Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXX No. 23, April 1-15, 2021
I was six years old, when the Moore Market burned down.
The tragedy didn’t faze me, I must admit, chiefly because I wasn’t aware of it when it happened (in fact, I wasn’t even in the country). But relocation to Chennai meant that I found the place mentioned more than once in random conversations, movies and Thamizh serial stories as a sort of magic kingdom (rising, with a rather puzzling, but nevertheless magnificent Arabian outline against the Madras skyline) where you could acquire anything from ceiling fans to second-hand books probably lost in the 15th Century. The Arabian outline made sense years later, of course, designed at it was in the Indo-Saracenic style by R.E. Ellis and finished in 1900. I bemoaned the fact that I could never visit this splendid cavern of forgotten treasures, for no matter how much I read and heard, it was nothing, I knew, compared to the real thing.
And then, years later, I did stumble upon it – or rather, a miniature model version of it, amidst cars, beedi-chewing pedestrians, crushed plastic bottles, two-wheelers and aeons of neglect – in the parking lot of the Chennai Suburban Railway Terminus. I stared at this monument to lost glory, still beautiful, still retaining its charm with its tiny steps, delicate arches and corridors, all inspiring me with a deep desire to attain the dimensions of a Lilliputian.
I couldn’t, of course, but I could do something else: record it as a miniature. Terrified as I was that the model too, might be destroyed, I raced to finish it while it still stood, crumbling corners notwithstanding. It was one of the first miniatures I did and is by far, my favourite.
Description: 3.5” by 5” approximately
Medium: Black and White Micron Pens; 0.20mm and 0.35mm.