The Armenians started coming to Madras (old Chennai) around the 16th century. Most of them migrated from Julfa, a suburb of Isfahan in Persia, because Madras was fast becoming a cosmopolitan trade centre. Continue reading The Pious Armenian of Madras: Coja Petrus Uscan
Vacations to Madras (Chennai) in the 1960s always included a drive down Mount Road: tourists HAD TO SEE modern India’s very own skyscraper called “L-I-C.” The LIC building was the regional Headquarters of “Life Insurance Corporation”, a government-owned mega-corporation. To the average Indian, it was the saviour during financial risks and disasters. Ironically, the LIC itself faced many risks and disasters before becoming Chennai’s iconic landmark. Continue reading The LIC Story
Cool mornings, balmy evenings and the fragrance of parijaatham in the air – This last month was a festive time in namma Chennai. The dolls were out, golu padis (steps)were fixed up, silk sarees were aired out and recipe books consulted for sundal. The city wore an air of expectancy and there was a feel of unrestrained joy- such is the spirit of Navaratri. But … Continue reading Sundal and sundry matters
Shakespeare had it right when he asked, “What’s in a name?”. He could have had Chennai in mind then. As people, we are not easily perturbed by inconsistencies in our names. Chennai, Madras…what’s in a name? We use the one that comes off our tongues at that moment without a second thought. As to how the city came to get these names, there is no … Continue reading What’s in a name?