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Vol. XXX No. 6, July 1-15, 2020

Pavithra’s Perspective

Lord of the Island

I had driven across the length of Anna Salai twice, when my cab-driver turned around to ask me exactly where I was bound – not an uncommon occurrence during heritage city trips as I usually went in seemingly aimless directions. When we finally arrived at my destination and I gazed up at “The Stirrupless Majesty” – a magnificent statue of Sir Thomas Munro, the governor of Madras Presidency – I felt, anew, admiration for the man who had absolutely no qualms about informing his English superiors that their rule would always be considered alien.

Ironically, I learnt more about Sir Thomas Munro in the vicinity of Vandhavasi, and in the environs of the region known in British times as the “Baramahal” – which Munro described to his sister as more beautiful than even his beloved Scotland.

The more I stared at the statue, completed by Francis Chantrey in 1834, the more I lost myself in another era, until I was brought to earth by my driver. “That man only drank himself to death, no? When he was only 32?”

Horrified, I demanded where he’d learnt this farrago of nonsense, only to be met by a blank stare. I then took it upon myself to launch into a mini Munro ode, which I ended by describing that he was so beloved in certain parts of Andhra Pradesh that children were, years ago, actually named “Munrolappa”.

“Huh,” my driver scratched his jaw in astonishment. “Who knew?” Well, he did, now.

3.5” by 5” approximatelyMedium: Black and White Micron Pens; 0.20mm and 0.35mm.

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