Sunday, August 22, 2010

371 and counting!

As Chennai turns 371 today, here's a view from the top of St. Thomas Mount. (Thomas, of course of the 'Doubting Thomas' fame). It is widely believed that St. Thomas spent his last days atop this hillock and was martyred here. Nearly 2000 years ago, he would possibly have been able to clearly see the seashore town of Mylapore where he stayed a while, but today's cloud made it difficult to sight the San Thome Basilica even from this elevation.

On a clear day, one can even see the Bay of Bengal; the Madras Roads, though they were the very devil to navigate, became the lifeline of British trade. Even after all these years, it is striking to find Macaulay's description of his first sighting of Madras - "The effect was very striking, --great, white, masses of buildings scattered amidst a rich profusion of deep dark varnished green. The sun was just about to rise. The town was quite still, and for some time we saw no signs of life" - has changed little!

Happy birthday, Chennai! And we look forward to the next 371!!

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