I am horribly backlogged as usual, but then these issues will never change so the topics are always current.


That is a word that is in the minds of many these days. And it has entered the mind of the Man from Madras Musings too, if you can call his a mind. But he, being of a pure and unsullied type, does not bother with spectra that pertain to matters outside the spectrum of things that concern Chennai that was Madras. And the spectrum that he finds an interesting phenomenon is the spectrum of colours that has suddenly broken out on buildings all over the city.

Chennai (or Madras) can be said to have arrived at 2G, which is the second generation of buildings. 1G is something that only the Chief and a few others like MMM worry about for it concerns the old colonial bungalows, public buildings and monuments of which most have gone. These used to be painted in white or red, depending on their classification, though MMM has quite forgotten what the dividing line was in that. But with 2G, which comprises gated communities, multi-storied buildings and related monstrosities, Chennai has exploded into a spectrum of colours. Thus you have buildings ranging from magenta to pink to orange to blue to yellow. In fact, going by present trends and assuming that Chennai has many crore buildings, we can soon assume that we will have at least that many number of colours. You would not be far wrong in assuming that Chennai was the king of spectrums.

The Government has, as it does in such matters, shown the way. The Royapettah Hospital’s old block is now painted a cheery yellow with the ornamental borders in bright orange. Considering that this building houses the mortuary, it is quite sensitive of the Government to think of brightening up the atmosphere. Contrast this with the dental college in Park Town. That one is a rather mournful blue. But then, nobody looks forward to having their teeth pulled out and so perhaps that is appropriate too. You will all agree with MMM that when it comes to location, VTI on Mount Road is so placed as to turn others green with envy. That was perhaps the reason why that building was painted in a moss green before wiser counsels prevailed and the white came marching back. The Presidency College has been rather sensitively done up with the right shades of red, green and yellow going on to the right spots. But the dome remains a raucous pink. MMM was told by someone with a rather crude bent of mind that this was left as it is to indicate that it was a boy’s college. But that is neither here nor there. All said and done, bright and colourful days are ahead for Chennai. So what if on suddenly coming across a peach-melba like concrete creation motorists bite their tongues in shock and shy away violently? In sharp contrast to all this is our Assembly, which perhaps taking a cue from the oil-tanks at Royapuram is a forbidding grey.

If this is what has been done by 2G can you imagine Chennai in a 3G or 4G era? What Chennai’s spectrum needs is a JPC – a Joint Protocol on Colours to be signed by the public and private sectors. Specific colours will be notified and issued on a first-come-first-served basis after due diligence. MMM suspects that the present riot of colours is due to a lack of the tendering process and therefore just about any colour has been accepted.

Hagiographical heights

It has been seen often in the world of politics. A personality attains a landmark age in physical years and a meeting is got together to celebrate the event. A motley crowd of speakers is put together and a rather unwilling audience is enticed, cajoled, threatened, seduced and bribed to attend. Speaker after speaker says much the same thing, praising the birthday baby to the high heavens while baby, swathed in shawls and garlands, listens to all the encomiums with a pleased as punch expression. Somewhere along the line, baby begins believing that all that is being said is true. Thus when it is baby’s turn to babble, it does so reiterating all that was said.

Those of you who hang on to the lightest words that fall from the lips of the Man from Madras Musings must be wondering where that lengthy preamble was leading to. MMM can picturise the Chief, gritting his teeth and saying, “Why does he not get on with it?” preparatory to scoring out lines with a blue pen that liberally drips ink thereby obliterating more lines. The point that MMM is getting to is that such events were once restricted only to the world of politics. Those in other fields – medical, legal, pedagogy and arts to name a few used to look down on such things. But now MMM is sad to note that such events have become commonplace everywhere.

Those who celebrate do not think twice before putting up digital hoardings and banners announcing the event well in advanced. Acolytes and sycophants do the inviting and follow it up with emails, snail mails, hate-mails (in case you don’t attend) and ensure an attendance. It was in response to one such that MMM recently found himself seated in a rather tightly-packed auditorium with speaker after speaker singing the praises of a personality who sat happily absorbing all the adulation without once being sickened of the endless and obviously insincere praise. The event dragged on and on and MMM wondered what speakers number 9, 10 and 11 would have to add to what 1 to 8 had already said. MMM did not tarry long enough to find out. So obviously did several others for scarcely had MMM got up from his seat that they all followed suit as if on cue. Last heard, the acolytes and sycophants were looking for MMM. He had after all spoilt the birthday party. Baby must have bawled.


The Man from Madras Musings looks forward to the Music Season and hopes several of the readers of MM do too. Not only is the weather good and the music better, it is the food that is really the best. MMM hopes to go canteen hopping as and when his good lady relaxes her vigil. Food for the ear and feast for the stomach is how MMM looks upon the Season.

By way of preparation for the feasting ahead, MMM has been going for long walks by the beach. And as he does so, he cannot but help noticing the line of statues all along the way. It was interesting to note that all but two of the statues were provided with spotlights. This is not including the one of the Father of the Nation which is literally flooded with light. Now as to the ones that are NOT floodlit- the first is the Triumph of Labour which in any other city or country would be brightly lit and qualify as a landmark; and the second is the statue of K Kamaraj. Now what does this tell us?

The Chief no doubt on reading that will recommend that MMM writes to the HCC about it. Now what is that Chief? The Hibernating Conservation Committee?