The Man from Madras Musings stood at the gate of this historic precinct in our city. He had been invited by some of the higher ups in the place to conduct a heritage tour for the benefit of some school children and college students. MMM was familiar with the premises, having conducted several walks there in the past. But those were all mixed groups – young and old together and MMM had held them all spellbound, with even hard-nosed businessmen weeping at certain crucial moments. But a gaggle of children and what’s more some college kids? MMM was really nervous.

He had been asked to present himself at the gate at 6.00 am for a 6.30 am event and there he was at the appointed hour, faced with what looked like a sea of school children, their teachers having a tough time in keeping them together. MMM could only pity all of them – kids, whose parents who must have got up at an unearthly hour and also the teachers, who too must have stirred with the lark. But of the college students there was no sign. The authorities suggested that MMM had better wait till they, the college students landed up. And so, everyone waited. After half an hour, there being no signs of the students and the school marms getting restless, MMM wandered off to check on a group of youngsters who had been clicking selfies at various places on the premises. It transpired that they were the college students. The security officer of the premises having been informed, he herded them in and there was a flowery introduction to MMM.

The school children listened attentively. The college lot clicked selfies.

The tour began, the school children asking questions while the college lot took selfies. MMM waxed eloquent on personalities, places, portraits and pestilence – the children listened and laughed at the right places but as for the college students, they remained selfie bound. It was all that MMM could do to hold himself in from pouncing on them and impounding the phones. The journey eventually wound to a close but not before a stage wait outside the residence of the managing director of the historic premises, as that great personage wanted to take a (you guessed it) selfie with the group. But he did not emerge from his lair for quite a while. The school kids began to get restless though the college students, to give them due credit, did not complain, so involved were they in their selfies. After quite some time, news filtered down that MD sir was busy in a meeting (MMM overheard a whispered conversation that he was on his treadmill and if that be the truth MMM fervently hopes the he, the MD, soon trips over his (the MD’s) shoelaces and sprains his (the MD’s) back), and so could everyone move on.

The tour ended eventually (and here the college students had to be told that it had ended) and everyone assembled for a formal vote of thanks. MMM was given a memento while the audience clapped. Everyone barring the college students that is, for their hands were otherwise occupied. 

As MMM was beginning to walk away, he found his way barred. The college students had come together and had a request. Could MMM please pose for a selfie with them as it was such a memorable experience? MMM obliged.

Join MMM on his Kathai Kalai Paramparyam Tour on Dec 14