Have you been to the Royapettah hospital of late? Before you take offence, let The Man from Madras Musings assure all of you that he does not wish you ill. All he means is that he wonders if you have recently passed by that historic edifice. In case you have, you may know what MMM is writing about.

Till a couple of years ago, this noble pile, by which MMM means the old building, was painted a sickly pink. It was then painted yellow for a while and then one day reverted to the old pink. Then there came a day last year when it became red, more or less the same shade as Central Station. And mind you, it did not look bad at all, particularly after the borders and the ornamental brick arches were painted white to give it a nice contrast. The compound wall, however, remained a prominent eyesore. It always had posters on it and some were of such a lascivious nature that many a motorist would pause to gaze rapturously at them, only to be collided with at the rear by someone who did not pause to stand and stare.

Such accidents were more or less commonplace here and the locals had perfected a routine. The police would continue resting near a tree unless it was a particularly disruptive incident. In all other cases, those from nearby shops would direct traffic, the soda-vendor would give the injured a cooling drink and, after the usual colourful exchange of words of endearment between the collider and the collided, everyone would go his respective way.

For years the hospital and the local councillor put up appeals on the wall requesting that it be spared of posters. They grew plants below it to prevent easy access but that only added to the problem for the bushes provided a convenient place for committing nuisance, this despite a pay and use toilet being a stone’s throw away. And then someone in the hospital decided to take matters in hand. The wall was scraped and given a rough finish to prevent posters being pasted. The bushes were removed and the wall was painted white. It looked lovely till the hospital no doubt discovered that it had a stock of green paint. For some reason they decided that the compound wall was the best place for it. And so bilious green clashes with the red and white. MMM shuts his eyes each time he drives by. Hopefully he will not be collided with.

You may also want to read the following stories on Royapettah:

Running about in Royapettah

A brief profile of Royapettah

Old Woodlands Hotel

Memorial to a multifaceted man

Dr KN Kesari, a profile

The Kesari High School