And, so, Chief, the task was done. The Man from Madras Musings alludes to the celebrating of 25 years of ye olde magazine aka Madras Musings. People are still talking about the event. You were, of course, in your element as Cecil B DeMille, commandeering diverse teams of authors, editors, printers, page setters and a designer into bringing out the book compiling some of the best of our output. And in the process of celebrating 25 years, MMM believes that you got many of them to age by the same number. The designer had to go off to the hills to recuperate, she having been found walking in her sleep muttering about monotype Garamond or Helvetica, MMM forgets which.
The evening too was of the best, what with the bold, the beautiful and the powerful of Madras rolling up in droves. Two hundred people you predicted, Chief, and sure enough they were there, all two hundred of them. Captains of industry, prima donnas from the world of art and cuisine, fashionistas, readers, newspaper editors, writers, should-have-been-writers, never-should-have-been-writers, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, everyone was there. And, yes, they’d all come to meet you Chief, to paraphrase from the famed song. Even the silk baron was there. And MMM noticed that he tried to touch your feet, Chief, but being somewhat stiff had to hold on to one of your hands with one hand while with the other he stooped to conquer.
Recherché was the word that one of the speakers uttered and that in MMM’s opinion summed up much of the evening. People had come to participate mainly to express their happiness in the success of something rare and exotic – a non-commercial venture that has as its plank the sole motive of giving something worthwhile to read concerning our past and our culture. That this should have survived at all is something nobody would have betted on. But it has and this was enough for people to celebrate.
The attendance of the distaff side was in the majority and MMM was not surprised at that, knowing what a killer you are, Chief, with the opposite sex. There was one who called MMM repeatedly and cadged an invitation from him on the grounds that she had once learnt the rudiments of writing from you. MMM had to allow her in but drew the line firmly when she said she was baking a cake to be brought and cut at the venue. Knowing you, Chief, you would not have minded, but Captains of Industry who were also present would have looked askance. Talking about same cake-baking lady, Chief, MMM recalls that you gave no sign of recognition when you met her, Chief. But MMM understands, for he recalls that Don Juan and Casanova had the same problem.
What a relief it was, Chief, to have an audience that laughed at the right places and, more importantly, did not fall upon the food rather in the manner of natives of famine-stricken lands. The hotel staff in particular was delighted at this. This venue was one of the worst hit by the food predators of Madras Week fame. This time around we more than made amends. The food was top class. The menu, so MMM understands, was drawn up entirely by you, Chief. The names of the dishes were rather difficult on the tongue but the preparations were a delight. In keeping with our city, however, what those in attendance liked most was the curd rice! But MMM did notice that the quiches and the tempura too kept emptying as if by magic.
It was gratifying, Chief, that the A-musing lady who spoke mentioned MMM. What delighted MMM even more was The Man with the Midas Touch (MMT) spoke of MMM’s good lady, also known as She Who Must Be Obeyed. According to MMT, it was She who diffused the situation so many years ago when MMM, young and not so innocent then, wrote that infamous piece about women from Madras going around in public clad in their nightgowns. There was hell to pay, if you recall, Chief, with Lovely Lass from Lancashire (LLL) in particular being mightily offended. By the way, Chief, you must ask A-musing Lady to tell you someday about how LLL, who wrote the section on Books and Authors for the commemorative volume, lost most of her script after writing it. MMM was appealed to, but he pleaded helplessness (and, no, he was not harbouring a grudge about the nightie or negligee episode). In the end, A-musing Lady had to step in and help LLL out, which is how you have that particular section in the commemorative volume.
Speaking of the commemorative volume, Chief, it appears to be majorly in demand. MMM has had to handle several callers all wanting to know as to where they can get the book. So you better put out the details soon. We don’t want them all beating a tattoo to our office do we?
As they were leaving, some people had already begun speculating on how the Madras Musings golden jubilee would be, Chief. MMM suggests that you better get on with the planning. Let’s have a meeting with your usual team of authors, editors, and the designer, once she has recovered from the current experience that is.