Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXIII No. 11, September 16-30, 2023

Our Readers Write

A treat

Greetings! Went through the latest issue of MM (though I haven’t read it completely yet). What with the abundance of colour pictures, the issue is a treat for those like me who are faithful subscribers and contributors! I believe celebrating Madras was conceived by the folks at MM – that makes it doubly pleasing.

Srinivas Chari

An initiative that never saw the light of the day

Madras, now officially Chennai, celebrates its 384th year of existence. The old may have given way to the new as the once laidback city shed its cloak of conservatism and embraced the all-pervading modernity. But the city retains pockets of old world charm and people still affectionately refer to it as ‘Namma Madras’. Say ‘Madras’ and the instant images and thoughts that spring up would be those of the famed Marina Beach and the city’s undying love for music of all kinds, particularly carnatic music.

In 2014, hot on the heels of our successful debut event ‘Opera Carnatica’, a first-of-its-kind attempt at fusing western opera and carnatic classical music, we decided to do an event that would be a tribute to ‘Namma Madras’ in commemoration of its 375th year of existence. It was our desire to raise a musical toast to our beloved Madras and its own Marina. We chose three of Madras’ own musicians who had carved a niche for themselves in the musical firmament – a great guitarist, a young carnatic music wizard on the vocals and an awe-inspiring keyboard player.

The three musicians were to be accompanied by renowned string section musicians and a percussionist. The music on offer was meant to be a confluence of western and Indian classical music and promised to be a unique and captivating experience to the discerning Madras music lovers. The event was aptly named ‘Marina – Celebrating Madras and Music. The artists were on board and the date was set. Alas, the event never happened.

C.K. Subramaniam
1595, J Block, Anukul Apartment
Anna Nagar West
Chennai 600 040

Grammatical Piggles

The famous Guildhall speech of Rt. Hon. Sastri was included in the textbook for S.S.L.C. There was one sentence which my father found hard to parse. Freedom is a thing which, the more it is enjoyed, the more one desires for more. Sastri agreed that it was grammatically wrong, but whichever way it was recast the original beauty of the sentence was lost. He asked my father to refer the matter to Swaminathan for correction. Such was the esteem with which K.S.S was held by intellectuals. My father wrote a letter to the Press, under the title Grammatical piggles, which was suggested by Sastri himself.

S.S. Rajagopalan
30, Kamarajar Street
Chennai 600 093

T.M.P. and Dr. A.L. Mudaliar

Dr. A.L. Mudaliar was rumoured to be prejudiced against Brahmins. But the story of Dr T.M.P. Mahadevan evidences the great respect he had for T.M.P. Dr. K.S. Sanjeevi, Prof G.N. Ramachandran and Prof T.S. Sadasivam. When my father had a doubt about what Rt. Hon. Sastri had said in his Ramayana lectures, Sastri directed him to Prof Mahadevan.

Madras Musings deserves our grateful thanks for remembering these great souls.

K. Balakesari
3/1, Rams Kesari Kuteeram
22, Westcott Road
Royapettah, Chennai 600014


I have been a subscriber to Madras Musings for the last 1-2 years. I find it all very interesting. My congratulations to you all. Yet, I would like to make two points and hope that they are taken in the right spirit.

1. I don’t know if you accept articles from those other than your internal panelists or authors. The reason I ask is, apart from mentions seeking financial contributions, I haven’t yet seen any calls asking for articles from your subscribers. 2. Since many of us have limited attention spans, it may be useful to have briefer articles; this way, the issue can carry more articles in the same space. This should considerably help to improve attention and readability. Even if a subject is very important, it could be split into 2 parts and spread over consecutive issues.

I will appreciate your valuable response, even if you do not accept my suggestions.

K.Sashi Rao

Sir, thank you very much for your suggestions. We shall certainly take them into consideration.

– Associate Editor

Vincent’s Jottings

Daya’s inland letter was sitting in my post box, waiting for my return from a weekend sojourn.

I did not open it just then.

Letters, books, magazines and all kinds of published material need to be patient with me. I do not rip open the parcel or slice the edge of a packet that soon. Letters are best read when you have your ‘own’ time, perhaps at the end of day.

Daya had little stories to share; travel mostly, and the anecdotes that peppered them.

This letter had yellowed and I thought it had escaped from a bowl of manjal-thool or soaked in a post bag that got soggy in the recent rains.

I have been writing letters to people who like to get one from me.

I started doing this during my tours; especially on trains where there is enough quiet time to pen a letter in about five minutes and include, in words, the sight at Jolarpet junction or the contents of the dinner box delivered to me at Kozhikode. Though people who have received my letters seem to have enjoyed reading them, very few have replied. But that doesn’t discourage me. This weekend, I will pen a note to a former IAS officer; we reconnected after ages.

Postmen and women are still a constant in our neighbourhoods. Though the nature and weight of their bags have changed and reduced, they are saddled with new assignments as the India Post system incorporates new services to stay alive and relevant. Today, you can even get prasadam from your favourite temple.

Chitra has been the new post-woman for our neighbourhood. Our local istri-wallah, who knows our nagar like the lines on his palm, helped her get her moorings as she struggled to locate addresses. Chitra is the friendly one, engaging in a chat even if she has two dozen mails to deliver. She used to work in the hilly tracts in the west of our state and the posting in the city has given her a new experience. She first checked into a local women’s hostel but decided to quit in a fortnight, located a small house near the post office and then moved her family here. Now she zips on her scooter.

Last week, the postwoman who covers our office had a half-smile when she handed us a letter without a name and address. “This letter came from your office,” she said. I turned it to see the reverse and didn’t find our name and address there. “When we get such letters we are authorised to open them and follow-up,” she said with a smile. And she wanted to know a bit about our newspaper; she too was new to the metro, having been transferred here recently.

Have a word with the local service people you spot on the street. Or just wave out to them. – Courtesy: Mylapore Times.

Vincent D’Souza

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