Friday, November 2, 2012
In a strange way, this area between Nungambakkam and Egmore seems to be some kind of banking hub. There are a couple of representative offices of foreign banks up ahead on this road. Then there is the large Standard Chartered Bank complex on Haddows Road. The State Bank of India however beats all of them because not only does it have its 'LHO' - Local Head Office - here, but it also has quite a number of Officers' Quarters just behind the LHO.
This building is obviously a fairly recent one. The State Bank of India, as you may know, has its roots in the Presidency Banks of the early 19th century. For a long while, the erstwhile headquarters of the Bank of Madras served as the LHO for State Bank of India as well. It was probably about a dozen years or so ago that the LHO moved into this building. In doing so, SBI went against the grain, picking a spot that was not on 'Main Street', so to say. However, once the big daddy of India's banks came in, it became the main street, almost by default.
The one thing that is mysterious about this is the building's name. "Circletop House" conjures up an Enid Blyton-esque image, that's quite far removed from the business of banking. But that's the name of this building. Try as I could, I was unable to spot any circular appendages on the roof of the building!