Sunday, February 22, 2009

Heritage building

Arvind Adiga, author of 'The White Tiger', the Man Booker Prize winner for 2008, has strong ties to Chennai. To put it another way, Arvind's great-grandfather, Dr. U.Rama Rau was a man who contributed significantly to the development of Madras. Among the many things that Dr. Rama Rau did was to nurture the Music Academy, be a co-founder of the Indian Medical Association, establish the south Indian arms of the Red Cross and the St John's Ambulance Association, edit medical journals such as the Antiseptic and Health, all without neglecting the practice of medicine from his clinic on Thambu Chetty Street in George Town.

On a recent walk down the street, I was looking for some evidence of Dr. Rama Rau's descendents, many of who are still medical practitioners in Chennai. The closest I could get was this building: Sudharsana Building, dating from the early 20th century, housing Dr. U.Venkata Rao's clinic. It is as likely to be someone entirely unconnected with Dr. Rama Rau as not. But the combination of a heritage building (the picture of Krishna reminding one that Dr. Rau also had a pharmacy called Sri Krishnan Brothers) and the names of the doctors practicing there tilt the balance towards this being the same premises - 323, Thambu Chetty Street, George Town, Madras - that Dr. Rama Rau ran his practice from!


4 comments:

Mountainboy said...

Great to find links to a modern book in Channai, I will have to look into relatively famous things that happened in or around Weston-super-Mare.

Steffe said...

I haven't read his book yet, but it sounds interesting.

Hilda said...

It's a gorgeous building and, if you're right, with a great history too. But it looks like it desperately needs a good washing. I guess soot's a fact of life there too, huh?
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Shantaram said...

@ Mountainboy: And I'm sure you'll find many!

@ Steffe: I haven't read the book either, but I don't think it has much to do with Chennai, anyway!

@ Hilda: Also, this is rather close to the harbour - the sea air and the soot make for a lot of drabness :(