Archive for February, 2007

Pantheon and the Bronze Gallery

There’s a certain beauty, a certain lyrical grace in the way people write about something they really like. Here’s Olivier Bernier describing the Madras Museum, from an old piece in the New York Times’ Travel section.

The museum itself, set in a rather dusty park, consists of three main buildings. Starting from the entrance, the first offers pieces that elsewhere would draw our full attention but here seem almost extraneous…It is with the second building, the Bronze Gallery, that the masterpieces begin, however; and they belong mostly to that key moment in the art of sculpture, the Chola period…The result is a series of works that rival that other era of masterpieces, the Italian Renaissance.

Do read the full piece, even if you have already.

The rape of Pallikaranai continues unabated

Despite publicity, protests, a court ruling and the selection of the Pallikaranai lake and marsh as protected wetlands and a national natural heritage area, the Chennai Corporation continues to dump garbage there daily, and burn it. The Hindu has, in the recent past, written about this, and published pictures, time and again, of the burning refuse polluting the air and choking the waterways. To the extent that the migratory birds that have, since time immemorial, flown here from places as far away as Siberia, shifted to other ponds and lakes around the city’s Southern edge.

Bombay Halwa House

Before I put pen down to paper to write this post I was wondering one thing. How on earth did I miss writing about Bombay Halwa all this while. I can say for sure that this is one place I have eaten more than at home. And this ain’t no joke. For starters who are wondering what this Bombay Halwa House is about, here it goes: It is a restaurant, atleast 25 years old, about 50metres from Luz Signal towards Vidya Mandir School. Their hallmark – Samosas and Chapathis. Their Halwas are good. Not for nothing they would call it the Bombay Halwa House.

Wondering Aloud: How does one locate someone in Chennai?

A couple of months ago, my father’s friend landed in Chennai. This friend, let us call him M, does not live in India and was visiting Chennai after twenty years. M had lost touch with most of his friends from this city and on landing here, set about locating them. The bulky yet handy Chennai Telephones directory was his first reference. He remembered most people’s names, though he was doubtful of the initials. After narrowing down each contact to a few probables from the directory, he called BSNL’s 197 service and managed to zero in on most of his friends in this city. That is how he located my father too.

In an earlier post of mine, when reader Thad.E.Ginathom referred to the BSNL Fraudband service, indicating how awful the Broadband connection as well as customer service were, I agreed with him. In fact, my parents are very unhappy with their broadband service. But my father insists that holding on to the BSNL phone connection has its uses. And being able to be located by long-lost friends is one such big plus.

Most of my friends either do not have a landline connection or if they have one, it is usually not a BSNL connection. While the service is much better than BSNL, none of these private phone companies have a comprehensive directory service. What happens when one of our lost friends wants to locate us, I wonder. Of course we have our email ids but they are not listed. Oh, what about orkut say some, which with all its ‘can we be frens’ is still a big help in connecting with ex-classmates, ex-colleagues and the like.

From a time when your number was listed unless you specifically asked to be unlisted, we have now moved to the exact opposite in phonedom. But on the Internet, in the Web 2.0 realm, unless you looked carefully, the default settings are broadcasting your story to the world. Still, I wonder, if Chennaivasi who is not a big Internet user, has a phone line with a private service provider, is to be located by his old contacts, how are they going to be able to do it?

A documentary about a Mridangam Repair Shop

Abhirami, the versatile blogger from Chennai, has shot a small 3 minute documentary about a Mridangam repair shop in Mylapore, Chennai. This is what the Channel 4 Editor has to say about the documentary.

Another in FourDocs’ expanding inventory of ‘process documentaries’. This time it’s drum repair in Chennai, India, beautifully explained in pictures with just a touch of economically used voice-over and sync to tell us what we need to know about the family business that does the repairs. Processes always require discipline from the filmmaker because the key stages can only be explained in the so-called ‘close-up cutaways’, and this film is a near perfect example.

Watch the documentary here

Chennai Sangamam

Tamil Mayam has a series of events planned for the month of February. Called the Chennai Sangamam (and with a neat tag line too – Thiruvizha, Namma theru Vizha), the festival hopes to get more people hooked on to local performing arts, street theatre, art and music. It’s on between the 20th and 26th of this month, so make sure you catch it.

I caught a whole troop of drummers and dancers on board an MTC bus this morning to work – and they can sure beat up a ruckus. The music is fantastically sprightly. If this is the way they perform on the way to their performance… Chennai Sangamam has a fascination for parks, I gather. I found a group of Kalari dancers in Mylapore’s Nageswara Rao Park. There’s something happening at T. Nagar’s Natesan Park. And, oh, Lavanya, a fellow metroblogging author points me to their website –

Be sure to catch it, and if you got photos of the event, do post it to the Metroblogging Chennai Flickr Group

Students Strike at Vivekananda College

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and are not that of the Chennai Metblog team nor Metroblogging network

Ramkrishna Mission Vivekananda College is run by the Ramkrishna Mission. There are two separate colleges, with different administrations under one roof namely the day and evening colleges. The day college is government funded while the evening college is run by the mission and is self-aided. The day college staff are government appointed and reservation as required by the Tamil Nadu Government is implemented there, while none of that exists in the evening college. The evening college staff are appointed by the Mutt, and the person who makes those appointment decisions is Sathyapriyananda. Though the evening college has a principal, the common perception amongst the students, some of whom were my friends is the college is run by Sathyapriyananda and A.S Kannan, with the principal just being there for administrative purposes.

Enga area uLLa varaadha!

Kollywood’s love-affair with the city continues. The previous expression was thru songs (Madras nalla Madras continuing into Madrasai suththi paarka poren and further into Chennai senthamizh marandhen unnaale) and landmarks (Chennaicentral ;-), LIC building and beach) and the current obsession is with localities (Pudupettai and this movie title). The only thing left with this infatuation is in the area of the Madras Ba(a)shai, which can be easily used for the titles, except that such movies may not get tax sops from the current government, since they will not meet the “Thamizh” test (examples would include “Puchchu”, “Kasmaalam” and “Jagaa” :-)).

Mandaiveli (R.A.Puram and “Vishalatchi Thoattam”) here you go :-)


For gallery, audio and video, go to Chennai600028.

Garib Rath to New Delhi flagged off

The so called ‘Garib Rath’, a weekly super fast train from Chennai to New Delhi, will be a boon for the poor traveller. The train, with its A/C coaches, will travel to Delhi in a little over 28 hours. It will start from the city (2611) on Saturdays morning 6.10 and reach Delhi on Sundays at 10.15 am. On its return (2612) it will start from New Delhi on Mondays at 4 pm and reach Chennai at 8.10 pm. Fares on the new train were not revealed in newspaper reports. The Garib Rath can travel up to a speed of 130 km/hr.
The first train was flagged off by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday.
Some readers may have travelled by Rajdhani Express to Delhi. Please leave a comparative report in the comments section.

Dont Worry David. I got it for you !

Saturday Showers and the Rays of hope

I was watching the same clouds from Villiwakkam that David was seeing from the Boat Club (or on the way to Boat Club). It was a surprise shower a few minutes before, and a few minutes later, a spectacular sight. I couldn’t get the exact aura, but thankfully the rays were still penetrating from behind the dark clouds, until I ran down the stairs to pick up my Camera.

This is what I got. Check the full-size for the “Rays of Hope”

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