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Vol. XXIX No. 8, August 1-15, 2019

Archives: Vol. XXIX No. 8, August 1-15, 2019


Why celebrate Chennai?

by The Editor

There we go again, asking everyone to celebrate Chennai, for Madras Week is just around the corner (August 18-25, 2019). The cynics we are sure, must be already practising their counter chorus beginning with the usual litany – Chennai was not founded in 1639, the weather here is uniformly bad, there is a perennial water crisis, the roads are terrible, the civic body inactive and the traffic chaotic. To all of this we agree in toto but these in our view do not in any way detract from the fact that there are several aspects to Chennai that are sufficient reasons to rejoice.

Firstly, it is home to so many of us. And despite its lack of roads, water and much else, let us remember that we continue to live here, call it home and also, it must be admitted, have contributed in some way or the other to the problems it faces. This is where we ply our trade, educate our children, practise our customs, celebrate our individuality and much else. Chennai has given us space for all this and we must be thankful for that. And when it comes to civic issues, which city is wholly immune to them? Chennai has many achievements to its credit. While its many firsts have been documented sufficiently in MM and elsewhere, we need to also look at the many ways it contributes to the nation. Chennai being the medicare capital of India is well-known, but how many of us know that it accounts for 40 per cent of the medical tourism inflows into India?

We always knew that Chennai is referred to as the Detroit of India, but how many of know that we produce one vehicle every three minutes that places us ahead of Detroit? When it comes to leather exports did we know that Chennai and Kanpur are forever neck-to-neck for reaching the top slot?


Then and Now

Our THEN is a sketch by artiste Vijaykumar of old Woodlands hotel, Westcott Road, where in the 1930s, Krishna Rao began the first of his restaurant chain. Our NOW is Saravana Bhavan (Courtesy: The Hindu), also equally significant in Chennai’s food history and whose owner died earlier this month after being in the news till the end for wrong reasons. (See article Annachi – humble beginnings, global presence & ignominious end).


Better facilities needed for Athi Varadar

by A Special Correspondent

Tamil Nadu is known as the Land of Temples for a reason; the state is dotted with temples and hardly a fortnight goes by without a temple festivity taking place. Tens of thousands of devotees flock to these festivals, and while they brace themselves to negotiate uncomfortably large crowds, safety or access to basic facilities have never been a major concern. Indeed, this year’s Thaipoosam arrangements at Palani were reportedly exemplary, with the district administration working closely with the HR & CE, police, fire and rescue, health & other departments to ensure that pilgrims have a memorable spiritual experience. So, the fatal lack of planning for the Athi Varadar Darshan at Varadaraja Perumal temple, Kanchipuram, came as a nasty shock to devotees.


Annachi – humble beginnings, global presence & ignominious end

by Swaminathan Ramasubramanian

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Annachi with his two sons.


The Other Chennai

by Sushila Ravindranath

Kissflow, a leader in business process and workflow management software used by organisations in over 160 countries, recently announced its expansion into the digital workplace segment. It has come up with a first-of-its-kind platform for fast-scaling enterprises. The launch was not happening in Silicon Valley, but in one of the conference rooms at the Leela Palace in Chennai.

There was an air of palpable excitement and anticipation. The room was full of Kissflow staff and their families (including toddlers running here and there), CEOs of leading IT companies, and friends of the founder, Suresh Sambandam. Suresh is a true blue, homegrown IT entrepreneur, and one of the frontrunners in the fast growing SaaS (Software As A Service) sector in India.