Now let me see, what did I do yesterday?
First off, got an email from Vidya Nagarajan asking as to how she can get the place mats that celebrate Madras history. Put her in touch with Sushi Natraj and may this see the mats becoming regularly made gift material. While on the subject of Sushi Natraj, I must add that like last year, she and her Inner Wheel 323 friends led by President Shama Prasanna, have put up banners on Chennai’s heritage at Nageswara Rao Park and elsewhere. She sent us a few photos.
Karthik Bhatt called to say he addressed the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce on the history of Chennai. He was gifted with a toaster. An ideal present for the good Bhatt is shortly to enter the holy state of matrimony. He can now rule out toasters from the gifts list at the bridal shower. I brooded quite a bit over the way the food vanished yesterday at the Crowne Plaza, the 80/20 rule being enforced – 20 percent of the attendees hogged 80 percent of the food and if I am not mistaken the plates and forks as well. I then came up with a strategy to handle the food riots this evening as and when they break out.
In the afternoon went to Sir PS Sivaswami Kalalaya to address the students on the heritage around them. Was met by friend and godmother Dr Prema Kasturi who is now Secretary of the School. Addressed the students using the Past Forward app to display the heritage structures around them. I think it went off well. From there I toodled off to the beach to try the Indian Express bus ride. Came away unimpressed. The bus was shabby to begin with. It was hot inside and so I clambered to the open deck. Several others were there, including an MC who decided to make it the most cheapo event possible. There were too many hangers on from the bus company, the newspaper and an eatery, all talking on cell phones and shouting instructions to each other. The obligatory Sri Krishna sweets packet and a bottle of water was given to us and the bus lurched off down the Marina service road. Half way past the Gandhi statue it reversed and came back to starting point. Nobody had a clue as to what was going on. I got off at the Gandhi statue and communioned with the Mahatma for a while (he is my all time hero) and then drove off, a sadly disappointed but wiser man. It’s a pity that such a good idea as that bus ride should have come unstuck in the execution.
In the evening went to Chamiers for Sadanand Menon’s talk. The place was bursting at the seams even at 6.00 pm. By 6.30 it was getting fuller. I then put my food regulation plan into action. Having announced that refreshments were served I stationed myself with the serving staff and get an eagle eye on how much each of the freeloaders was having. The Vulture tried his best to get a second cutlet but was quelled by a single look. The Gorilla for some reason abstained from eating. I guess all that hogging at the Crowne Plaza must have affected his stomach. Not so young as he was once I suppose. In his heyday he could polish off high teas on all eight days with a rare élan and be none the worse for it. The camp one made eyes at me but to no avail.
Sadanand’s talk was fabulous, bringing Chandralekha to life. As part of his talk he read a prose poem that she had written on Madras. At the end of the presentation he played a 15-minute PTI documentary on her. It was then that I realised that her written English was far better than her spoken one. I would have loved to have known this lady. It is a pity I was too young to know of her when she was alive.