August 14, 2010

Madras Week

Where in Madras would you find Beer Shop Lane?

This could make a straight but heady question for a Madras Quiz. And I wonder if quizmaster Balaji Thirumalai would want to include it for the Madras Open Quiz that he will conduct in Mylapore in the afternoon on August 22.

We were intrigued when musician Barry Rosario took us around the Perambur which was the hub of the Anglo-Indian community once upon a time.

I am sure Mayor Subramanian will not be amused with this name if his zonal officers consider to rename this street but if they do so, a bit of local social history will be wiped off the local map.

‘Madras Week’ (August 15 to 22) provides an opportunity to do many useful things focussed on the city.

Research for talks or texts that can be presented to an invited audience. Collect photos and documents for an exhibition. Videograph for documentaries that can be screened across the city.

It also provides the space for people who possess histories, documents and stories to make them known to a larger audience.

Recently, I spent time at the small archives of the Madras-Mylapore diocese of the Catholic Church at the Bishop’s House in San Thome.

Father Vijay Kiran, who holds a doctorate in this field has taken charge as the archivist and is in the process of setting this dusty, messy house in order. It will be a long and arduous task but a worthy one if the local church and the Bishop support this hugely important project.

I have invited the priest to give a talk on the Cathedral next week and I hope this will encourage others to do so in future.

Another person who may be able to present a colourful talk is Keith Peters. I sounded him out when we met at the funeral service of Mithran Devanesan, Madras’ maverick theatreperson who passed away this past week. (Mithran too would have had stories to tell of the city’s English theatre history).

Keith, a bass guitarist is a regular at A R Rahman’s studio and concert tours. We grew up in the 60s on the fringe of Mount Road and music was always in the air. For, the Anglo-Indian musicians abounded in this part of the city - Royapettah, Pudupet, Mount Road, Thousand Lights . . .

There is a lot happening in Madras that is Chennai. Soak in. More is at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the Chennai-themed calendar: