Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXIII No. 12, October 1-15, 2023
It has been quite a while since The Man from Madras Musings penned this column. Madras Week intervened and that took up space in the paper. And MMM is happy to be back, with more news. But first, let us see what the mail bag has brought.
Readership in China, MMM is happy to report, continues to flourish. The latest missive is from Lucy Chen who even in the caption of her mail caught MMM’s attention. “Are you troubled with the aesthetic surface of your parts?” she asked, and she had MMM hooked. Though blessedly free of pimples while growing up, MMM on coming to man’s estate has often longed for smoother skin and with fewer dark patches. And so he read on. The mail was reassuringly addressed as Dear Friend and MMM was thrilled. Imagine, someone in faraway China was reading MM, and MMM’s column and writing. The rest of the message, barring the conclusion was somewhat of an anti-climax for it had to do with expertise in “machining in the medical field,” whatever that meant. But it signed off with hope – “Do you have any project in hand? you can email me the details, i believe i will make you 100% satisfy.
Wish our products & services can help your business.”
The above missive was closely followed by one from Helen who was interested in selling some wire mesh to MM, presumably with a view to tie its deputy editor up. Helen ended by saying she was sure MMM “will be impressend by our excellent and stable quality.”
All said and done, MMM is a hit with ladies in China.
MMM will not waste your time on other mails received, which were essentially on non-receipt of MM, receipt of duplicate copies of MM and change of address of some of the recipients. Some of the magazines regulars seem to be among the Troops of Midian, they prowl around so much.
MMM having disposed off the mail, now takes you through some of the phone calls received.
“We are from Mumbai,” said a caller.
MMM was all ears.
“We are coming down to shoot you,” continued the caller.
MMM asked as to what crime he had committed. The caller was quite puzzled at first and then proceeded to assure MMM that it would all be on camera and not with bullets.
And there was the student who began badgering MMM for a write up on the Thiruvanmiyur temple. MMM kept ignoring the messages until they became a veritable flood. The last one, before MMM blocked the sender, was that the school assignment had an imminent deadline and so could MMM help. MMM was reminded of countless speakers at the Music Academy who would keep interspersing their 45 minute slot with the comment that they could have presented a lot more had time not been so short. A count of these whines revealed a total of ten minutes out of the 45 had been spent on them! The same with this student – rather than sending those emails she could have got on with the assignment.
Have you ever seen a heavily pregnant peacock? And by that The Man from Madras Musings does not mean a peahen. Yes sir, and if you want to witness this miracle, all you need to do is to go to Royappettah – to be precise the intersection of Avvai Shanmugam/VP Raman Salai/Lloyds Road and Royapettah High Road/Thiru Vi Ka Salai. There stands a massive sculpture, one of the many that our city administration spends funds on erecting at various important junctions, roundabouts and intersections. The idea, MMM presumes, is to make sure you don’t fret over the traffic chaos, the non-functioning traffic lights and the ceaseless hooting of horns around you. You see these sculptures, pause mesmerised and forget everything else, until the ceaseless hootings of those around you, and their verbal endearments make you move on.
There are many such pieces of art around the city for you to feast your eyes on. Somewhere there is a boat, at another place there are some dancers, in yet another are a pair of warriors in combat and by the beach is one of a bull peering into the mouth of an elephant. The last one is not a tribute to dental health but actually a reproduction of an ancient Tamil temple design concept but in the absence of any explanatory plaque around it, most people have come away puzzled. Some have applied to MMM for enlightenment too.
But this peacock has MMM quite puzzled. It has considerable poundage around its waist; so much so that the stomach seems to touch the ground. Supporting it so that this does not happen are a pair of stout legs, so stout indeed that it is a wonder that the bird, if it were a real one, would move at all. And then it has an uplifted fan of a tail. MMM thinks it could well be a dove or a pigeon but he is not sure. Could it be a tribute to the dodo?
Whatever it is, it has now been installed at that aforesaid intersection and from there it gazes in a somewhat surfeited fashion at the vehicles that whizz by. For days on end it remained swathed in green sheets, no doubt to protect it from the heat and dust. MMM wonders if someone even makes ceremonial offerings of food to it. It also has a protective shelter above it, something that is denied to statues of even the highest in the land. This then is some special kind of peacock/pigeon.
Then there came a day when the covers were all off. The peacock was visible to all, in all its glory. That was the day the CM was to declare a road name change in the vicinity. And no doubt the bird had to be at its best during the ceremony. The next day the bird had gone back to being veiled. MMM made enquiries and was told that the Corporation had not yet decided on a formal inauguration of the statue and so was keeping it under wraps. And why the shelter overhead? That was to prevent other birds from sitting on this bird and defiling it. Clearly this is a bird of exalted status. MMM hopes to be around when it delivers whatever is distending its abdomen – he is quite sure it will be a golden egg.
‘Rags’ Raghavan, an old friend of the Chief’s and also of The Man from Madras Musings once related how he was sent on a photography assignment by the boss and on reaching his destination was welcomed as the person from Madras Nuisance. MMM did not know whether to believe this or not. But that Rags was speaking the truth was made evident to MMM when he led his annual heritage walk at Fort St. George late in August. The security guard at the gate, having scanned all the papers then called her boss on the walkie talkie and said there was a group from Madras Nuisance that wanted to come in and could they be allowed. Mercifully, despite that introduction, MMM and team were permitted. Miracles never cease.