The state of Tamil Nadu has a strong political culture. Jayalalithaa's performance, Stalin's campaign, Karunanidhi's statements and possible political coalitions are hotly being discussed over the morning coffee or afternoon tea. But some restaurants in Chennai seem to have started getting uneasy about open political discussions on their tables, and have even put up signs requesting patrons not to indulge in them.
Six months ago, the Adyar Ananda Bhavan in Perambur came up with the new rule of not allowing customers to talk about politics. Soon after, other branches of Adyar Ananda Bhavan also put up sing-boards not allowing customers to talk about politics inside the restaurants. (Spotted here in TNIE first)
Amit Shareef, Assistant Manager of Adyar Ananda Bhavan at Perambur says, âWe do not allow customers to talk about politics here because they will sit in large groups and discuss about politics for hours which is not good for our business.â
âMany times, families get disturbed because of all the long talks and they even try to involve other customers sitting on the next table into the conversation. Nowadays, if anyone sits and talks for a longer time, they are told to leave the restaurant,â Amit Shareef says.
Most of the people who engage in political conversations are related to political parties or to real estate industry, says Amit.
Hotel Suprabha, a 49-year-old restaurant at Shenoy Nagar has different reasons for not allowing the customers to talk about politics in their restaurant.
Krishnankutty, a staffer at Hotel Suprabha says that different customers support different parties and we as a restaurant do not want people to know that we support one particular party and lessen our business.
Hotel Suprabha puts up board signs outside their restaurant during the election seasons. He adds, âMost of the food-joints put up the board signs saying âtalking about politics is not allowedâ only at the election time.â
He added that at times discussions about politics ends in fights inside the shops.
Other than Adyar Ananda Bhavan and Hotel Suprabha, many small tea shops in the city also do not allow talking about politics in their shops.
Raju, a tea seller at Shenoy Nagar says, âWe have very little space inside the shops and if people start talking about politics here, how will we run our business?â
The customers of the restaurants claim that very few people go to food-joints and discuss about politics.
Rajendran, an auto-driver in the Anna Nagar says that, everyone knows about what is happening in politics so, they do not need to meet up in large groups and discuss about it like in the old days.
Ramaiah M, a customer at Hotel Suprabha says that most of the people do not come to restaurants to discuss about politics nowadays.
As assembly elections get closer, more restaurants will put up sign-boards disallowing customers from discussing politics. But the culture of discussing political issues threadbare will remain.