Friday, November 30, 2012

Water clubs

There they are, some visitors to the Royal Madras Yacht Club, getting into the boats for a spin around the harbour. The club itself operates out of the building in the background. 

If you visit the RMYC and get into the first floor of that building, you are bound to see a bunch of fishing rods and other angling gear stored there. That's because the Anglers' Club, India uses the building as their base!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Most often, if you are headed south along the Marina, you would go down Santhome High Road to get to your destination. But if you are a bit late in the morning - I guess after 9 am - you will be turned away at the light house and told to go along the road that starts off at Nochhikuppam, goes through Doomingkuppam and gets back to the Santhome High Road at Pattinapakkam. It is not a very scenic drive, despite being on the beach and having the Bay of Bengal right next to the road. 

But it takes you to a different Chennai. One where the fishermen still get out before the dawn cracks and get back in time for you to buy fresh catch for your lunch, or if you wish, a late breakfast. If you are running late, driving on this road - very grandly labelled "Foreshore Estate Promenade" on the map - think about those who have finished their first shift of work and have brought their boats back to park on the beach!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prayer hall

As far as its history as a part of Madras goes, West Mambalam does not have much; there were probably a few villages on the western side of the Long Tank, but little remains of them today. It was only after the Long Tank was filled during the 1910s that this area came into its own.  

Given that vintage of its surroundings, this 58-year old hall is a venerable institution. It had its beginnings during the Rama Navami celebrations in the year 1954. K. Subramania Iyer felt that the good folks of West Mambalam deserved their own celebrations rather than having to run across to those in neighbouring areas. Spurred on by his friend Srinivasa Rao, they approached Vepathur Venkatarama Iyer who shelled out Rs.25 as his donation; buoyed by this, 'KS' and Rao sought contributions from other residents of the area. With a princely sum of Rs.242, the first Rama Navami celebrations at West Mambalam were conducted for nine days in a thatched shed on Bhaktavatsalam Street. 

Vepathur Venkatarama Iyer continued to support this fledgling effort, when KS and Rao, now with a few others helping them, wanted to create a permanent hall for the celebrations. It was Iyer's support that helped them secure the 10,000 sft space on which this hall stands today. Dedicated to the Lord Rama, it was named the Ayodha Ashwamedha Maha Mandapam. Drop those two words in the middle and anyone will show you the way to the focal landmark of today's West Mambalam!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brand launch

Was at a book launch this evening, at the Landmark store in Chennai Citi Centre. It wasn't one of your regular books - this was about how 'SuperStar' has evolved to be a brand and about what product brands can learn from the 'SuperStar'. Titled 'Grand Brand Rajini', it connects different aspects of the man to the field of Brand Management.

On stage (right) are the two authors, PC Bala Subramanian and Ram N. Ramakrishnan. With the mike is the chief guest, a star in his own right, is Balki, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Lowe Lintas (India). Balki was pointing out how 'SuperStar' has becoming a brand by staying true to himself and thereby true to what his 'consumers' expected from him. 

That view was echoed by the fourth person on stage - Lata Rajinikanth, who talked about how the 'SuperStar' was as a person. Anecdotes that only burnished the shine of the 'SuperStar'. With such a launch, I'm sure the book will be a grand success!

Monday, November 26, 2012


How many mobile phone towers does Chennai city have? Surely somebody must be keeping an exact count, but the closest estimate seems to be "around 5,000". Apparently, their number is unregulated, probably because it doesn't involve digging up roads or "pulling cables". 

The statuette at the corner of Ayodha Mandapam's frontage shows a different form of wireless communication than provided by the tower in the background. The cables in front of it are of course universal to Chennai's streets.

From September, there has been a spurt in the number of mobile phone towers - thanks to the DoT's order to reduce the radiation from each tower to a tenth of what it used to be. Has that helped in getting calls through? Or do we rely on having to trumpet our message across?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Misty morning

It was not the earliest of mornings; much of the city was up and about already. But it is a Sunday, so there is that extra round of gossip when collecting the milk, catching up with the neighbour's newspaper, and suchlike things happening even as the clock was getting to 7am.

It is a great time to be in Chennai. Crisp mornings, not so hot days and early evenings. The rain staying away is not good, but it comes with the blessing of dry streets. 

View from Brindavan Street, towards the subway that takes you to the heart of Chennai's shopping.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chintadripet church

That was the functional name accorded to the church that was set up in 1843 in Chintadripet. Situated on Arunachala Mudali Street, this church was ministered to by a succession of family members for over a hundred years. All of them are descendants of Cuddalore Arumugam, who in 1733 became the first Indian to be ordained a Protestant pastor, taking on the name S. Aaron. Aaron's great grandson, Rev. William Thomas Sathianadhan was assigned to the Chintadripet Church in 1863. By that time, the church had constructed its building - something that happened in 1847 itself. It was expanded in 1880 and then again in 1912. 

It was Rev. Sathianadhan who renamed it the Zion Church; after his time, his son in law, Rev. W.D. Clarke took over as pastor and the family connection continued through his son and grandson. The last Clarke, of the fourth generation, served as the pastor until 1972. 

Apart from the pastors, the other long-running association this church has is a pipe-organ, which was brought from England in 1895. Renovated in 2006, it continues to add music to the church choir to this day!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mixed message

On noticing this sign, one is reminded of a post that has been circulating for a while, claiming that if the first and last letters are correct, the jumbling up of other letters does not  make it difficult for us to understand what is being said. 

The urban dictionary has a word to describe it: typoglycemia (and a wikipedia entry as well). But even that contrived word does not describe what has happened with the sign here. Even if you cannot read Tamizh, you would have been able to figure out that the last two characters replace the 'tre' (or the 'ter', if you prefer); they are the Tamizh letters which are phonetically congruent. 

Maybe the painter realized that he had run out of space and had to make do with one character less - how would you label this kind of a 'spelling'!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Inside the Chennai Port. Those who have been to the world's large ports - Rotterdam, Singapore, Shanghai talk about how dirty the Port of Chennai is. But going back there after over 20 years, I found it cleaner than it was in my memory. 

If a picture like this had been taken in the 1990s, the water would have had a thick coating of oil on it - that would have made the picture more colourful, but I'm sure we'd prefer it this way!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

70 mm

Of course the old time Madrasis will not be able to recognize this space. About 50 years ago, there was a different building that came up at this spot - the Anand theatre. It has given way to a shopping complex, just like many other exhibitors from that era. 

G. Umapathy, wanted to make a splash with his new theatre in 1964. And so he brought in the latest in technology; the 70mm movie. It was the first 70mm screen in Madras, beating Safire to the reel on that count. And the two of them vied with each other in bringing the best of the Hollywood to Madras. 

Sadly, neither Safire nor Anand survives today. One hopes that Mr. Umapathy's family retains some part of the history is incorporated in the shopping complex that is coming up....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Standing tall

It was at one time the tallest building in India. Conceived as the headquarters of his business ventures, M. Ct. M Chidambaram Chettiar spared no effort in getting the best architects to design it. Even though the original architects - Brown & Moulin of London - went off the project after construction had started, LM Chitale, who was later to be known as one of Chennai's best architects, took over supervision of the building's completion. 

Based on the design of the UN Secretariat building in New York city, this building also marked a transition in Madras' construction technology. Into the 1950s, bricks and lime were the material of choice even for large commercial or office buildings. This one was the first to use concrete columns, paving the way for larger buildings to come up in other parts of the country. Chidambaram Chettiar did not live to see the building in use; he passed away in 1954. And when the insurance business was nationalized in 1956, the planned original occupants - United India Insurance, New Guardian Life Assurance, Travancore Rayons and Indian Overseas Bank - gave way to the new behemoth, the Life Insurance Corporation of India. 

No longer the tallest building even in Chennai, the LIC building is still a grand structure. A few months ago, there was a scare that the tunnelling for the Chennai Metro is causing cracks in the edifice. But that is nothing for a building that was shut for well over a year in 1975-76, after a devastating fire rendered access to any part of this building dangerous!                                  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nosing ahead

The Chennai airport has been at the receiving end of poor reviews, almost all of which are well justified. The airport is pretty much at the limit of its capacities in all forms. And rather than go in for a completely new airport - as was done at Bengaluru or at Hyderabad, Chennai opted for the revamp route. 

Ever since the first terminal was opened sixty years ago, Chennai has been reluctant to let the airport move out from this location. The original terminal - seen in the background - was referred to as the Meenambakkam airport, because that was the nearest suburban railway station. When the new terminal was built in 1985, it was no longer Meenambakkam; the railways in fact built a new station at Thirusoolam, between Meenambakkam and Pallavaram to cater to the airport goers. But try telling a Chennaiite that it should be called the Thirusoolam airport and you will be left feeling that the coals of Hades would be a refreshing, cool change.

The expansion is to be completed in 2013-14. And if current projections hold, that would be bursting at the seams by 2016-17. The TN Vision Plan for 2023 envisages a completely new airport, near Sriperumbudur, about 50km away. Even when that happens, we will still call it the Meenambakkam airport, I'm sure!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Old house

Chintadripet was one of the earliest 'planned settlements' of Madras. It was in 1734 that the Company took over a garden (and quite a garden it must have been) belonging to Sunku Rama Chetty, who was until 1731 the Chief Merchant of Fort St George. That land was given to him in 1719 by Governor Joseph Collet, but in the years that followed, Sunku Rama Chetty's arrogance to the Company's European merchants led to his downfall. Not only was he dismissed from his post in 1731, Governor Morton Pitt took over his garden with the intent of creating a settlement for weavers. 

By 1735, the 'Village of Small Looms' ("Chinna-thari-pettai" சின்ன தறி பேட்டைwas up and weaving. Apart from the Audikesava Perumal temple, there is probably no other structure that dates back to the early days of the village. But walking down the roads of Chintadripet today, you still get to see many old houses - like this one, which is surely from the turn of the 20th century. 

This picture was taken during a photowalk a couple of months ago. A fellow photo-walker's post says the lady sitting on the thinnai was waiting for her daughter-in-law to bring her her 2nd cup of coffee!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

East-west connection?

Senegal, on the west coast of Africa, is one of the few African countries that has never had a Coup-d'Etat in its post-colonial history. Over the past 52 years, Senegal has seen peaceful transition of power from one President to the next. In 2012, despite (or maybe because of) the constitution being amended to allow him to contest for a third term, Abdoulaye Wade lost to Macky Sall. 

Senegal has had strong trade connections with India. In fact, India accounts for well over a quarter of Senegal's international trade. Therefore it is not surprising that apart from its embassy in New Delhi, Senegal also has an Honorary Consul in India - and that person is in Chennai. Somehow it is fitting that it is a person running a logistics services firm who has been chosen; Mr. Ashok Thakkar has been Senegal's Honorary Consul for a few years now. 

The next time you are thinking about a trip to west Africa, you know where you need to head to first: McNichol's Road in Chetpet, which is where you will see this sign. Or actually, maybe not. You don't go to the Consul's house on business, you're better off going to his office in Royapuram!

Friday, November 16, 2012

And a trophy

The 2nd Viscount Goschen's tenure as Governor of Madras was quite a mixed bag, but there is not much that I have been able to find about his administrative abilities. He probably did quite well, because his name pops up at all kinds of places. If it was the public library yesterday, it is this trophy today.

Called the Goschen Cup, it was presented to the Madras Sailing Club in 1928. You can see it today if you are nice to folks at the Royal Madras Yacht Club (which is what the Madras Sailing Club has morphed into). It is not normally on display - it was out because of the Madras Day celebrations in August. 

Will request someone from the RMYC to give us more information on what this Cup is for.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reading hall

Tamil Nadu's Directorate of Public Libraries manages over 4,000 libraries in the state. Of those, very few can claim to have a longer history than that of the Goschen Library in Chintadripet. INTACH's guide to Madras' buildings dates it to the end of the 19th century, but it is more possible that it was actually founded in 1927 - the 2nd Viscount Goschen took up his position as Governor of Madras only in 1924. Of course, both may be correct; the building could have served as a public meeting place before being re-purposed as a library, in which case, we should also know something of its original name.

That's not difficult, for there is something on the facade; as far as it an be made out from the picture, it is something like "P. V... Chetty's Hall". It would be far easier to read it on the building itself. So, it is possible that the public hall was taken over to establish The Goschen Library. In its heyday, it had over 15,000 books. Today, like many other public libraries, it serves as a quite place for those wishing to read the daily newspapers; anything more substantial may be expecting too much from the vast majority of the 4,000 libraries in the state. 

It was too early for visitors - the library opens at 8 am, shuts for lunch at 12.30 pm and then, after a siesta, functions again between 4 pm and 8 pm. One of these days, one must get into this library during the working hours and try to figure out how many of those 15,000 books remain!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Side gate

By the 1970s, the only college on College Road was the Women's Christian College. So it was natural for me to assume that the road was named after that institution. However, the road was named so much before 1915, which was when the WCC was founded. Even a century before that, this area housed the College of Fort St George. That was started in 1812, with the singular purpose of teaching the Fort's clerks the languages of south India. 

That college was important enough for the Governor of Madras to visit it regularly. Although it sounds rather improbable today, His Excellency could choose to reach the college either by road, or, in a more leisurely fashion, by boat. Yes, the Cooum (to the right of this picture) runs by the college. A clear, silver stream, with the shade of the trees on its banks - who would not like to cruise on such a river! 

To receive the Governor, any old gate would not do. And so this arched entry for the Governor's carriage. It certainly adds a touch of class to this part of the road even today, despite some uninspired restoration effort. Only that there is no more a college that is inside these premises - this gateway takes you to the Directorate of Public Instruction and the offices of the Tamil Nadu Textbook Society. Not really the stuff for a governor to pay attention to. And with the median blocking a direct entrance through the arch, one would have to be satisfied with ducking in by a quick turn into the gate!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Happy Deepavali, folks!

So what was new this year? For starters, the traffic management at Chennai's shopping hub - Panagal Park and T. Nagar - was outstanding according to many of the residents. Empty autorickshaws were not allowed into the core shopping area, which also had its parking lots very closely monitored. 

There were those so called 'new' fireworks this year also - but I can't remember any of them. The Hindu ran a feature on Deepavali and diabetes. There were more folks putting up status messages and tweets on the lines of "don't burst crackers". But it was noisy enough earlier in the evening - things have gone quiet now, guess everyone is shuffling cards for the traditional - now when did that start? - Diwali gambling session. Here's wishing everyone ends up winning!

Monday, November 12, 2012

No more a shack

A generation ago, there were no vinyl signs. The name was painted on the wall of the building. And it was the only building there, near the northern end of Besant Nagar's 6th Avenue. The beach sand spilled across the road and found lots of resting space around the building. There were chairs, but all out in the open air. Cozee was quite that, never mind the spelling. And there would be the Sardar owner, with his patka in place, ready to let go in the best Madras bashai should anyone get over-excited. I never did try it, but I am sure there are enough people who would remember spiking their ThumsUp with something stronger. Sardar would know of course, but would not interfere unless it became too brazen.

That was the way Cozee channeled those shacks of the West Indian beaches, or even those of Goa. At least that's the way we imagined it, the space between the land and the sea changing ever so gently that you never knew where the surf changed into sand and where that changed into black-topped road.

Today, it is just another of those restaurants along that stretch of the road.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Admirable fish

That's a regular Sunday morning scene near the Chintadripet fish market. The market itself gets extremely crowded; if you are not keen on jostling the crowds, but still like your bit of fish, there are enough retailers outside. Of course, there is a price to pay for the 'convenience' of avoiding the crowd and there are many who are willing to pay that price.

This fish is the vanjram, the king mackeral (Scomberomorus guttatus). Also known as neimeen or seer fish, this is one of the (if not actually the) most popular table fish across the south Indian states and Sri Lanka. 

Is there a fish on your lunch table today?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

5 Roads and a bridge

One of the bridges across the Cooum. This one connects Pantheon Road to Moores Road; taken from the College Road bank of the Cooum, the picture shows the new building of the Radisson Blu hotel on Ethiraj Salai. Of course, the hotel wasn't there in the late '70s, which was when I first went on this bridge. There used to be a boat-house, with boats in it, on the Greames Road bank of the river. 

The boat house is still there, very much worse for the wear. The boats, of course, have long gone. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Benign onlooker?

That he was not. Never an onlooker and not often benign. For most of his life, Muthuramalinga Thevar was an active fighter, whether it was for having to write his school exams - the plague epidemic of 1924 putting a stop to that, or for claiming his inheritance of ancestral property. Getting into politics early, Muthuramalinga Thevar organized protests against the Criminal Tribes Act, a draconian piece of legislation that stigmatized entire communities. 

In the process, Muthuramalinga Thevar joined forces with the Congress. But in the Bose vs Sitaramayya fracas, he threw his might behind Bose and subsequently followed him into the Forward Bloc. He was quite close to Netaji; close enough for his claim that he had met Netaji in 1950 to be taken seriously. Thevar - by now known as Pasumpon after the village where he was born - had disappeared for close to a year in 1949-50 and it was speculated that he had visited Netaji in China during this period. 

Although most of his political activity was in and around Madurai, he was considered an important enough person for his statue to be erected on Mount Road, where Chamiers Road meets it. With that road being renamed after him, he does look on more kindly at the passers-by from his vantage point!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Unfading statue

Quite a few of the statues along the Marina were unveiled in January 1968, when the second World Tamizh Conference was held in the city. Among those are a couple of non-natives; missionaries who came to the land with religious fervour, but live on in current memory thanks to their contributions to the Tamizh language. George Uglow Pope was one of them, but he was following a precedent set by Constanzo Beschi, who was ahead of him by a couple of centuries. 

Today is the 344th anniversary of Beschi's birth. He arrived in India when he was 31, starting off as a missionary near Tiruchirapalli. Fascinated by the land, its customs and most importantly the language, Beschi threw himself into becoming one with it. He adopted local clothes and customs; studied the language in depth, both classical as well as the argot. Out of that arose two books of Tamizh grammar, one classical and the other for the common man's dialect. Not stopping with that, he complied a சதுரகராதி - a four part lexicon, besides Tamizh-Latin-Portugese dictionaries. 

His seminal work was the Thembavani (தேம்பாவணி -  the 'Unfading Garland'); it was not merely a story of the apostle St Joseph's life, but the telling of it in a fashion that was influenced by Tamizh epic poetry. Beschi had to put up with a fair degree of persecution, but his open admiration of the culture and the language tempered the challenges he faced. This courage and his ascetic ways earned him the title of Veeramamunivar (வீரமாமுனிவர், the 'courageous hermit'), which is the name by which every schoolchild in Tamil Nadu knows him even today!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Golden temple?

Don't go around looking for a gold gopuram or anything like that, if someone gives you directions that refer to the 'Golden Vinayagar' temple of Alwarpet. If you start with such grand assumptions, you will be brought down to earth with a jolt. This temple, the தங்க விநாயகர் ஆலையம் appears to be one more of the many Vinayagar temples dotting the roads of the city. But then, do not make the mistake of dismissing this as 'just another' temple. It appears to have a history of its own, going back to the days when Alwarpet was just a village, far away from the 'Madras city' of the British. The first mention of this village goes back to 1777, as part of a survey of the 'Home Farms' (as the suburban villages of Nungambakkam, Egmore, San Thome, etc were called at the time). There must have been a fairly busy village here, for, in its initial days, Teynampet was known as 'New Alwarpet' and the older area was called 'Alwarpet Gramam'. It appears that these sister-villages decided to have temples with different deities - maybe because it was younger, Teynampet chose Subramanian, while Alwarpet picked the older brother. 

This temple would have seen quite a lot, even if it is only a couple of generations old. The house right behind it was occupied by the Tamizh writer Jayakanthan; his contemporaries wondered how he could find inspiration when everything around him was boisterous - speakeasies and bordellos were his neighbours. And there was no respite during daytime, either, for the side-streets were thick with people, especially when the weekly சந்தை (open market) would happen. This temple would have seen all than Jayakanthan had observed and then some more. 

So, I guess the 'golden' here refers to the era when this temple was the prime spot of Alwarpet and life revolved around it in every way. Even if it is regarded as just another roadside temple by the citizen rushing past it on TTK Road, it commands devotion from the village of Alwarpet that continues to function on the side roads behind it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Empty theatre

There are no shows in Padmanabha Theatre these days. Apparently it is being used as a parking lot and I daresay it brings in more revenue than screening movies did. Padmanabha  came up when north Madras was the hub of social and entertainment events. So, the main gate had a tableau of Mahavishnu resting on Anantha; pass it on your way in and you know that you have left behind the real world.

In a few weeks, this building will also disappear. Real estate on Wall Tax Road is at a premium and this space can be put to much better use than to just being a parking lot!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Clouds over city

As cyclone Nilam came around.... rushing back home, took this picture of Chennai airport's terminal building. Lots of wind and noise; but surprisingly little rain - and it remained quite warm that evening!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hidden away

Once upon a time, this statue was situated at a prime location, where Pallavan Salai joins Mount Road. It was unveiled at that location by Sir Arthur Lawley, the Governor of Madras, in 1911. After standing there for about 36 years, this statue of Hungerford Tudor Boddam was moved, canopy and all, to a corner of Napier's Park, where it stays on, ignored by the morning walkers and yoga-makers, who go about their business unmindful of this man in their midst.

That a statue of this man should have been built up is in itself surprising. It is said that, as a Judge of the Madras High Court, H.T. Boddam set some kind of record in the number of judgements being reversed on appeal. When he realised this, he decided that his notes of evidence were private property and refused to release them for the appellate courts to review. He was known to be partisan, pre-judging cases before listening to the evidence and favouring specific members of the Bar. There seems to be little record of him before his tenure as a Judge. He was born in 1850 in Dacca (Dhaka, in today's Bangladesh). He seems to have gone over to England to study, for there is a mention of his having served as Recorder of Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1890. And then, there he is in 1896, being appointed as a Judge of the Madras High Court; a position that he was abysmally bad at, that the lawyers refused to accord him the ceremonial farewell from the Bar. 

And yet, he was not a bad guy. He was the first President of the Madras Pinjrapole, the home for abandoned castle, having helped with getting it off the ground as well. The statue itself was subscribed to by several citizens of Madras. Boddam seems to have had no particular fondness for Madras. Almost as soon as he retired, he set off for Bombay, hoping to catch the steamer back to England. Unfortunately, he died on the way to Bombay and his body was brought back for a formal burial in Madras. And he continues to stay here ever since!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


At first glance, it seemed to be a medical practitioner's signboard. But that was quickly clarified, thanks to the very clear fullstop between the 'D' and the 'R'. And if any doubt lingered, it was wiped away with the intuitive understanding that there is no consulting doctor who advertises as 'Bros'. 

I'm always fascinated by the enamel-on-blue boards - or those approximating that effect. The Raanka Brothers possibly started their business a little too late for the enamels, but blue and white was likely the height of fashion in 1942, which was when the business was set up. Starting out as a wholesaler of silver vessels, Raanka moved into silver jewellery; it is customary that, despite (or because of) India's fascination with gold, it is never used to make anklets. Silver was therefore the metal of choice for such ornamentation and the silversmiths were the supply point. It is the third generation that runs D.R.Raanka Bros these days, but some of the old traditions die hard - including the description of anklets as 'leg chains'. 

Another of those old habits would be the city's name. Even today, the board refers to 'Madras' and not 'Chennai'. Would that mislead an ordinary person who relies on this board as a geo-locator? Hardly. But what was completely out of place was the address on this board; I had to look all around to make sure that we had not wandered off from Arunachala Street in Chintadripet!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Local boss

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!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

River view

Although its total length (42 km) is less than that of the Cooum (65km), the Adayar river flows within the city for much more of its course than the Cooum does. Strangely, the Adayar seems to accumulate less garbage in travelling through the city (24km) than the Cooum does.

This is one of the better passages of the river; flowing under the bridge at Kotturpuram. On the left bank is the Madras Boat Club. And if you look closely, you will be able to see the lane markers in the water, for the members of the Boat Club to navigate by, as they prepare for their next qualifiers. 

There is so much of water around Chennai in the past few days, that it was rather easy to find a picture at "The Water's Edge", which is the theme for today's posting across the City Daily Photo sites. If you'd like to see the pictures taken by the other participants in the Theme Day pictures, you' welcome to do so here!