Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXIX No. 9, August 16-31, 2019
Cake-cutting during one of the Madras Week events with staff of Taj Connemara, S. Muthiah, Vincent D’Souza, Mohan Raman and Sashi Nair.
The Chief would have been happy. During his time, Madras Day had metamorphosed into Madras Week and later Madras Month. This year, in what seems a fitting tribute to his memory, celebrations began in July itself, what with a couple of organisations declaring that they preferred an early start so that they do not clash with other events during the peak of the celebrations in August. That bit of logic is so similar to what some sabhas that observe the Music Season in November itself say in their defence. And so is Madras Week becoming like the December extravaganza? It is still early days but we appear to be well on our way there.
This year too, Madras Musings will have its set of eight talks featuring well-known personalities, at some of the prominent hotels in the city. The other regular celebrants are all there too – the Press Institute, the Madras Literary Society, INTACH, Nizhal, the Madras Local History Group, and so many others. The usual complement of walks, exhibitions, book releases and similar programmes are all there. The question is, is this enough?
One of the criticisms often levelled at the Music Season is that it caters to the same audience and at its peak does not have more than 20,000 people at best at the various venues.
Over hundred programmes, put together by 33 organisations, entities and individuals – that defines Madras Week this year in a nutshell. The Chief, had he been around, would have been delighted to see this kind of a response. And the programmes are for all age groups, and no, we are not just indulging in nostalgia. Much of it celebrates the Chennai of here and now and carefully also brings to light areas for improvement.
IPS officer V.R. Lakshminarayanan passed away recently. Joining the service in 1951, he rose to become the DGP of the State in 1985, appointed to the post by M.G. Ramachandran from his hospital bed in New York. It was the pinnacle of a glittering and eventful career at both the State and National levels. V.R. Lakshminarayanan’s memoirs ‘Appointments and Disappointments’ is a fascinating account of his life in the service.
He hailed from a family of lawyers. His father Rama Ayyar had a princely and extensive practice that covered Malabar, the South Canara Districts and Mysore State. Rama Ayyar’s eldest son V.R. Krishna Iyer joined him in practice in 1937 and was on his way to becoming one of the country’s finest legal minds.
The first time I attempted to find Chepauk Palace, my driver and I drove in endless circles around Victoria Hostel Road, finally coming to a stop behind a dignified red-brick structure. “Madam, I asked everyone, and this is the palace,” my driver informed me, flinging out his hand with a flourish.
In front of my dismayed eyes stretched a long clothesline, hung with underwear.
(sorry Edward Elliots Road)