Tag Archives: Madras

Celebrating Madras by Sushila Ravindranath

22 Aug

Image Sushila Ravindranath is a city-based journalist.

It is August and is that time of the year to celebrate Madras Week. What started as a daylong event nine years ago has now spread over a month. Why do we need to celebrate Chennai? “We have it all… the Railways, roads, the museum, the Medical College. Yes, the Cholas and the Pallavas began it, and the British, Dutch and the Danes contributed. But today, all that belongs to us. As citizens of Chennai we have to take pride in all that is Chennai today and try to maintain what remains. After all Madras is the pioneer of modern India,” says S Muthiah Chennai’s own chronicler.

The founding day of Madras is considered to be August 22, 1639. It was on that day, in that year, that a sliver of land, where Fort. St. George stands today, was acquired by the by the East India Company. It is believed that this deal was made on August 22, 1639.Today, Chennai stands tall for a variety of reasons. Education, healthcare, IT, history, tourism, auto industries, movies, etc. And yes, it also has its warts.

Madras Day celebrates the city. Continue reading

Countries of my mind by Maithreyi Nandakumar

30 Aug


Maithreyi Nandakumar left Chennai nearly 16 years ago to live in England. She has worked for the BBC as an award-winning presenter and producer of Sangam for BBC Radio Bristol, as a newsroom journalist for television (BBC Points West, Bristol) and as a researcher and reporter for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. Since turning to write fiction in recent years, she has had short stories published (Her short story The Interpreter’s Tale won the first prize in the Bristol Tales Anthology), and has also had a radio play recorded (Round the Bend), and is currently working on her novel. She finds herself in Chennai more often than planned and suffers from a Tiruvikrama delusion of spanning at least two continents with ease!.

I sit in the veranda on the cane chair in my parents’ house, feet on the low grilled rail, rocking backwards with the practice of years. It’s not quite a storm but its raining steadily- the rain has a definite sound here- 30 decibels, at least. Not as loud as it can get when in full force. Back in Bristol where I now live, it could be ‘chucking it down’ and you wouldn’t even hear it. Here, the paving suddenly begins to glitter, the drops shining as they fall on the ground- a raindrop disco, I think to myself feeling a simple rush of happiness. Continue reading

Ye Olde Deepavali the Tambrahm way by V. Sriram

30 Oct

A wonderfully nostalgic offering from V. Sriram, author of ‘Carnatic Summer’ and well-known speaker, writer and music critic, who keeps track of changing Chennai in a traditionally festive season.

Nowadays Madras is called Chennai. Deepavali as it used to be properly called in olden time (not so long ago, how old do you think I am) is now Divali. Perhaps it is representative of the changing trends in this, our city. Last year I received an invitation for a cards party on the eve of Divali. To say I was surprised would be to put it mildly. Card sessions were always popular in the North where it is considered auspicious to lose money on the eve of Divali. But that they flourished outside Sowcarpet in Madras was news to me. Continue reading