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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 13, october 16-31, 2009
Our Readers Write

Buds and Blossoms

Lakshmi Hayagreeva Cultural and Educational Trust’s Forgotten Programmes (MM, September 1st) brought back so many happy memories of the ‘Children’s Programme’ conducted by Uncle Handel in the small All India Radio studio on Marshall’s Road.

As students of Doveton Corrie Girls’ School, Vepery, we often visited the studio and took part in the programmes every Saturday from 3.30 to 4 p.m. Our Singing Miss was none other than Mrs. Alice Manuel, the wife of Uncle Handel. Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream was sung by us as a round in three groups. Then we sang My Grandfather’s Clock, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Ash Grove, Oh! No John and even Annie Lawrie. Those good old songs can never be forgotten.

Mrs. Manuel taught us to sing in parts, and we were only three alto singers, of whom I am proud to say that I still sing alto in the choir at St. Matthias, Vepery.

Coming back to the Children’s Programmes, Uncle Handel would hand out birthday slips to the girls, to read out the birthdays from Saturday to the next Friday. After the announcements, we would sing the birthday song for the children. It was amazing to hear Uncle Handel play that huge table grand piano when we sang.

We would recite and enact a short play, sing a solo, but the last five minutes were kept for Tiny Tots. It used to be fun in the studio, watching Uncle coax the tots to sing or recite. The programme ended with Uncle Handel naming the school for the next Saturday’s programme. After which Uncle Handel would end with a lovely music piece on that huge piano.

Thereafter, we children would all be taken to a small canteen outside for a free vadai and a cup of hot coffee. We would return to school by 6  p.m.

Later, the programme was called ‘Buds and Blossoms’. I wish that someone with good musical talent will revive the past and bring back to life the good old ‘Buds and Blossoms’ programmes that all Madras parents waited for on Saturdays.

Maisie Kalidas (nee D’Silva)
22, Kumarasamy Samy Nagar
Villivakkam, Chennai 600 049

Footnote: With Uncle Handel’s help I, in later years, compered three Children’s Programmes.

Hall of memories

The misgivings expressed in your issue of September 16th regarding Victoria Public Hall are cause for real anxiety. In dealing with an edifice of antiquity and popular use, where is the need for any hush-hush approach, action and work? Such actions cumulatively ­discredit institutions like the Corporation. May wise counsels prevail and proper action be taken in accord with its past when numerous public activities had it as their venue.

As the first Deputy Commissioner of the Corporation, with full jurisdiction over the city, I had direct contact with VPH. On April 13, 1945, the Indian Fine Arts Society, Madras, presented the drama Saroja in which I took on the role of patriot-hero Nathan. On May 6, 1945, the popular drama Mano­hara was enacted. For want of time, I could not take any role, but was Stage Director with T.S. Gopalaswami Ayyangar of Parry & Co. as Chief Director. The dramas were enacted before full houses. Those were the days of melody, ethereal emotions (bhavas) and pure art full of grace and merits. The days of murders, jails, waist-twisting physical exercise by crowds, puny heroes single-handedly throwing out scores of enemies, some of them rolling over drums or orange carts, etc. were not even imagined then!

Garland’ N. Rajagopalan i.a.s. rtd.
Mayur Apartments
7, 24th Cross Street
Indira Nagar,
Chennai 600 020

Feed the dogs

Reader S.R. Madhu has poured out his hatred of street dogs (MM, August 1st).

I am a ‘senior’ citizen and I have lived in several parts of this great country and have walked alone late at night with dogs barking etc. but no dog has harassed me or attempted to bite me.

Street dogs are starving and thirsty. In earlier times almost every household would put out some food and water for such dogs. It was a dharma that we fed the poor dogs. Now it is not done.

Organise feeding of street dogs, and they will not bother anyone. They will be the sentinels of your area. Please do not talk of ‘elimination’; the word smacks of cruelty. Instead, feed them with food and water.

K.S. Srinivasan
1253, 66th Street,
Chennai 600 080

Overbridge needed 

Your report on the MRTS (MM, August 1st) should serve as an eye-opener to the authorities concerned, who need to do something on a war-footing to provide basic amenities at various stations.

To start with, they should provide an overbridge, or an elevated passage, to connect the platforms of Triplicane and Lighthouse stations with the main road, viz. Beach Road, enabling the passengers to reach the nearest bus stop, without entering narrow bylanes.

P.K. Sankar
Suryakiran Apts
35/8, Third Main Road
Gandhi Nagar, Adyar
Chennai 600 020

Save yourself

There is absolutely no need for Ranjitha Ashok to get frustrated with “unstapling” (MM, September 1st) and writing a whole column on it! Abroad, a small low-priced device is available in any stationery store, which neatly unstaples papers without a person tearing his or her nails or hurting him or herself. I am sure this device is available in India too, if only you would look around.

K.P. Mahalingam
6B, The Peninsula,
778, Poonamalle High Road,
Chennai 600 010

Sheer laziness?

St. Thomas Mount railway station appears to have been renamed St. Mount (as observed on 17.8.09) at the Tambaram railway station mofussil ticket counter. Who is to be blamed for it? Is it shortage of space or sheer laziness when having to write the name in full?

Ramanathan Muthiah
1310, Sri Mahalakshmi Mandira
39, Justice Rathinavel
Pandian Road,
Golden George Nagar
Chennai 600 107


Prof. Campbell’s article on Milton (MM, October 1st) was published in the Milton Quarterly in 1997. His references to the Fort Museum date to the mid-1990s. – The Editor


In this issue

Fort’s tourist potential...
Plea to save the beach...
A promise kept...
From the Aronda...
Bihar to Madras...
Historic Residences...
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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