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Buttermilk booth at Sr Ragavendra Mandapam: Service vs Publicity!
(Friday, 16th May 2008)

When i heard the news about free butter milk pandhal in Raghavendra Mandapam i felt much pleased and proud of thalaivar. Since i am a Chennaiite, i was very eager to drink it at least once and I was waiting for the right opportunity. Though i used to pass Kodambakkam very often, that will be after my working hours - that is late evening. By that time, they would have closed the pandhal. So, i decided to go there during day time and have it - whenever i get an opportunity.

Yesterday i got that chance to go near Liberty when the sun is scorching. So, i drove off my bike after finishing my works to mandapam which is just a few metres away from Liberty theatre.

Ice cold buttermilk
By 12.30 noon i went there. I could see a few people eagerly having the butter milk and most of them were auto drivers. I just had two glasses of ice cold butter milk which was kept in a plastic can with tap on an iron frame. While i was having it, some daily wagers who were doing some digging work for telephones in that road too came there to quench their thirst. And i thought that the pandhal serving the right purpose for right people.

Guess what, the butter milk is not diluted as i said earlier, it is raw buttermilk with good and spicy taste. Inside the main gate of mandapam, at a corner, i could see the butter milk being mixed by some mandapam staff in a big steel vessel (andaa) with ice cubes. I just had a casual chat with security guards there. From it, i could understand that each year during summer they are doing this. You can have it there itself how much ever you could. But you are not allowed to take in bottles or vessels.

Cool water from freezer too
Not only buttermilk distribution - you could also see water taps fixed in the mandapam compound wall where you could get very cool drinking water - inside it they have set up a freezer. While i was returning to my bike, i could listen two electricity board workers speaking, "hey...the buttermilk is really delicious...isn't it...?"

Not for sake
The pandhal was not erected just for sake. It has been set up with a care and it is beautifully decorated. Even in the place where there are taps for drinking water, they have set a sun shade which provides ample shadow to those who rush to drink the water and rest there for a few minutes.

While taking this snap i was having a tough time since i was clicking this secretly. What would i do if i ask permission to click and denied to do so? So, i was clicking this in a hurry before the guards could see me. (Double click to ZOOM the pictures)

Service vs publicity
I could not find even a single Rajini picture anywhere in this place. Bcos thalaivar is doing it for service. (Even this news came to light only when Junior Vikatan(??!!!) told it first, where i picked up and spread to the rest media)

While returning - on the way - i had a chance to see the actor-turned politician party's water pandhal near Vadapalani. I could see his party's big banner and his big picture in the pandhal. But EMPTY POTS. Because they are doing it for publicity.

You can see many such pandhals in city, erected by some political parties. I bet you that if you go there when you are thirst - only empty pots would welcome you. No maintenance at all.

- Sundar

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