Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 2, May 1-15, 2018
The Man from Madras Musings has often been accused of being cheeky in this column, but whatever fun he has got out of it has been at the expense of his cheeks alone and not anyone else’s. Which is why the recent news item and what followed thereafter concerning the Governor and the Journalist made MMM sit up and take notice. The incumbent of that high office has since explained it all saying he did it in an avuncular, and not amorous, fashion. The lady has been gracious enough to accept the apology and not let the worm i’the bud feed on her damask cheek, as Shakespeare put it so well. But others have been up in arms demanding the Governor’s resignation. To MMM, however, it appears that His Excellency is in here for a long haul and is as snug as a bug in a rug. Others can protest till they are blue in the face.
What made the old man do it is what puzzled MMM. After all, you don’t go patting any random person’s cheek no matter how grandfatherly you felt. And then it all came to MMM – it was the miasma of the office that made him do it. Just look back at the post of Governor of Madras and you will know.
Take Francis Day, the first incumbent (all right, Chief – he was not Governor but something else) was known for his successes with the opposite sex. And when he went, the woman he left behind was handed over to Greenhill, who in the fullness of time became Governor himself. Thereafter we had Elihu Yale, of whom the less said the better. Suffice it to say that many women of Madras went about claiming to be Mrs. Yale, while the real holder of that title retired to England in high dudgeon. Hastings had his Marian and he was not even married to her. What is more, there was even a Mr. Marian with an unpronounceable German name (MMM is fairly certain it had a Von to it) alongside. As for Connemara, what can MMM say other than that he was perhaps more sinned against than sinning but that is not what the jury and the Judges believed. He (Connemara, not MMM) had to resign under a cloud, and all because he (Connemara and not MMM) took a great shine for a niece who was also married to his aide-de-camp. In MMM’s view, being a fond uncle, as also doting grandfather with long hands, can be dangerous.
Closer to our times, let MMM remind readers of the widower Governor who came to Madras and fell head over heels in love with a prominent social worker. He followed her about like a lamb, but was disappointed when the lady married someone else, en secondes noces as the expression is. But that did not in any way sour his friendship with ye olde social worker and he still came to all her events and was a pillar of support. And in very recent times, we have had at least one episode of where the holder of the highest elected office in our State accused the Governor of misbehaving with her.
It is all in the air. With so much having happened in the past in that historic office, there must have been an unseen force, most likely ghosts of Governors past, that made the Governor, who had probably just lifted his hand to scratch his cheek, extend it and pat someone else’s. They call it the fourth dimension in supernatural studies.
The Man from Madras Musings has never been good in any form of sport. In this he knows he is markedly different from the Chief. He also diverges in this from his good lady, whom he otherwise obeys no matter what. But put a ball in his hand, or for that matter a racquet or a bat, and MMM would be at a loss as to what to do with it. Terms such as mid-on, mid-off, mid-wicket and deep-backward-square-leg are Greek to MMM and he would assume silly mid-on was an insult. But be that as it may, he is all for the sporting spirit. To him, the fact that a prime patch of green in the heart of the city has remained vacant for years is a matter of great regret.
Which is why, when that strange mutation of cricket, which rejoices in the name of IPL recently made a comeback to our garden of Eden, MMM rejoiced. His good lady did one better and having made MMM arrange for tickets, went off and witnessed the one match that took place, in person. Not so MMM, who preferred to watch it amidst the comforts of home and also enjoyed it. It was a situation where every prospect was pleasing. But alas! Man proved to be vile.
There arose a protest that we were callously enjoying a colonial game when farmers in the mofussil were dying without water. This said some protestors, was not cricket. Not quite straight bat, they said. They became all Cromwellian and demanded that such amusements as cricket ought to be banned here till we got water for the farmers. There were others who believed that just by shifting cricket out of Madras, water would gush forth in the paddy fields, released in remorse by the neighbouring State that is forever building dams and storing the precious liquid. And so cricket went.
It is now held in a far-away State, where they probably have never heard of Madras or its mofussil districts. The cricketers are happy, the local sponsors there are delighted. Cricket fans are going by train to the city where the tournaments are now being held. MMM guesses that the protestors too are overjoyed. All of a sudden there is no noise being made about the water or the lack of it. Has it begun to pour down? To what purpose are such token gestures?
What is ironic is that other forms of celebrations and gaiety were in no way curtailed. There was a competition for cinema songs in a venue not far removed from the cricket stadium where the matches were supposed to be held. You should have seen the crowds that poured in. And among these were several of the film stars who demanded the banning of the cricket matches, or at least wanted us to wear black badges in support of the demand for water. And did they protest at the cinema event venue or wear black badges? Not one. There everything was unbridled revelry. Farmer suicides and water crises be damned. The same lot has also not said the release of their films can be withheld in view of the ongoing river water issue. Talk about double standards!
Driving by in our Madras that is Chennai, The Man from Madras Musings took note of this pharmacy that, apart from medication, also appears to deal in human parts. And on that happy note, here’s to a great summer.