Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 13, October 16-31, 2018
The very name conjured up a vision of thugs, rowdies, straggling streets, murders, mayhem and a whole host of horrors in my adolescence. My friends swore up and down that they’d witnessed blood running down the narrow alleys; my teachers warned me never to approach the place and even the movies I saw did nothing to dispel the notion.
Until one evening, sometime in the early 2000s, when I happened to attend a lecture on Madras’s famous murders by Randor Guy – in said Royapuram. Lightning flashed, thunder rumbled and the lights went out as I listened, slack-jawed, as Aalavandhar’s decapitated head was buried on the beach. By the time the lecture ended and I emerged from within the venue (a schoolroom) and into a narrow alley myself – my perception had changed. Suddenly, Royapuram seemed not a nest of thieves, a hive of scum and villainy (so eloquently put by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars) but a quaint, much-maligned place with more soul and stories than I could’ve ever imagined.
I returned home, passing along the Royapuram over-bridge which offers a view of the railway station (built in 1853) on one side, and a stunning panoramic perspective of the Chennai harbour on the other – a harbour which is, quite literally, the nerve-center of the city. And I marvelled that I’d shut my eyes to the beauty of it all, thus far.
Not anymore. Since then, I’ve visited Royapuram dozens of times. The over-bridge remains one of my favourite haunts; the view still riveting.
Details about the miniature: Black and White; Pen and Ink.
Dimensions: Approximately: 3.5″ X 5″.