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(ARCHIVE) VOL. XXII No. 11, September 16-31, 2012
Short 'N' Snappy

Morning calls & second opinions

The Man from Madras Musings does not know about your household but this he can say about his own – the hour between 8.00 and 9.00 each morning is one of hectic activity. Even those who rarely stir a limb at other times (and of this lot MMM is a leader of sorts) are goaded into activity and it is only by 9.00 am that the 'all clear' is blown.

But there are people who, it would appear, find time hanging heavy during this exact hour and then decide that MMM must also be faced with the same kind of ennui. And so why not call MMM, they decide, and discuss matters of pith and moment? Thus, you will find, if you ever crossed chez MMM at that particularly dangerous hour that, apart from the regular din of a household getting ready to face the day, the telephone will also be ringing to make it all the merrier. And 90 per cent of the time it will be for MMM with some caller wanting to ask some weighty question or the other.

These questions are of such urgency to the callers that in case the information is not immediately given, then dangerous things are likely to happen to them. Unfortunately, MMM's good lady (also known as She Who Must Be Obeyed) and other family members are not of the same view. Take, for instance, the case of a caller who decided that 8.30 am, when action was at its peak, was the best time to call.

The phone rang and one of the younger and more irreverent members of the MMM family picked up the receiver and then, having covered the mouthpiece, announced that "yet another heritage crank" was on the line. Whereupon the good lady made a dash for it and MMM was most surprised to find pearls of wisdom falling from her mouth.

"Yes, it was at St Mary's Church," she said between gritted teeth.

"Yes, it is inside the Fort," she continued in the same vein, all the while subjecting MMM to a death ray-like gaze.

"Yes, it can be and at any time," she ended and banged the receiver down.

MMM applied for illumination. Apparently the caller wanted to know where Robert Clive got married and on receiving the answer wanted to know if the place was inside the Fort and also as to whether the marriage register was open for viewing and, if so, when could he go. MMM was full of admiration for the good lady. She would have come at least second in any quiz on Madras, he felt. He then made bold to ask her as to how she knew and was answered with words to the effect that marriage to MMM may not have meant overseas holidays and regular visits to cinema theatres, but she had heritage oozing out of her ears. All this, mind you, was said not in a grateful tone.

That you may have thought was that. But no. The next day the caller was back. And he was most frank about it all. He had received the answers from the good lady but he thought he would just get a second opinion from MMM. In other words, the good lady's words were not good enough.

Clearly he must be a stout bachelor.

Celebration time

The Man from Madras Musings has to be careful in what he says, advises the Chief. And so he will be. Suffice it to say that a certain institution in the city reached a milestone in terms of its age and celebrations were held. The numero uno of the country was here to participate in it, as were several local numero unos. To avoid confusion, MMM will refer to the aforementioned numero uno as the party of the first part and those comprising the second as parties of the second part, both terms being used with no malafide intention or malice aforethought.

The party of the first part may have belonged to a party before he became the party of the first part. But now he must be considered to be above all parties but that was clearly not the view of the followers of the party of which the party of the first part was once a member. And so they printed posters and pasted them all over the city to welcome him.

As for the party of the second part, all that MMM has to say is that followers decided to party and went to town pasting posters on all the walls about the party of the second part. There were also kiosks and banners. Some hailed the party of the second part as the Fortress of the State, others compared the same personage to the Maid of Orleans and above all was one that said that the party of the second part was the "Hardinger of success". Now what is a Hardinger?

But to cut a long story short, MMM was under the impression that there were some laws of sorts that did not allow for pasting posters on the walls of private properties and disfiguring public spaces. And in this event of events, he assumed that the law would be abided. Not that the institution that celebrated had anything to do with these posters. It was, it is, and will always be above politics. But surely those who wanted to crash the party should have known better.

MMM was not invited to the celebrations and so did not go. But he did go to a second event, which was hosted by an organisation of the city that is at least 26 years elder to the celebrant aforementioned. And who should be the chief guest at this second event but the party of the first part already referred to. The event began an hour behind schedule thanks to the celebrations at the first event (aforementioned in case MMM forgot) going longer than planned. And, so, when the party of the first part came to the second party, sorry event, applause was rather muted. There is only so much an audience can do when kept waiting, several of them with full bladders no doubt.

But lo and behold, party of the first part began with an apology. That was received enthusiastically. Now, if only petty officers who govern in the name of the party of the first part had the same grace when they keep people waiting.

New names for old

There are new name signs for roads and they provide plenty of mirth. Any time The Man from Madras Musings finds himself a little low, he goes and sees them. Thus Murray's Gate Road has become Muresh Gate Road. Brodie's Castle Road is now Bradykassel Road. Radhakrishnan Road is now Radhakeishnan Road. And so on. Watch this space for more.


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In this Issue

Lurching from crisis to crisis
If Anna Arches, why not other heritage buildings?
China can help us connect
Luminaries of our High Court
Looking back on Madras Week
Tracing the City's Old Wall
New facts learnt...
Zooming in on a changing Chennai
The Murugappa Madras Quotient Quiz 2012

Our Regulars

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


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