Madras Week is back again and each year The Man from Madras Musings finds he is asked the same questions in interview after interview. This has resulted in MMM getting increasingly bored with the answers and he therefore has decided to compile the questions that he would like to avoid for all time to come:
1. Don’t you think you must lead a campaign to get the city renamed Madras? – No MMM does not intend wasting his time on anything like that. If the name has changed so be it.
2. Did Pacchayappa Mudaliar bathe in the Cooum? – Not having been close enough to the old man to hand him his towel when he emerged in the all together from the waters, MMM does not know.
3. Why can we not get back to the good old British days when there was boating on the Cooum? First of all there were no “good old British days” and secondly, there was never any boating on the Cooum until a post-Independence Chief Minister introduced it.
4. What do you think of Madras Bhashai sir? You really want MMM to answer, and if so, can MMM do so by addressing you in some choice Madras Bhashai swear words please?
5. Why was the Long Tank filled to form T Nagar? Considering that it happened a few decades before MMM was born, he has nothing to say.
6. Was Kodambakkam really named Ghoda Baugh after the Nawab’s horse stables? No it wasn’t and before you ask let MMM assure you that Nungambakkam is not from Nunga Baugh and therefore from the Nawab’s Nudist Colony.
7. Is it true that Chetpet is named after Namberumal Chetty? Yes sure, only it took on that name around 150 years before the man was born. In the same vein, Avadi is not an acronym for Armoured Vehicles and Defence Industries, as the name figures in records from the 1860s at least, long before armoured vehicles were used.
8. And so this is Madras’ 380th birthday? (Yes, yes from Raj apologists and No, no from the others) – Well it is a yes and a no. It is 380 for the colonial city but that is nothing when compared to the age of some the villages that got absorbed into it.
9. People are saying there is no historic basis for 22nd August being declared Madras Day. Comment? Yes sure they are correct. But they don’t appear to object to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Friendship Day etc on the basis of the same logic. Why not Madras Day?
And so, until next Madras Week…
join me on the Heritage Tour of Fort St George