Very long post, read only if you have some leisure.
I do love my country, which often has its flag represented in unique ways:
And I like walking through its cities.
Each city in India is quite distinct from the other; not for us the bland homogeneity of a skyscraper downtown and sprawling suburbs…I find Indian cities totally fascinating.
Like all Indian cities, the architecture in Chennai is an often astonishing mixture of old and new idioms, which are radically different from each other. It’s fascinating to watch…and there are also the this-es, the thats, and the others as I walk. I decided to take my MLC for a walk, too…and we went together, through a few roads in
Mylapore (town of the peacock), now called Thirumylai or the place of the divine peacock
Here's the "Kutchery Road" sign...this was named, I think, after some ancient courts (kacheri) that used to be there, and not after Carnatic music concerts:
Vegetable sellers do brisk business as the shops open by 6 am:
The newspaper vendors gather together to sort out the papers (and add those hundreds of paper leaflets advertising everything from educational courses to weight loss gyms)
Turning into this ancient road is the stuff of...well...romance, even for a tailor!
This orphanage operates out of an old dilapidated building, which yet has lovely trees:
This shwEthAmber ("clothed in white") Jain temple is itself clothed in white, and follows the typical Jain temple architecture idiom:
"Crude" or "country" "drugs"....that is, "nAttu marunthu" in Tamizh...medicinal herbs and roots, sometimes very esoteric, have been sold this in this shop for at least forty years to my certain knowledge, because I have gone there as a young girl with my aunt to buy soapnut seeds for washing my (then very long and luxuriant) hair...
In fact, "dabba chetty kadai" (shop) has become a kind of generic term now, to mean such a herbs-and-roots shop!
There are some old gems of facades, like this lovely monkey top:
This one seems to be for distressed and working ladies (perhaps it comes to one and the same thing? :D )
The architecture of the Mylapore Police Station is also not bland:
I caught this picture of the old idiom and the new style, cheek-by-jowl:
I turn into Santhome High Road, now called Kamarajan Salai (kAmarAjar sAlai)
and at the junction is the "dreaming spire" of the beautiful
Santhome Cathedral Basilica :
Here's the nave, with the stained glass behind it:
here are the pews, with the congregation:
In Mylapore, I find this contractor doing very good work, cleaning the garbage:
The quality of life for the urban poor,however, remains very low...here's a cycle-rickshaw (a very eco-friendly method of local transport which we ought to re-introduce to our cities!)-plying family....that baby is as pure and innocent beloved ...and as poor...as the One lying in the manger in the nave of the Basilica.
Near, and at, of the junction of Kamarajar Salai and Dr. Radhakrishnan Road (earlier, Edward Elliotts Road) are the Madras Lighthouse (yes, I have been to the top!), and the very beautiful heritage buildings of the Inspector-General of Police, respectively:
The I.G's Office (as it is called) building was saved from demolition by concerned conservationists, proof that sometimes citizens' wishes do prevail.
In the compound of the building, police constable exercise in the early morning:
Queen Mary's College is another magnificient campus at that junction; the buildings are in a sad state of decay, though...here's one of them,you can see the solidity of the structure:
I then turn into Dr. Radhakrishnan Road, and find the Mylapore Fire Staion:
And a little later, the pavement is blocked by a roadside temple; the architecture is generic:
In another nondescript building, this woman practices her oral hygiene...
Further down lies the weird Greco-Roman mishmash of the
on the roof are part of the mishmash
I wonder why they didn't think of adding
Oftentimes, the exterior walls of a building bear political posters, with sycophantic praise of this or that politician:
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The building of the
(yes, I've been treated by a very crochety old Dr E V Kalyani myself!) still has lovely tiles:
The architecture gets glassy:
But some of the gracious old bungalows, hidden behind the shady trees, remain:
After this, I turn into Venkatachala Mudali St (VM St.) and see the old
Young Men's Indian Association (YMIA) building gate :
...then I turn back into P S Sivasami Salai (earlier, Sullivan Garden Road) .... where a plaque on the wall announces the opening of a "roadside park" by our Chief Minister, and all I can see is the trash can...
watch women carrying headloads as a matter of routine...
See that in spite of everything, there are plenty of
and gardens which still have jasmine (this variety is called nithya malli in Tamizh) on their gates, scenting the air:
Think about the beauty of seeing a small temple, that's traditionally built under a spreading young
...and make my way home....
Some more on Mylapore
the walk without photographs
New Year in Nageshwara Rao Park
And if you STILL have patience for more,