Now that it has solved all problems facing our State The Man from Madras Musings notes that the Government, such as it is, has moved on to matters of greater pith and moment, namely the commemoration of the original matinee idol who founded the party in power. First on the anvil is a commemorative arch that is to come up (where else?) on the Marina. It will in time keep company with other memorial arches on the same stretch – the University 150-year arch, the Legislature Diamond Jubilee arch, the Napier Bridge which is a series of arches, the Anna Memorial that has an arch and the strange two-leaf- turned-upside-down arch that fronts the original memorial to the matinee idol. To what purpose a memorial arch when the leader already has a far-too grandiose and grotesque a memorial in the same place is a matter to ponder over, only for those who are not party to such decisions.
Even more ridiculous is the decision to rename Central Station after matinee idol. It will therefore be Matinee Idol Station pretty soon, keeping company with Former-Prime-Minister-of-India General Hospital, which chugged along for years without that wholly unnecessary prefix. MMM hears from insiders that the principal argument put forward in support of this wholly unnecessary renaming was that if Bombay (sorry Mumbai) could rename Victoria Terminus after Chatrapati Shivaji, then why not Chennai do the same with Central. To this, MMM has only one counter – Central was not the name of any colonial King Emperor or Queen Empress. It merely indicated a location.
Why this rush to name the station after Matinee Idol who left us all in deep sorrow over three decades ago? Apparently, the fear among those in power (yes we all know the old adage – uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, even if it be in this instance only half a crown) is that there was considerable loss of face over the fracas leading to the burial at the beach of the Old Man in the Opposition. It is felt that these acts of renaming and arch building could result in gaining of some lost ground. Be that as it may, our beloved Central will soon join the long list of places, roads, buildings, colleges, schools and other what-have-you that are already named after Matinee Idol.
MMM wondered about the silence of the opposition when it came to this decision. Eternal Youth Leader, thought MMM, would surely have had something to say over this. And then it struck MMM – EYL too has a late-lamented leader to commemorate. He must be earmarking the Egmore Station for this honour, or who knows, the eternally-in-planning-stage international airport that is supposed to be built somewhere. If not anything else, he can surely manage a commemorative arch on the Marina.