Yesterday was a light one in terms of Madras Week activity. Answered a lot of emails and ignored several more. Did you know that  Chennai is home to The Indian Society for Extra Terrestrial Studies? Calling itself INSET. I got a mail from its Director saying I should give him a missed call (why?). I think I will prefer to remain a UFO (unfamiliar object). I have never liked Star Wars or Asimov.


In the afternoon I went to the Lalit Kala Akademi to see the works of the Chennai Weekend Artistes. The CWA, whom we featured a couple of years ago at the Madras Musings lectures, is one of those delightful informal groups that go a long way in making our city an intellectual paradise. They gang up every weekend and go to any place that takes their fancy. There they set up easels and things and sketch. Their output is phenomenal. My favourite is Balaji Venugopal but there are several talented others. The display was great.


In the evening we had the Madras Musings programme at The Amethyst. This was a panel discussion on Chennai’s style quotient. Rosella Stephen of Indulge, Indian Express moderated. She had put together a great panel comprising Tanvi Shah (I have known of her as a cyclist long before she became a celebrated international award winning singer), Shreya Reddy, Vivek Karunakaran and Sunder Ram. All marquee names and I must say the discussion was full of life. It energised the whole evening. It is always nice to feature programmes with these confident youngsters.


We had a different kind of crowd today. The fashion blog writer Sushmita Agarwal (@misspinkshoes26), Geeta Doctor who probably taught Chennai what style was long before it became the in thing, and several others. But the usual predators were there. This being a fashion evening, Wooly Mammoth wore bright red while the Boa had an extra load of jewellery. Sleeveless Wonder came wrapped in an Iyappa orange shawl and drew comment from one of the panellists. I am concerned about Gorilla. I think he is not well. His food intake has practically halved. Just around eight quiches and 15 cookies was his quota yesterday. I think acidity may be the issue for I am pretty sure he was the one who belched loudly in the middle of the panel discussion.

I had to go to Amethyst at 5 yesterday for meeting someone and was stunned to see The Wig already seated. This was for our programme beginning 6.30! A new addition to my collection of odds and ends is a man with a small moustache and who wears a kurta kind of shirt under a coat/jacket. I seriously think he has something to do with the detective world. For the first two days of the week he was all solicitous attention to Sushi Ravindranath who withdrew sharply when he referred to her as an elder. He is there everyday. The Vulture was absent. I also notice that the hairy eared, shorts wearing prof from the US is giving us a miss this year.

The Chief came and grumbled and growled about the food predators. He and Sarada withdrew into a corner and discussed the menace for a while. I strongly suspect that this duumvirate will come up with some loony scheme to control the crowds next year which I will have to implement.

By the way, guess who were the best dressed people yesterday evening if the panelists were to be believed? Sushi, her sister Sumi who is a yoga queen in Malaysia and probably levitates here, Sarada, The Chief (of all people. Rosella referred to his sweater and he corrected her saying it was a cardigan) and my friend SR Madhu. Nobody noticed me or my cuff links (garnet mounted on silver). I was mollified somewhat when at a late night dinner with a few close friends, it was much talked about. Cuff links are my great weakness. I have several pairs.

Mathangi Srinivasamurthi wanted me to identify the various food predators by genus. I gave her a guided tour. She informs me that the Boa later harangued a select group on how inappropriately dressed some of the panellists were. But that did not prevent the Boa from doing well at the tea table.

Crawling into bed at midnight realised, probably as an outcome of the panel discussion, that I was scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as my wardrobe is concerned. These daily outings are taking their toll. I hate to repeat what I wear during the week. And on that note dahlings….