Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Lord of the Wheels

Being the only 'place of worship' so close to the headquarters of the Metropolitan as well as the State Express Transport Corporations, it is easy to imagine that whenever a new bus was brought in, it must have been taken to the nearest deity, Muniswaran, for the pooja. It is no surprise therefore that over time, this rather non-descript shrine has acquired a niche expertise in guaranteeing the welfare of vehicles and drivers; this Muniswaran is now something like a patron saint for those citizens of Chennai who make a living with their driving skills.

But a couple of incidental points surprised me. One was that my driver, Chakrapani, is firm in his belief that it is only because of his role as a protector that the Muniswaran near Pallavan House is called the 'Bodyguard Muniswaran'; the other was that for a famous - and reportedly much revered patron saint - the temple of 'Bodyguard Muniswaran' (not much more than a roof over an idol on the footpath) did not seem to be crowded at all. Maybe I was there too early in the day.

There's a story behind Chakrapani's theory for 'Bodyguard'; but I believe the explanation is far simpler. Pallavan Salai, before it was called so, was known as Bodyguard Road. So there.


Guru said...

I can not forget this place. I woundered so many time why so many vehicle are parked here till I realized the fact. The are the trade mark places of Chennai.

Shantaram said...

@ Guru: You're right, this can only happen in Chennai!