July 04, 2008

Mount Road, Jafar's and more . . .

Many people have fond memories of Mount Road.
My invitation in this column to fill me on stories on our city's most important road drew quite a response.
Sethuraman used to work in that area from 1946 and 1975 and he has been sharing a few stories and providing me web links to stories I should read.
Sethuraman now lives in Adyar and is in his 80s and I hope he will be able to join us on the Mount Road Heritage Walk ( due in late August 2008).
The Walk will be one of the many events planned for Madras Day 2008 celebrations.
Francis who is with the choir at the San Thome Basilica has invited me to chat with his parents who reside in Kotturpuram.
His grandmom resettled in a lane off General Patters Road after her flight from Malaya. Francis' dad loved to be at the 'bioscope' (cinema halls) of Mount Road. He will have a fund of stories for us!
Are you aware of less-known but fascinating nooks on Mount Road we must visit on this Walk?
We will have a pit-stop at Buharis Hotel for tea and samosas - am hoping Buharis will be a warm host the way it was in the 60s when it 'refreshed' the RSP members of Christ Church school!
Out in Vadapalani, Hotel Green Park has come forward to provide space for a variety of acts that Sashi Nair is putting together - readings, puppetry, contest for kids and a talk on 'Temples of Chennai'.
Nair is hoping that the idea of a 'Walk of the Film Studios' will be realised. If Randor Guy makes time to lead this Walk, I am sure Nair will have a huge crowd behind him.
If you too can help Nair by volunteering in the Vadapalani area, you can e-mail him at - sashinair63@hotmail.com
Our intention is to get every neighbourhood in this city to ideate, plan and host its own events that makes 'Madras Day' special.
We would like to hear from bikers and beach walkers, from rock bands and poets, film makers and scholars. All of them can create unique events that celebrate the city.
Perhaps this is the time for poets to write on the city and meet at My Ladye's Gardens to read these verses.
Perhaps this is time for 'Substance' and 'Public Issue' to compose songs on the city and perform them.
The place to network - www.themadrasday.in


Anonymous said...

I am a regular reader of your column ever since I moved to Adyar three years back.
Yes, I would like to join you in your heritage walks along Mount Road.
I very well remember the juke box at Buharis where all the top hits of Binaca Geetmala were available at 4 annas each and their famous roof gardens.Also, Bilals which was opposite to Buharis. A little later, there was a vegetarian joint called Swapna near Wellington, which was a favourite haunt of young couples.
Talking of couples, I cannot forget the Boxes at Safire which had three seats and you could get the entire box to yourself if you buy all three tickets! Then there was also the Blue Diamond at the same complex where you had continuous shows and spend the whole day in privacy.
Cannot forget the Plaza and Elphinstone which were our favorite haunts.There was a Globe which became New Globe and then Alankar which too was gone later.
I remember the underground toilet at the Round Tana which perhaps was the only one of its kind in the city.
The only bokshop in the area was Higginbothams and then came Kennedys.
I also remember Spencers which was a single departmental store and their sale during Christmas time.
The three types of taxis-Big (5 seater), medium (Ambassadors,4 seaters) and Baby (Fiat,3 seaters).There were hardly any autos then. There were very few which were 2 seaters.

Vincent D' Souza said...

Great jottings Venkataraman.

If you join us on Aug 24 (Sunday) on the Walk I'd like to invite you to share your stories with the rest.

Pl check out the Madras Day web site - www.themadrasday.in for info on all city events planned by the community - Aug 17 to 24. A few contests are rolling now.

I'd love to have more Mount Road stories!