Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Amendment connection

It seems to be a convoluted connection, but it seems so fascinating that I had to get it in here. This unpretentious signboard caught my attention only because of its white-on-blue combination. But finding out about The Law Weekly side-tracked me into the background to the First Amendment to India's Constitution. 

The story is essentially this: the Province of Madras, had been at the vanguard of community-based reservations, since passing what has come to be known as the 'First Communal G.O. (G.O.#613, Sep 16, 1921)' in 1921. That Government Order was the basis on which a girl named Champakam Dorairajan was denied admission to a medical college. Claiming that she had been discriminated based on her caste, Champakam took the issue to the Supreme Court, and a full bench agreed that the Communal G.O. was unconstitutional. 

What does that have to do with this board? Well, V.C. Srikumar, the current editor of the journal, who is also the grandson of its founder, was one of the lawyers in the case of 'Champakam Dorairajan vs The State of Madras'!

Monday, August 10, 2015


In the days of the British, a trip to Andamans was usually a one-way ticket to the dreaded Kala-pani, the cellular jail at Port Blair. These days, the dread is reserved for the mode of transport, not the point of arrival. The Andaman & Nicobar Administration (with a well named website - and.nic.in) determines the schedules for the three ships that connect Port Blair with 3 points of mainland India: Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and Chennai. Those ships are MV Swaraj Deep, MV Campbell Bay and MV Nancowry

Of these, the Nancowry works the hardest. Swaraj Deep and Campbell Bay run two round-trips a month, the former alternating between Kolkata and Chennai and the latter running exclusively to Chennai. The task of connecting all three of these mainland ports to Port Blair is left to the Nancowry. The ship takes three days to run from Port Blair to Chennai and then has to spend four days catching its breath. It was in the dock yesterday, having arrived on Thursday. 

If there is anything that really put you off the idea of a sea-voyage, it is the sight of this rust-bucket. The Nancowry was built in 1992, which makes it close to the average age at which a passenger ship is decommissioned. Surely, no one will shed any tears at this rust-bucket's retirement!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Planter man

The slopes of the hills at Vagamon, in Kerala's Idukki district, were favoured by the British for cultivating tea. Among the several estates there was the Pasuparai Estate, covering a bit over 300 hectares. In 1925, these estates were bought from the British by Alfred Vedam Thomas, who took it as a challenge to prove that an Indian could be as good a planter as any of the Britishers. He must have been good at his work, for the company he founded, AV Thomas & Company has grown to be a diversified group today, with interests in varied sectors.

When young Thomas bought the plantation, it was part of the Madras Presidency and it was natural for the company to be headquartered at the city. Over time, the majority of AVT Group's plantation operations have moved to Kerala; the Group also runs factories for food ingredients and natural extracts in Kochi. The corporate office continues to be in Chennai, making this one of the few 'Malayalee' business groups in the city. 

This bust of AV Thomas is inside a conference hall in the corporate office. 124 years after his birth on this day, he continues to oversee the businesses that carry on in his name!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Keeping time

This post has been in the making for about a year. Knowing that the centenary celebrations  of the Women's Christian College were going to be this year, I had hoped to time this post with the kick-off of those festivities. But 7/7, the date on which the college was founded in 1915, came and went and the blog remained un-updated. And then it had to wait until the next symmetric date came along, didn't it? 

The WCC was established by Eleanor McDougall, who came to India in 1915. There does not appear to have been any reason for her to come to Madras other than to se up a college for women. The plans for the college must have been very much in place; McDougall was possibly the final piece in the jigsaw of setting it up. Within a week the college had its motto ("Lighted to Lighten"), its crest, (with sunflowers, a lit lamp and the motto) and its song. Of these, only the song appears to have been changed in the last century, the rest continuing to be the identity of the college. 

The missing part, in July 1915, was a campus. The college conducted its classes at rented premises for the first year. But even before the anniversary, on July 5, 1916, the college moved to Doveton House, on the banks of the Cooum, where it has remained since. Eleanor McDougall's work is remembered in this clock tower, donated by her brother Charles in 1937, when she was in her final year as the Principal. It stands right outside the Doveton House; having marked time over the past seven decades, it can be forgiven for being a couple of hours ahead of what the time is!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Treachery of images

I learnt a new word during this week. Magritte. Derived from the name of the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, it refers to something that is not what it seems. The story is that Magritte painted a pipe, and titled it "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe). He was right of course, for it was only a painting of the pipe and not the pipe itself. 

So, the picture up here today is of a police station. Or is it? Okay, I'm not getting all meta here. The J4 Police Station in Chennai is indeed the one at Kotturpuram, as it says on this board here. But this is not it. This building is somewhere off Cart Track Road in Velachery. The board has been placed there because it is acting - acting as a police station. 

Yes. Part of a movie. More about the movie for another post, but then, isn't every movie a treachery of images? If you've watched the Malayalam Drishyam, or its Tamizh version Papanasam, you will agree with that! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Granny told mother...

The stuff was concocted by William Woodward, a pharmacist in England, sometime in the 1850s. For some reason, the mix of sodium bicarbonate, dill oil, sugar water and a bit of alcohol became a runaway hit with the babies and by 1876 it was so popular that Bill decided to register "Woodward's Gripe Water" as a trademark. His advertising at that time was based on the message that "Granny told mother and mother told me" - a theme that will be familiar to Indians from the TVC that was popular in the 1980s

In India, the brand is licensed by TTK & Company, which is headquartered in Chennai. I was sure this one had gone the way of many other old brands - does any baby even want gripe water any more, when all she has to do is to focus on her mother's iPhone? - when I saw this in a store. Somehow, the solitary bottle of gripe water only served to reinforce the point that the market for gripe water has evaporated. 

Can't help feeling that once this one goes off the shelf, the brand will be done for!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Droning away

When we were planning on making a corporate film, the director told us that he would have a surprise for us. Turned out that the surprise was a drone-cam. The radio controlled drone was designed and fabricated by the director himself, with his brother helping out on the electronics bits. It needed two sets of controls; one to fly the drone itself and the other to manipulate the Go-Pro camera that was its payload. 

As in many other parts of the world, Chennai is grappling with issues around regulating drones. There are some basic controls in place; anyone planning to fly a drone must get the equipment cleared by the DGCA. In addition to that, each time one plans to send the drone into the air, the plans have to be cleared by the city police. The uncertainty around getting the permission from the police was the reason for our director saying that he might surprise us - there was no way he could commit to having a drone-cam for the shoot.

It was quite a curiosity and the crew took turns at trying to pilot the drone. After going up a bit - around 15m or so - they found that the signals from a nearby cellphone tower were interfering with the drone's radio controls. There was a danger that it would crash; but as it came down, the controls were re-established and the drone-cam landed safely. And then, the roles were reversed. Rather than the drone-cam focussing on us, we all pulled out our cellphones and cameras and tried to get a good shot of the drone!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Old world

It is one of the remnants of a time when hotels were supposed to be a "home away from home". Charming, with many of the minor niggles that every home has - paint flaking off from a part of the wall, a drip that can be stopped only by gagging it with a dishcloth, or those ketchup stains on the carpet from that awesome party, which no amount of scrubbing can get rid of. Such things may have been cute a couple of generations ago; unfortunately, Madras Hotel Ashoka is still stuck in that calendar. 

There are a couple of things from that age which are worth staying at this hotel for. One of course is the chance that you get one of the better rooms, with space enough to host a ball. The feeling of space is heightened by the property - the lawns not actually manicured, but kind of spiffed up and the trees channeling the breeze into your room.

And the restaurant. That's something that no one can complain about, not even travellers who might have spotted something that shouldn't have been in their rooms. Madras Hotel Ashoka has positioned the entry to the property in such a way that it is Abhinandan, the restaurant that you are taken directly to. In a way that is okay, for the majority of visitors seem to be Chennai-ites going over for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Not just a token

Chennai has been a relative late-comer to the Metro rail scene, being the sixth or the seventh (depending on whether you consider Gurgaon as being distinct from the Delhi Metro - it actually is) in the country to operate such a service. Since its inauguration on June 29 this year, the Chennai Metro has seen a lot of traffic; the CMRL authorities are still trying to figure out if it is actually commuter traffic, or folks who are taking a joy ride on the Metro.

We were among the latter a couple of weeks ago. I've been used to picking up the small, 1"X 0.3" dull yellow pasteboard tickets on the city's suburban trains that I was looking for something like those when the clerk at the counter, channeling his inner croupier, pushed these tokens towards me. I had heard about these tokens - once anyone enters a station using a token, the system checks if the same token has come out within a given timeframe. If it does not, something like a missing person alert goes out and the passenger is traced. Helps cut down loitering at the stations. 

But then, I kept these tokens away so carefully that I couldn't find them when we got off the train. Searched all my pockets. Nada. So we head over to the help-desk. Too many people there, we are asked to wait. And then, like always, my wife told me where to look for them. Sure enough, there they were. Well, we did not get to find out what happens to a commuter who loses his tokens. And we are glad we didn't!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pitch perfect

Today would have been the last day of the 3rd Ashes test, but as you all know, that was wrapped up a couple of days ago. That's just an excuse for putting up this picture of a cricket pitch. Chennai has several, and this one is inside the IIT Madras, sponsored by Chemplast Sanmar. Chemplast has a long association with cricket, and owns two of the cricket teams playing in the TNCA League - Jolly Rovers and Alwarpet CC - and this ground is where the players practice their stuff.

It is not just those League players, but internationals as well. When the 2011 Cricket World Cup was held in the sub-continent, the IIT-Chemplast Sanmar Ground was the practice ground for the Indian team. The pitch is top-notch and true; it is an absolute pleasure to play on, no matter if you are batsman or a bowler.

It was a wonderful feeling to play at this ground, and to bat on this pitch, a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, the match didn't go too well for my team and I ended up spending a lot more time inside the pavilion; one that was inaugurated in 1998 by the legendary Australian cricketer, Neil Harvey. All said and done, it was wonderful to have been on the same turf as the legend, thinking about others who've also run across this rectangle!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cycling along

Chennai is home to one of the largest producers of bicycles in the country. TI Cycles, part of the Murugappa Group, owns and manufactures some of the biggest cycle brands in India, including Hercules, BSA and Montra. Between them, these brands cover most kinds of bicycles available on the roads today: the stodgy old-world cycle (being pedalled by the man in the picture), the lightweight sporty cycles that the BSA has been known for and the 'specials' - the mountain, road or hybrid bikes, of which the Montra brand is a part.

In the past few years, cycling in Chennai has changed considerably. On a weekend morning, it is quite common to spot a couple of hundred cyclists breezing away along the ECR or along the Marina. They are still a novelty, for the vast majority of the city's cyclists are those who do it for their regular commute, rather than fitness enthusiasts or hobbyists. But the latter groups have been growing exponentially, to the stage where an entrepreneur spotted a niche business.

It is entirely appropriate that Ciclo Cafe should come up on Gandhi Mandapam Road, for the western side of the road hosts a lot of properties belonging to the Murugappa Group. That road is a quiet, leafy stretch and is one of the roads taking you towards the ECR. On their way back, it would certainly tempt those cyclists to stop and un-famish themselves after their long ride. Oh, you thought the bicycle theme was restricted to the man on the cycle? Look closer. The building behind, touted as India's first cycling themed cafe, opened a few months ago and has caught the city's imagination big-time!

Today is 'Theme Day' for the City Daily Photo bloggers. Head over to http://cdpbthemeday.blogspot.in/ to see bicycles from all over the world!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Miss me?

Over at the CDP Blogs site, we are celebrating Theme Day today with pictures of what the blogger would miss most about his/her city. The thought of leaving Chennai is too far-fetched for me, and I find it impossible to go further on that road and think about what I would miss about Chennai.

If there has to be something, it would have to be a combination led by this. Early morning on the balcony, with The Hindu and a cup of tea. No, not the filter coffee that everyone thinks all Chennaiites thrive on, and not any other newspaper, for sure. You could argue that The Hindu can be subscribed to anywhere and chai is also available across the world. But nothing can beat the early morning crispness of Chennai; add the chai and The Hindu, and that's an experience utterly unreplicable.

What would the other bloggers miss about their cities? Head over here to find out!

Sunday, January 18, 2015


A few weeks ago at Pallikaranai, I was fooled into thinking that the Forest Department had erected an observation tower, only to find out that it was just a water tank. But this one did not have any such surprises. What looked like rest-stop, with this thatch roof and a bench, was just that. It is the only one on the banks of the Pallikaranai marsh. It must have been the Foresters who had this put up. 

I just hope that there will be a few more such. And that they do not turn it into a lakeside eating joint or something!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Single man stage

If he were alive today, he would have turned 98. It has been 30 years since he died. And yet, he continues to be an inspiring icon for many in the state of Tamil Nadu. There is at least one TV channel which plays songs from his movies 24/7 and breaks up that monotony with a full movie or three.

MGR. Possibly the only politician who won an election, not only for himself, but for his party, by campaigning from a hospital bed half-the-world away!

Friday, January 16, 2015


The last weekend of the Mylapore Festival for this year. The square in front of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple was quite packed with people waiting to listen to the nadaswaram performance. This was only a small part of the over 50 thousand people who passed through the Mylapore Festival. 

Are you planning to be there next year?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hotel house

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the passing away of one of Chennai's culinary 'Gods'. He has been away from this city for longer than he was here, but in the couple of decades that he ran his business in Madras, he established a presence - and a reputation - that has transcended generations and international borders. That 'God' was Kuthethur Seetharama Rao, who began his foray into the food business by setting up Modern Café at Mysore. The success of his first venture emboldened him to strike out to Madras, and the second Modern Café was set up on the Esplanade. Business there was good as well, no doubt helped by the masala dosa that Seetharama Rao has been credited with popularising.

He believed that it was possible to strike a balance between the choultry that the ordinary Indian traveller was expected to put up with and the plush western hotels favoured by the not-so-ordinary folk. From that belief was born Hotel Dasaprakash, which was an iconic landmark of the city. In 1940, Seetharama Rao built a house for himself just a little way away from the hotel, naming it Dasaprasad. Seetharama Rao extended his culinary empire across Mysore, Madras and Ooty. His descendants have taken the brand overseas: the first Dasaprakash in the USA opened at Cerritos, Los Angeles in 1989. The overseas presence is all that remains - Modern Café and Dasaprakash are no more here in India. The Chennai hotel has made way for a residential complex and the hotel in Ooty is now Villa Park.

That house continues to be the seat of Seetharama Rao's family. The building is still Art Deco and the gateposts continue to proclaim this as the residence of the proprietor of Modern Café. The only thing I am wondering about is the spelling of his name: maybe it was too long to fit on the sign, so it has been modified to read "K. Sitarama Rao"!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Institution built

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, engineering had started growing as a professional discipline. India's industrialization needed engineers and by the 1910s, they had also recognized the need to form a professional association. Under the leadership of Sir Thomas Holland, the Director of the Geological Survey of India, the Institution of Engineers (India) was established in 1920, and registered in Madras. In 1935, the IEI was granted a royal charter by King George V.

The headquarters of the Institution of Engineers (India) has been moved to Kolkata. The office of the IEI in Chennai works out of this uniquely designed building on Swami Sivananda Salai. It must have been built during a time when membership of the IEI had a certain cachet. These days, with the advent of private engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu, the importance of the IEI appears to have lessened - and the campus here is quite deserted!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Artists and subject

One of the attractions at the Mylapore Festival was the chance to get your portrait sketched. That's normal. There were a few artists who would also make a caricature. All of them had enough patrons; there was a queue waiting to have their portraits - or caricatures - drawn. And then, in the midst of all those artists, was a circle of artists who were doing something that seemed quite odd. All of them were focussed on sketching just one person - what is it that they were doing? Or, who was he?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Patriotic bookplace

In 1904, Krishnaswami Aiyer and Sundara Iyer decided to honour the social reformer Mahadeo Govind Ranade, who had died in 1901. The manner they chose was to establish the Ranade Institute to conduct research on law, economics and politics. Such an institute needed a proper library and therefore it became the first part of the proposed institute to be set up. The foundation stone was laid by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in July 1904 and the library came up in quick time.

Within a couple of decades, the library needed more space. The land it was occupying, which was on Brodie's Castle Road (now R.K.Mutt Road) had been gifted to it by Raghunatha Rao. The South Indian National Association, which had been formed to manage the Ranade Institute, decided to sell the property and the proceeds funded the acquisition of these premises on Luz Church Road. In 1928, the Library moved to this location. 

With the Institute itself not showing any signs of coming up, the SINA decided to expand the Library. A lecture hall was added in 1955 and it was named after V.S. Srinivasa Sastri, who had served as a vice-president of the SINA for a while. Since then, the Hall and the Library have been in continuous use. The books here are truly a treasure trove for anyone wanting to research the early twentieth century. The annual membership of the Ranade Library at Mylapore is just Rs.100. It must have been less than a hundredth of this amount when the library started functioning!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Help the people

This building in Purasawalkam houses the office of a Benefit Fund. Its name is so long that I am not going to write it out here. It is a fund that has been operating out of Purasawalkam since the late nineteenth century - and this building, to mark the centenary of the fund, is itself thirty-three years old!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Welcome stay

For me, this hotel is one enduring mystery. It has a tremendous locational advantage. The businesses or offices nearby are not shy of announcing that they are "near Hotel Swagath". Even the Provident Fund Commissioner has to locate his office by stating that it is "Opposite Swagat Hotel". 

And yet, there does not seem to be much to talk about this hotel. Reviews on travel sites are so-so; there appears to be no restaurant in the hotel. The best thing being said about it is that it is a great place to conduct weddings - right, you are welcome too!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Road to gate

James Lawder came to India as an Assistant Surgeon with the Madras Medical Service in July 1822. By then, he had been in service for a while and had seen action in the Peninsular War. He had also completed a stint in the USA; but it was in Madras that he spent the majority of his career. In 1835, Lawder was made a full surgeon. His most significant contribution seems to have been his views on the treatment of leprosy and the management of patients afflicted with the disease.

For some reason, James Lawder was sure that leprosy was a hereditary disease and that it was contagious. For this reason, he pitched strongly for expanding the Madras Leper Hospital and making a few changes in the facility. In 1839, the government of Madras made a grant of Rs.2,000/- to the MLH and Lawder used the funds to build high - over 3m - walls around the MLH, but also between the eleven wards of the MLH. He also favoured restraining the patients, so as to not have them spread the disease. With such facilities, the MLH seems to have been more of a prison than a hospital.

James Lawder married in Madras, and had a family here. Being a senior medical officer, he would have bought himself a garden house in Purasaiwalkam, accessed from the Poonamallee High Road. In those days, houses were few and road names non-existent. The path to Lawder's Gate became a road in itself. Even though the house and its memories have long gone - Lawder went back to England and died there in 1860 - the place still remembers the surgeon in the name of a street!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Business centre

Like many other businesses of the time, this one also started out as a family enterprise. Rather, as a one-boy business. Still in his teens, Ezhumalai decided that he had picked up enough in his six-year stint as a helper in one of Rattan Bazaar's workshops to go solo. In hindsight, it was probably a wise move for him to set up his workshop at Royapettah, quite a distance from Rattan Bazaar. As its name implies, this was the go-to place for cane furniture; opening a workshop there might have turned the full blast of competition on Ezhumalai. By basing himself in Royapettah, he cut the distance between the traditional furniture market and his customers,who were mostly based in south Madras.

When Ezhumalai launched his furniture business in 1937, the air must have been full of patriotic fervour. "Jayabharatham" resonated with the spirit of the times. It was probably that zeal which led him to train young men and women the art of re-wiring the cane strands onto the furniture frames. Some of them became competition, but the majority became his employees. Ezhumalai realized that if he had to expand his business, he would have to look beyond the city of Madras. His workforce could handle the volumes, and sales were driven through printed catalogues which were distributed free across the Presidency. Until his death in the late 1970s, Ezhumalai was actively involved in the business.

These days, when one thinks about buying furniture in Chennai, the place to head to is Royapettah. That change, from Rattan Bazaar to Royapettah, was brought about by this one man. And his successors have sustained that change. In 1989, a decade after Ezhumalai's passing away, his son Rajendran changed the proprietor-run business into a corporate entity. Now known as JFA Pvt Ltd, it has spun off a few brands and also niche products. The third generation is also into the business, which now has its presence in several parts of the city - but this building, on Royapettah High Road, is close to where it all began!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fancy a ride?

One of the attractions on the Marina is the horse ride. No, not the ones on a carousel, but real life horses. Of course one cannot expect pedigreed horses to be walked around on the beach sands, looking for excited kids or young gents wanting to show off. But the horses look healthy and when the grooms trot across to a seeming prospect, the horses seem to share the excitement and trot along without a fuss. I wasn't in the market for horse rides on the beach, but a couple of the grooms came full tilt at me. The first mumbled a price; I kept moving away, uninterested. The second offered to beat the price down. I barely registered what he said, but for some reason it upset the first groom. Hot words followed. 

Within a couple of seconds, the horses had caught on to the mood of aggression. They began neighing and squealing, circling each other, getting back to back, and kicking each other with their hind legs. The grooms had a tough time keeping them down - for about 15 seconds, it seemed that the horses would break loose and a shod hoof would split some flesh and bone. Luckily, the grooms managed to regain control - and maybe the horses also sensed that the argument was not a life-and-death issue anyway.

They came back again, docile as you please. The first groom again mumbled a price to me; it sounded like "50 rupees final price saar". But no, after that display, I was even less inclined to get on to any of the beach horses!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


A few years ago, this space was a reasonably wooded forest, which had some wildlife running around it. Within this nine-acre patch of land in Nandanam, a small herd of chital, a brood of mongooses, a few snakes, a couple of monkeys and a wide variety of birds lived together, mostly in harmony, wondering why some of their fellow creatures were cooped up inside buildings. 

Those buildings - which were difficult to spot from the air because of the tree cover - housed the facilities of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University's Poultry Research Station (PRS). The PRS was set up in 1941, to supply poultry breeders with 'superior germplasm'. Over the years, the PRS introduced a variety of lines; apart from the ubiquitous chickens, they had the Japanese quails, turkeys, guinea fowls and geese. Over the decades, the variants introduced from the PRS appended 'Nandanam' to their names - hence Nandanam chicken or Nandanam quail. 

In 2011, it was decided that the land being occupied by the PRS could be put to better use for the citizens of Chennai. The PRS was shifted to Madhavaram, where the University has extensive space and the site at Nandanam was handed over to the Chennai Metro for constructing their administrative and maintenance facilities. The first thing the Chennai Metro did was to clear the land of almost all the vegetation; a few trees remain around the periphery, but in the centre, both trees and buildings were razed. This picture is from a year ago, when the clearing was going on in full swing; if one were to see this space for the first time now, it would be difficult to believe that deer and koels once frolicked here!

Monday, January 5, 2015


On Vellala Street in Purasaiwalkam, there are a few buildings which appear to have been residences at some time. Most of them appear to be of the 1930s vintage, giving us an idea of what the street must have looked like in those days. At least one of them has been given over to a temple, while one other houses a shop.  

This one seemed particularly lonely. Maybe it was the fresh colours of its neighbour that made the exposed brickwork even more vulnerable. In a few years, this would have come crumbling down; and there would be one less building to show us what street would have looked like in the 1930s!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

City view

A few days ago, we had a view of the city looking north from the top of the lighthouse; this one takes it a few hundred metres higher - if you look closely, you can see the red-and-white band of the lighthouse at the bottom of the photo. 

The broad stretch of the beach looks glorious from up above. It is possibly less sandy than it should be; but let us hope it remains at least the way it is right now!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Thirsty birds

At this apartment complex, the residents have decided it is too cold to use the pool. That is good news for these Blue Rock Pigeons (Columba livia). Nobody is going to disturb them as they line up to drink water from here!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Music and move-ie store

In the middle of the music season in Chennai, it is time to think about a store that brought 'another kind of music' to Madras. It was in 1975 that Harish Samtani decided to set up his shop near the Wallajah Road intersection on Mount Road. The choice of location was possibly influenced by the fact that it was right in the Ritchie Street area; an area that was already known for being the go-to place for the latest in electronic goods. It made sense for a store selling exotic music to open up there.

In the beginning, there were the vinyls, of course. Over the years, Stereovision has kept in sync with changing tastes and technologies. It has ranged beyond music and has become pretty much the leading brand in Chennai for hi-tech audio and video equipment. Along the way, Harish has married his first love of auto-racing into the business of Stereovision - and that you can see in the ads for GoPro dominating the storefront - and its website!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A new year

Happy New Year, everyone! The first full year of this blog has just gone by: 365 posts in 2014! After having had a decent start in 2008, 'daily photo' spluttered along until living up to its name with a post for every day last year. Sure hope that it will continue in the new year. 

The first post was also on a New Year's day. But that was in April and it featured this gopuram's opposite number, the western gopuram of the Kapaleeswarar temple. Have come a long way around to this side!

Am skipping the 'Theme Day' this month. But if you would like to take a look at some mind blowing pictures from City Daily Photo blogs around the world, head over here!