There are small but sure signs that ye olde Madras Week is beginning to punch above its weight and is all set on the road to bigger things. The first indication was when Heir Apparent for Long and now Chief Minister in Waiting (for a long while), tweeted his greetings to the people of the city on the occasion of Madras Week. And there was a Minister who mentioned this hitherto unmentionable event by name and wished everyone on the occasion.
There was also a once Power(ful) Star now in a phase of load shedding, who decided to make a grand appearance towards the end of one of the Madras Musings events, just to smile at everyone. Penguin, who it appears was in the know about the arrival, beamed at the the man and offered him his seat. This, the celebrity was not too keen on accepting – a sentiment that MMM fully concurred with. Given the quantity that penguin ate, it would have been risky to sit where he had roosted. And so old Power(ful) gravitated to the third row and sat there. To give him due credit, he listened intently to what was going on, even though there was just about five minutes of it left.
At the end of the Q&A session, one of the celebrity’s acolytes rushed to MMM and presented his, the acolyte’s, card, rather in the manner of an ambassador presenting credentials to a monarch. With a low bow he then said that the Electric Star was here and so could MMM make a mention of him? Now MMM is too seasoned a veteran for all that and so he pretended not to have heard.
Elsewhere in the city, a television channel tried its best to get MMM to participate in a debate on whether Madras Week was at all necessary. MMM said he would rather abstain as he really did not see any reason for a long debate. If you liked the city you celebrated and if you did not feel up to it, nobody could force you to. That was not the point said the caller. There was a film director who had commented that those who really made Chennai great had “all been driven away from the city and others were trying to cash in and celebrate,” and so could MMM counter this. MMM decided that he would rather not. But it did make him wonder as to who these people who made Chennai great and who later had to flee were. Could it be the British? Or the Telugu-speaking people? MMM has no clue and he is fairly certain that the director had none either.
Lastly, did you know that posters were actually put up around the Chintadripet-Park Town area celebrating August 22nd as the day to honour Damarla Chennappa Nayak, the man whose son granted the land to the British and also lent his name to the city? While MMM is not so certain as to how old Chennappa looked, and in the poster he does resemble a wrestler, he is rather glad that the old man is being remembered. MMM also wonders as to whether this community celebrating the man could offer a suitable counter to the film director referred to above.