S Anwar made a very nice presentation on the Nawabs of Arcot yesterday as part of the never-ending Madras Week celebrations. This was at the Freemasons Hall. The refreshments included vadai (good), laddu (did not eat) and tea (with paper cup strongly smelling of sack in which it was stored). The exhibition of Freemason memorabilia was interesting.

The presentation had some brilliant pictures of Arcot and mosques in Triplicane. Anwar had researched the subject well and despite the bad weather, there was a decent (in terms of numbers) turnout.

The highlight of the evening for me was my neighbour at the venue. He had brought a plastic topped brief case with him and inside it was his cell-phone. Halfway through the presentation there was a loud fart like noise. It was the cell, vibrating in silent mode and rubbing against the brief case.

Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrbppppp -it went, sounding extraordinarily like the breaking of wind. It was a real eye-opener, especially for those who had feasted rather well on the laddus and made merry over the tea. The next release was even louder and longer. And then it sustained itself on auto-pilot.

The phone was obviously enjoying itself for it was moving rapidly in the interior making more and more digestive sounds. My neighbour was trying to pretend that all this was not from him (it was really not him but his cell). He even made some waving movements with his hand which a few rather unfortunately interpreted to mean the fanning away of er… odours. But in the end good sense prevailed and he opened his box and yanked the phone out. Peace was restored and we focused once again on the Arcots and their deeds, both fair and foul.