroundings. It seemed to be that only residue left & rest has become a history. Many of the buildings are abandoned because of weak structure being in the junction of collapsing. Although, I never had thought of this but I am witnessing this.

    This gives me a feeling of time that al last nothing remains.

  • #637069
    This common places are vanishing everywhere. As mentioned by the author there were such common places in several houses in earlier days, especially in middle class families. In certain houses there will be small building with an entry path through the centre. On both sides of the way there will be raised portions which will be used as seats or even for resting with a short time nap. Some times a pot made of clay or wood will be there with water inside. The passers by can drink water freely from that. These people of that days took the needs of the public as theirs.

    Again, during those days, temple ponds and raised round seating places around a large banian tree near temples are common meeting places . These places were used as resting places too. We are loosing such places because of urbanisation and the changes in people's attitude.


  • #637074
    Good thread from the author. In Tamil Nadu even today the modern Independent homes do have a raised platform in front of the house in either side of the entrance which we in Tamil call thinnai and that would facilitate the strangers, passerby to take rest and go. And during summer, the house holds used the thinnai for sleeping during nights and in the day it is also used for drying things. In those days when the strangers comes to the place, he is offered with rest and also food and also asked to sleep for a while. Now being summer when people come walking searching for a address , such thinnai rest place would give them the chance to rest for a while. But given the apartment culture in the cities, people does not know the meaning and importance of thinnai and thus the author has done nice thing to bring this thread for awareness.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #637083
    AB Shivakumar,
    Interesting thread. Where have all the public places gone? And can we think of putting them back?
    I don't think that we can put all of them back again.
    If you look into the past, we feel, people experienced life much as we do now.
    We have to think that what people from the future think about our time.

  • #637588
    The need for space is so much at a premium that in major metros parks and common spaces like playgrounds are all slolwy used for local political youth club buildings, government canteens and unauthorised temples.

    I don't think we can put them back but we can unite and fight to save what is a precious lung space in the city so that our future generations can enjoy it.

    Mr. B.Muthuram, is referred to as lake whisperer of Bangalore for rejuvenating a 36 acre Kylasanahalli lake bed that was used as dumping ground. It needs a driving force in the form of a group of like minded people to get such things done for the benefit of others.

    In Bangalore, the prominent parks and water bodies (Yelahanka puttenahalli lake, Sankey tank,) have people's association that monitor the situation and safe guard them. Such examples can be replicated in other metros too.

  • #637607
    In those good old days, people had faith and trusted the visitors. In these days, we all have lost our faith and trust. The world is filled with harmful elements. Everyone is afraid of permitting a stranger in their thinnai. So, modern houses have no such thinnai. However, in my village house, I have constructed a thinnai where four people can rest and sleep.
    No life without Sun

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