“Uncle,” cried the young one in distress. “Only you can help.” It was another of those damsels who are harried by heartless editors to turn out 600 words within twenty minutes on subjects they know nothing about. This lass was asked to send in a story on place names in Chennai that had been corrupted from their English originals. And she had decided to apply to her new-found uncle-at-large, namely the Maama, sorry, The Man from Madras Musings.

It is always the same every Madras Week. MMM is besieged by such calls. One lady said she had a day to cover locations where murders had taken place in Madras and could MMM take her around? What did she take MMM for? Jack the Ripper? Yet another wanted to know if MMM could fill her in on historic colleges that had statues and heritage buildings in their campuses. And when MMM asked her if she knew about WCC she replied that MMM need not be rude just because she was new to the topic.

Having grown wiser over the years, MMM asked the young ’un who had called regarding place names as to what homework she had done on the subject. Well, she said, she had not done any. Whereupon MMM said rather coldly that he was not so jobless as to be doing her work for her and could she please call him after she had done some original research? This did not go down very well, but there was nothing to be done against MMM’s obdurate stance and so the conversation ended. A parting request was whether MMM could please explain what Thiru Alli Keni meant. MMM said that it denoted a sacred lily tank. This did not sound very convincing to the party of the other part and so perhaps she asked for a second opinion. Sure enough the story appeared the next day and there was Triplicane, now metamorphosed to Thiru Valli Keni. It also had an explanation in parenthesis – (Murugan’s CONCERT Tank). Quite a musical god, our quick gun Murugan.