Taking off from where the man from madras musings left on Monday , there is more to tell. But before that, have you registered for the heritage walk on Commander in Chief Road/Ethiraj Salai to be held on Sunday 17th? If not, please do so now by clicking here 

Now to get on with the story –

And so the great day arrived with the Mega Man of the Moment (MMM) taking the Chinese visitor around and showing him all the monuments of Mamallapuram. The man from madras musings (for the use of lower case please see explanation), watched on TV as MMM walked around explaining to his guest with what appeared to be fluid ease all about the stone sculptures around the place. He (MMM) waved his hands, pointed hither and thither and nodded with avuncular affection at the edifices. Watching all this mmm could not help reflect on what a pleasure it must all be, to go around the monuments at a time when they are floodlit, the touts, guides and vendors have been cleared off and the place is garbage free. Casual visitors don’t have it so good. Anyway, mmm rejoiced at the good fortune that had come to Mamallapuram.

He has however since come to know that not everyone in the world of heritage in this our city has been equally happy. The buzz has it that quite a few amateurs, and that is what most heritage enthusiasts in this city including mmm are, fancied their chances of leading the PM and the Chinese President on a heritage walk down Mamallapuram way. It is reliably learnt by mmm that the concerned ministries were flooded with self-promoting testimonials of what they know, what they can do and what they propose to say. Some even included photographs of themselves apparently. All of which, according to mmm’s informants, cut no ice for MMM had decided to act as guide himself. And so there was much gnashing of teeth. The only silver lining according to these disappointed hopefuls is that nobody else got selected either.

But even that joy was denied the world of classical dance, which as mmm very well knows is filled with hate, malice, avarice and jealousy, no matter that none of these feaure in the nine emotions that dancers love to portray on stage. Apparently, there has been much lamenting and rending of the veil over the fact that MMM had chosen the Temple of Arts for presenting a cultural programme for the benefit of the distinguished visitor. The greater fear as mmm understands is that the present High Priestess of the Temple may have impressed MMM sufficiently enough with her quiet efficiency to qualify for a lotus award. That of course will come to light only in January but in the meanwhile, other dancers are biting their nails in suspense. Hell, as is well known, hath no fury like a dancer scorned for the lotus award.

If at all delight reigns untrammelled in any section of society it happens to be in that comprising the devotees of MMM. They rejoice at the arrival of the PM, his wearing local dress (held up no doubt by a One Belt One Rope initiative), his leading the Chinese leader around and making a success of it all. This means the lotus party has as good as swept the State say the devotees. They also claim that this visit will transform yonder seaside sculpture town into a mega tourist destination. mmm is not so sure. He sincerely hopes that hordes of tourists don’t descend on the town for it has no infrastructure to handle such an influx. Entertaining two elderly men is fine but not taking on the demands of millions. And if that were to happen, our State Government may take to beautifying the place and we all know what that means don’t we?

On an aside, the residents of the Old Mamallapuram Road are a relieved lot now that the informal visit by the Mega Man of the Moment and his Chinese friend are over. For almost a week all dustbins in the area were confiscated according to private laments received by the man from madras musings. Now they are all back and the garbage overflows once again. Chennai is back to its old ways.

In the meanwhile, all mmm can promise is a heritage walk at Ethiraj Salai. So do join in.