Chennai is a city, Madras is an emotion – so runs a slogan that is regularly fished out each time Madras Week comes. It delights the pro-Madras gang and sets the teeth of the Chennai clique on edge. On a similar vein, Madras Week it appears is also some kind of an emotion. The Man from Madras Musings will not be surprised if there are still some events being conducted somewhere in the city. And why not? After all, we do not have any official record of ChenRas (MadNai does not sound nice) being founded on a particular date do we?

And so it was that MMM found himself, long after ­Madras Week was over, going to deliver a talk at the Temple of the Arts, founded by Auntie. MMM arrived after a long drive in the midst of pouring rain and then having shared an umbrella with a hostess of sorts, reached the venue. Inside was a densely packed throng of students, all sitting cross-legged, the only emotion on their faces, barring two or three, being of a dull resignation. MMM does not blame them. Imagine living in a wooded garden of Eden and the rains coming down heavily. What you then want is to sit in a verandah, enjoy the peace and have a hot cup of tea. You do not want to listen to a bald, bespectacled man going on about Madras.

MMM was duly handed a mic, which no doubt owing to the wet weather and dear Auntie not having bothered much about insulation, gave MMM a nasty shock. You should have seen the laughter that erupted among the audience. MMM put away the mic thereafter and relied on his own voice. The audience returned to its dull sense of resignation. It duly clapped at the end, no doubt out of a sense of relief. Oh by the way, no tea was forthcoming. Auntie, it transpired, was anti tea.