Friday, April 17, 2009

From many, to one

Once upon a time, there were just a few houses along Mowbray's Road, with each of them having large grounds around them. The extent of the 'largeness' is not easy to comprehend, but going into the gates of 'The Grove' will give you some sense of it.

The Grove is the also name of a school run by the CP Ramaswamy Iyer Foundation. It is a very apt name, for there are several trees protecting you from the sun in almost all parts of the grounds. The school is not the only building that you see; there are a couple of others, too. Your eyes, however, will be drawn towards this magnificent building; a building that has been around for almost 125 years. Inside, the rooms are a mix of the spacious and the cramped, the latter probably serving as guest rooms or something, for those single male visitors staying over. As you look around this building, you will also learn that sometime in the early 1900s, it was only a part of the property purchased by Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer's father, a part that was most likely set aside for the son. Sir CP added the first floor of this building and made sure that used some very high quality materials - teak from Burma, marble from Venice, ceiling tiles from Belgium - as he renovated The Grove to his liking.

Today, this builidng houses the officers of the Foundation and an art gallery. As you walk out, you will reflect on the fact that the larger property was called The Baobab; the memory of that one tree is only in The Grove of today!

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