I located Thomas Rodrigo & Sons in Broadway. And enjoyed the maddening life of this part of George Towne this past week.
Rodrigo does not own property here so it has made its nth shift in the 137 years of its existence. Founded by a man who hailed from deep south and set up shop across the ocean in Colombo, it is now managed by Pius. Rodrigo is not the magic land of statues, crucifixes, crib sets and tabernacles as it used to be.
Pius says he would not be able to make wooden statues because getting workmen even to do the routine ones was now a big problem. And yet, this Christmas dozens of shoppers streamed in to buy crib sets and statues.
Pius has moved his home from Jones Street to Velachery ("you are guaranteed some peace when you get back home") but the chaos of Broadway makes it the place that is unique to our city.
We shopped for buntings and crepe paper on Anderson Street. It was not dirty and shopping was smooth and easy. Everywhere you saw the Chinese invasion - Santa stickers, decorations and star sets.
Refreshed at Rolex where people are always gorging into biryani or parottas and mutton paya or bun-butter-jam, we waited for the rain to subside.
I looked at the expanse of what is now the local bus terminus. Once the famed Fruit Market, Mom would have stared in nostalgia - of the times she shopped here for raisins, cashews and nuts and then crossed over to buy Kashmiri chillies.
George Towne is now for hawkers and the poor. Sell their wares at daytime and crouch under the sunshades and abandoned stores at night - that is what most people of this place do.
Four naughty boys, three in pilgrim black in preparation for Sabarimala, gambolled on the pavement, sharing a glass of Rolex's hot chai.
One broke into a song and aped a character in 'Renigunta' while another respectfully gave an ear to the plea of an aged woman who had called it a day.
The rain did not deter the shoppers.
We made sure the crib set we had bought was safe from the rainwater.
George Towne is a different world on a Sunday morning. Explore it then. You may meet our Renigunta group. But Anderson Street will be quiet.