Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 17, December 16-31, 2018
More than two years ago, I embarked on a quest to look for the Madras Literary Society. I’d read a lot about this striking jewel of British Raj architecture, its amazing store of books and desperately wanted to visit it – but aside from knowing that it was somewhere within the DPI Complex on College Road, Nungambakkam, I had no clue as to its exact whereabouts.
Determined to zero in on it somehow, I trudged through the sprawling campus one hot, humid afternoon, and stumbled upon another beautiful structure – graceful against the leafy sky, the rich, red colours of its walls gleaming in the sunlight. I couldn’t take my eyes off the white windows and gently curving outer walls; I knew in a second that it had to be an important landmark, even if it bore the legend of “Teacher’s Training Centre,” (or so I remember) at that time.
Later, research proved me right: the building I’d fallen in love with was one of the old edifices originally part of the College of Fort St George where the “Presidency’s Civilians were taught local languages and the art of administration during a two-year studentship” – Madras that is Chennai (by S. Muthiah). It was established in 1812 and though closed in 1854, now plays host to the Directorate of Public Education offices, among others.
I immediately determined that a miniature of this splendid building had to be in colour, and reflective of its richness (both architectural and otherwise). It seemed to me that a woman working close by, in a bright green saree, the rubble and the windows taken apart would prove a foil to the building’s timeless elegance – and so, here it is.
PS: I did end up finding the Madras Literary Society – but that’s another, amazing story entirely.
Description: 3.5″ by 5″ approximately
Medium: Steadtler Fineliners, colour.