Porta Potty

Public Convenience

A shipping container is being converted into toilets at a children’s park cum pedestrian plaza coming up under the MRTS tracks near OMR. Opposite Ramanujan IT city.


Morning Walk in the Park

Indira Nagar Park

Shot on Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

A Vanishing Tribe

Grinding stone ‘dressing’

Traditional handymen and service providers who used to go from door-to-door are becoming a shrinking breed. They have either vanished or upgraded to in-shop or on-call modes.

So this man ‘dressing’ a stone grinder (aattukkal) at a customer’s house is a rare sight. His main service seems to be knife sharpening. His modified motorcycle is a veritable workshop-cum-warehouse. It has his treadle-operated grinding wheel and sundry tools as well as knives, arrivals, and kitchen utensils for sale.

Glad to note that some are adapting to changes created by technology and lifestyle changes for their survival.

Mobile Workshop cum Warehouse

Taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 phone.

Scrap Art

A cheetah made from machine scrap.

This installation has come up opposite the Ramanujan IT park on OMR under the MRTS tracks.

The beast and the floral design make an intriguing contrast.

Shaken, not stirred

Kulukki sherbet

Kulukki (shaken) sherbet which is popular in Kerala also makes its appearance in Chennai.

Is it inspired by James Bond who likes his martinis “shaken, not stirred”?

Paramapadham – the Steps to Heaven

Snakes and Ladders: where are the snakes?

Paramapadam is a popular traditional Indian board game, also known as Snakes and Ladders. It is based on Indian spirituality of attaining heaven through performing many virtuous acts. The ladders representing the virtues take the players closer to the Ultimate Goal of Vaikuntha while the snakes or the sins pull one down. The traditional game is played with rudimentary counters and dice or cowrie shells which are commonly available. https://www.tamilnadutourism.com/traditions/games/paramapadham.php

This casual sight of two ladders leaning against the wall of a subsidiary shrine in Pavala vanna Perumal temple, Kanchi reminded me of this game. You may ask, “Where are the snakes?” Let us hope for an ideal life filled with only virtues!


Gemini flyover getting a face-lift. Hope political graffiti will not spoil it or.

The Durga Idol Makers of Chennai

Kishori Mohan Pal

I have been covering the Ganesh idol makers for several years – 4 years in Trivandrum and 2 years in Chennai. This is the first time I had an opportunity to visit the Durga idol makers in Chennai.

When I visited the Thakkar Baba Vidyalaya shed 10 days ago, the idols were just taking shape. The workers encouraged me to come a week later when the idols will be in more advanced stage of completion.

The second visit was more fruitful I was also able to meet the chief of the team, Mr Kishori Mohan Pal. He and his team of 6 had come from 24 Parganas, West Bengal, three months ago. The clay for the idols is also brought form the banks of the Ganges. Mr Pal added that he has been coming to Chennai since 1982. His long association with Chennai was evident in his familiarity with even minor landmarks and suburbs of this city. Besides Chennai, the idols are also sent out to places like Hyderabad, Alwaye, etc.

While the Ganesh making teams had both men and women , this Durga team had only men.

Shot on Samsung Note 9

A note on Besant Nagar Durga Puja: The pujo at Besant Nagar used to be a great attraction for Durga devotees and others. The Besant Nagar Community Hall where it used to be held is being demolished to make way for another building. My friend, Mr Atanu Poddar, informs me that the pujo will be held with the full devotional rituals in the premises of South Madras Cultural Association at Indira Nagar, Adyar. Due to the protocol specified by the authorities, it will not be open to public but will be live webcast for wider viewing.


If you shop in this supermarket, be ready to be gored!

A Dutch Fort in Chennai

Remnants of the fort in Fisherman’s Cove

Vestiges of a Fort in Covelong.
I quote below the description from the plaque put up by Fisherman’s Cove hotel.

” The Legend

In the 18th century, the Dutch founded a trading settlement here and named it Goblon. Like the British at Madras, the French at Pondicherry, and the Danes at Tranquebar, all originally trading settlements on the Coromandel Coast, the Dutch erected a fort at Covelong. This Dutch settlement did not survive the ravages of time and nothing of this Fort remains. Only a small building possibly an armoury or gun powder ryagazine still stands near our hotel.

In 1744-49, the Nawab of Arcot built a Fort at Covelong and named it Saadt Bandar. In 1750 a year after the fort was built it changed hands. A French ship anchored off Covelong. hoisting signals of distress. The Indians went on board to be told that many of the sailors had died of scurvy and that the survivors should be allowed to land. This was permitted. At the dead of night, thirty Frenchmen who had only feigned illness and who had surreptitiously carried arms ashore, rose and overpowered their benefactors.

Two years later in 1752, the Fort faced an English siege. Its garrison comprised of 50 Frenchmen and 300 Indian sepoys. Their rag-tag besiegers were as one of their own commanders put it. “the refuse of the vilest employments in London”. The man at the helm was a clerk turned soldier-Robert Clive- who was later to preside over the destinies of the Indian subcontinent. After two setbacks, Clive rallied his men to take over the Fort. Covelong was thus a player in the Carnatic wars when European powers jockeyed for influence and power and a trading interest on the Coromandel Coast.” 

So the Dutch, the Nawab, the French and Englishmen all had their reign in this small strip of land near Madras.