This article was written as a rejoinder a fortnight after Madras Musings went slightly overboard and published a story that claimed JJ Road was named after the person who made those initials famous.

JJ Road - pic courtesy keeping
JJ Road – pic courtesy keeping

It was yet another morning at the old magazine and The Man from Madras Musings lazily switched on his computer to see if there were any emails from ye faithfulle readership. And having seen, he continued seeing with a wild surmise rather in the manner of stout Cortez’s men on a peak at Darien. On a usual day there would at most be one or may be two e-mails, most of them complaining about the non-receipt of Musings but this day was evidently special for there were around two dozen e-mails, each beginning with the coldly-worded, Dear Sir, You may not be aware… etc. The old magazine had got the people’s goat by publishing that story on how JJ Road was named after the late lamented CM.

Not so roared the populace. There were a number of how-could-yous, especially from those who quoted from what we had published several years ago on how this was named after a Junker not from Germany but from a Jaghir close by. MMM could only say in MM’s defence that Homer had nodded. However, it is an ill-wind that blows absolutely no good and MMM is glad to report that is was not one of those. It had as a positive outcome a phone call from a dear friend of MMM, a Star married to a Flute so to speak, who had a fairly rollicking tale to relate about yonder JJ Road.

This name, said the Star, had nothing to do with the Jaghired Junker. It was merely that the Corporation of Madras had divided the area into various axes named AA, BB etc., and this road happened to fall on the JJ axis. It was therefore marked thus and left that way. And so it remained. That the Junker of the Jaghir happened to own property close by was just a coincidence, said Star, who also added that everything jj is not necessarily JJ. And then she added that there had been an attempt to have the road renamed after an illustrious personage, the move being spearheaded by his widow. This apparently was strongly objected to by a society matron on the same road on the grounds that she had printed letterheads bearing the address as JJ Road and now these would all go waste. The idea was therefore dropped.

It later transpired that the society matron was not motivated by reasons of economy but Envy & Jealousy (EJ). That EJ had an ulterior motive soon came to light when one morning she declared that the road would henceforth be known after her (still living) husband. She even had the signboards repainted to reflect the latest name, making it EJ Road though it is unclear as to whether she obtained sanction from the Corporation. The matter however did not end there. On seeing a road named after the still living husband, many of his friends assumed he was dead and began coming around offering condolences, some of them bearing wreaths and dressed in black. The (still living) husband was as sick as mud over this and so the signboards went back to JJ from EJ.

By then, it was the done thing to be JJ and so nobody dared attempt any further name changes. The signboards were left in peace as were society matron’s letterheads. Sadly, society matron was not fated to be amongst us for long to gloat over her notepaper. Her husband however, is still living. Thus ended Star’s tale. MMM realises that there is a moral to the story, but is not able to exactly pinpoint as to what that is. In the meanwhile, the road continues to remain JJ Road, not named after the JJ you thought or the Junker who assumed it was after him but just a pair of initials celebrating an axis.