Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXX No. 2, May 1-15, 2020
My first ever introduction to the Adyar River was as a wide-eyed nine-year-old, newly arrived in Chennai, still adjusting to a seething city’s rhythms as I trundled to school in a bus that bumped over potholes and teetered around curves. A long journey that started at around 6.15 a.m. in Velachery would slowly draw to a close as we approached CIT Nagar – and the beginning of the end was usually the bridge over the River Adyar, which showed a vast expanse of water (vast to eyes that had never seen rivers until that point), not to mention the overpowering smell. It would be years before I lost the sinking feeling I usually associated with school, when I saw the river, and a feeling of awe took over.
An awe that had its roots in history, as I began exploring Chennai in earnest. Naturally, that led me to the Madras Boat Club – and the fact that people actually entered this venerable institution to paddle, row and generally disport themselves in the Adyar River. I was dumbfounded. Until I managed to see it for myself, one day, as two enthusiastic paddlers canoed about in the still waters, Chennai’s towers, bridges and residential apartments looming in the distance, their images reflected upon the river’s surface, rippling and swaying as the canoe slashed a little further.
In an otherwise chaotic city, this was a picture of peace, serenity and stillness. Something that harked back to a previous age, when British men had been the ones disporting themselves in similar fashion. And I couldn’t help but capture it, as you see it.
Pavithra Srinivasan is a writer, journalist, artist, translator, columnist, editor and is fascinated with History.