Government House, Madras on a pocket watch

The Man from Madras Musings has often been accused of being cheeky in this column but whatever fun he has got out of it has been at the expense of his cheeks alone and not anyone else’s. Which is why last week’s news item and what followed thereafter concerning the Governor and the Journalist made MMM sit up and take notice. The incumbent of that high office has since explained it all saying he did it in an avuncular, and not amorous, fashion. The lady has been gracious enough to accept the apology and not let the worm i’the bud feed on her damask cheek as Shakespeare put it so well. Others have been up in arms demanding the Governor’s resignation but to MMM it appears that His Excellency is in here for a long haul and is as snug as a bug in a rug. Others can protest till they are blue in the face.

What made the old man do it is what puzzled MMM. After all, you don’t go patting any random person’s cheek no matter how grandfatherly you felt. And then it all came to MMM- it was the miasma of the office that made him do it. Just look back at the post of Governor of Madras and you will know. Take Francis Day, the first incumbent (all right Chief – he was not Governor but something else)- he was known for his successes with the opposite sex. And when he went, the woman he left behind was handed over to Greenhill, who in the fullness of time became Governor himself. Thereafter we had Elihu Yale, of whom the less said the better. Suffice it to say that many women of Madras went about claiming to be Mrs Yale, while the real holder of that title retired to England in high dudgeon. Hastings had his Marian and he was not even married to her. What is more, there was even a Mr Marian with an unpronounceable German name (MMM is fairly certain it had a Von to it) alongside. As for Connemara, what can MMM say other than that he was perhaps more sinned against than sinning but that is not what the jury and the Judges believed. He (Connemara, not MMM) had to resign under a cloud, and all because he (Connemara and not MMM) took a great shine for a niece who was also married to his aide-de-camp. In MMM’s view being a fond uncle, as also doting grandfather with long hands, can be dangerous.

Closer to our times, let MMM remind readers of the widower Governor who came to Madras and fell head over heels in love with a prominent social worker. He followed her about like a lamb but was disappointed when the lady married someone else, en secondes noces as the expression is. But that did not in any way sour his friendship with ye olde social worker and he still came to all her events and was a pillar of support. And in very recent times, we have had at least one episode of where the holder of the highest elected office in our State accused the Governor of misbehaving with her.

It is all in the air. With so much having happened in the past in that historic office, there must have been an unseen force, most likely Connemara’s ghost, that made the Governor, who had probably just lifted his hand to scratch his cheek, extend it and pat someone else’s. They call it the fourth dimension in supernatural studies.