Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pudupet: The Auto Nagar of Chennai

You can buy all parts of a maruti car or Hero Honda bike, assemble them there itself and drive it away at a very low cost. When quizzed, what is special about Pudupet?, this was the answer from K Abdul Manaf, hailing from Alandur. Though seems to be quite exaggerated, one could find it is true on a whistle tour through the streets of Pudupet.

Pudupet, Chennai's exclusive automobile market, which is around hundred years old, is a one-stop destination for A to Z of two wheeler and four wheeler spare parts. Whether it be the parts of a latest imported car or the original spare parts for restoring vintage and classic cars or bikes, Pudupet will be the wisest choice.

Pudupet market comprises of seven streets, such as Adithnar Salai(Harris Road), Venkatachala Naickern Street, Venkatachala Achari Street, Chandrabanu Street, Nagappa Mudali Street, Kancheepuram Pachiappa Mudali Street, South Coovum Road and West Coovum Road.

For automobile crazys, walking through the lanes of Pudupet is a joyous experience. Cars and bikes stripped down to their shell, engine heads open and mechanics peering over them and tinkering away the body shells and shops diplaying both new and second hand body parts, Pudupet is seems to be teeming all the time.

S Dilip, a Plus Two student from Ambattur, don't mind to ride all the way from Ambattur to buy a new horn or change the tail lamb of his `dressed up' Hero Honda bike. "Pudupet is synonymous with two wheeler spare parts in the City,'' Says S Dilip and MF Hameem. "I often visit here to by accessories for my bike and compared to the other parts of the city, it is cheapest here,'' adds Dilip.

Special areas for spare parts of cars, bikes are here in Pudupet. Exclusive areas for horns, wheel cups, head and tail lamps, seat covers and other extra fittings offer customers plenty to choose.

Karthik, who was in search of some spare parts for his old bike since the morming with his friends, was enough lucky to get the right stuff. "It is very difficult to get the spares of bikes that are not available in fresh market and Pudupet market is the only choice for me,'' says Karthik showing the stuffs he procurred after a long search.

The Motor Vehicle Spare Parts Traders Association is instrumental in stremlining the markert. The second hand spares available here are procured from vehicles met with accidents or from dealers who sell these spares by weight and there is no flow of parts from stolen vehicles, says one dealer.

They are at least 50 to 60 percent cheaper compared to other shops in the city, adds another dealer. "Earlier, the market had a stigma, but now we make sure that no parts from stolen vehicles are sold here,'' says D Kandhasami, president of the traders association.

But however, the market seems to be lost his past glory. "Now the business is very dull as many prefer new vehicles instead of repairing their old ones,'' says A Nizam, who is working in a second hand spare parts shop in Venkatachala Naicken street. "But those who are crazy with their old, vintage or classic bikes, definitely will approach us,'' he adds.

What makes the Pudupet market unique is the availability of any parts of any vehicle. Original spare parts of Benz, Morris Minor, Playmouth, Dodge are available in plenty. Accessories for old cars like Standard 10 or Standard Herald, production of which ceased ago, are still available here.

The clientele of spare parts in Pudupet market is not restricted to the city. Customers are even from out side the country. "We had some customers from Malyasia, Singapore and Sri Lanka also,'' says MD Rizwan, who sells four wheeler spare parts at Harris Road.

With exclusive shops for spare parts and mechanics for Royal Enfield bikes and other vintage models, and shops for alteration works of vehicles, the Pudupet is a place that one automobile fanatic don't want to miss.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Express yourselves through graffiti

“Before you love a girl, look into her eyes and you will see the graves of many boys there.” Wondering who is the philosopher? This is one of the many graffiti messages seen in suburban trains in the city.

`Express yourself' seems to be the buzzword of today’s youth, and how they express themselves is what matters. White spaces inside trains, buses, public toilets and even trunks of trees are billboards to express their feelings.

Graffiti, the act (or art?) of posting messages in public places still a common affair in the city. The most common type is scribbling of names and love names. Public telephone booth operators are the worst affected of this practice. “Though not done intentionally, by the time a person finishes a phone call, be may have scratched on the wall using a pen or a key,” says a PCO operator in the city.

Bathroom graffiti, also known as Latrinalia, is a different act altogether tending more towards the obscene than the artistic, including sexual propositions, vulgar insults, toilet humour and even pornography. “It is a rather psychological problem and psychologists pen it down as the expression of sexual dissatisfaction or suppressed feelings,” says Junaid Ahmed, a research scholar from Madras University.

“We are aware of this practice which is now rampant in suburban trains, especially on the Tambaram – beach route,” says S Gopinath, a senior publicity inspector with the Railway department. “Since it is not easy to trace them, no legal actions cannot be taken. The only measure is to periodically erase or paint them,” says Gopinath.

Situational graffiti is distorting a public message to create humour. For example, changing “To Let, Contact...” to Toilet, Contact...”. A shortage of water and the heavy dust that forms a layer over stationary objects provide vehicle graffiti lovers with the canvas they require. Vehicles sporting “Also available in white” or “Wash me” are a common sight.

Among adolescents, challenge graffiti marks the successful completion of a difficult or distant task. The name of an individual or a gang atop the clock tower or a mountain is an exercise in self-assertion.

The most common and long existing type of graffiti, is the caving names or messages on trees. Poster graffiti, political graffiti, online graffiti, drunk shaming... the list goes on and as long as public space exists, so will graffiti,


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