On the 18th I was at the Sir M Ct M School, Purasawalkam where young Karthik Bhatt spoke on “Some Gujaratis of Madras”. It was a well researched piece with the presentation divided into sections comprising Jewellers (TR Tawker, TR Joshi, TB Mehta, Bapalal, Surajmals, Veecumsee), those involved in the cloth trade (Goocooladoss Jumnadoss, Mani Sunker Davey), cycles (R Patel & Co, a name that I forget and now the sole Gujarati representative BM Davey), general merchants (Haji Mohd. Sait, Mohammed Ali Sharafali, Joonus Sait, Popat Jamals) and the great families of Lodd Govinddoss and Kushaldoss. He presented it with enthusiasm and I would give full marks for a maiden attempt. Unfortunately the attendance was thin. Not many takers for heritage at Purasawalkam or so it would appear.
Yesterday, a mammoth audience struggled its way into the first floor meeting space at the Gymkhana Club to listen to Sujatha Shankar on the “The Old Guard- Early 20th century architecture firms of Madras”. She covered Prynne, Abbot & Davis (later Pithavadian and Partners), LM Chitale, CR Narayan Rao and RR Sarma. It was interesting to see that descendants of LMC, CRN and RRS were all in the audience as were the present partners of Pithavadian. A representative from each of the firms (in the case of RRS whose practice did not continue after his lifetime, his daughter spoke) came up and gave their comments.