Mylapore Tank

July 24, 2008

After a month has passed, I find that the pain is still not easing pereceptibly, but life goes on….I think, though, that I will post a few scenes from the city that my brother lived in, and loved (though his first love was Kolkata, too!) for 3 decades….

Mylapore is one of the oldest parts of Chennai, and the heart of Mylapore consists of two areas: “Luz”, which is the old Portugese name, and the “Tank”, that is, the pond that belongs to the beautiful old temple of kApAleeshwara (god of the skull, Shiva) and His consort, Karpagavalli. The temple and the tank form part of the folklore of the city, and the area is a vibrantly alive space even today.

The gOpuram of the temple can be seen all around for a little distance,thanks to the open area at the temple pond.

kapAli temple gopuram through trees

The tank is surrounded by little streets, with really quaint houses. Here are two of the old houses that abut the temple, and face the tank: old house and venerated tree priests in front of old house on tank On other sides are shops selling a bewildering variety of stuff; houses; and a vegetable market, too. Here's a "welcome" sign, for sale at a shop: welcome sign The stalls attract a lot of people; some schoolgirls have come to spend their pocket money: schoolgirls shopping This sign in Tamizh advertises a shorthand and typing institute! Does anyone learn shorthand or typing these days? typewriting and shorthand institute Apart from the shops, there are other ways to transact can just sit down on the footpath and set up a stall! Here's "kiLi jOshiyam", or astrological predictions with the help of captive parakeets: kiLi jOshiyam No, there is no use trying to "set free" these parakeets; their wings have been clipped and they will be eaten up by the crows or cats. Another "instant" stall, selling items used in religious rites: selling religious stuff at mylapore tank Here's a little pushcart selling glass bangles, and next to it are pAy(rush mats used to sleep on) for sale: pAyum,vaLaiyum Two ladies, who obviously belong to the Brahmin (priest) community, are having a good old gossip! We call this kind of gossip "arattai".... brAmNA arattai... One of the landmarks in the Tank area is Vijaya Stores, which sells a wide variety of pooja items and books: vijaya stores Mylapore has many sellers of flowers of all kinds; and one of the specialities of the flowers woven into long lengths is the "malli kadambam", which has marthANi poo (mehendi flowers) also woven in: malli marudANi poo kadambam

Here, finally, are two views of Mylapore Tank, one with the Tirumayilai Metro station in the background:

mylapore tank with mylai station

and another with a famous saree shop showing….

view from mylapore tank

I have been lucky to have a base in this beautiful area of Chennai for so many years now….

There will be another post on Luz; the Portugese name is borne by an area that abuts the Tank area, and is a bustling trade-and-residential neighbourhood.