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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Enga Ooru Madrassu - Velachery !!

Those of us born and brought up in Chennai or for that matter any metropolis may not realize this, perhaps we would, when we land in say London or New York !! – too much of vehicles / building / population, a bit frightening !!


Here is a photo of an area, which perhaps had many barren lands – say 40 years ago – now there is an exponential growth, conjuring  visuals of a place that floats during the monsoon, has apartments everywhere,  multiple ice-cream parlours, luxury shopping malls, tech giants, coaching centres and a choking  traffic.  

Anubavi Raja Anubavi (transl. Experience it boy, experience it) written and directed by K Balanchandar hit the silver screens in 1967 – starring  Nagesh along with  Muthuraman, Rajasree and Jayabharathi. The film was  remade in Hindi as Do Phool (1973),[3] in Malayalam as Aanandham Paramaanandham (1977), in Kannada as Kittu Puttu (1977) and in Marathi as Changu Mangu (1990).  Music was by MS Viswanathan, to the lyrics of legendary Kannadasan.   "Madras Nalla Madras" was one of the first songs that tried to provide a commentary on life in the city – might stir controversy, if it had come in recent times !!   

மெட்ராஸ் நல்ல மெட்ராஸ்;  மெட்ராஸ் நல்ல மெட்ராஸ்

மெதுவாப் போறவுக யாருமில்லே; இங்கே சரியாத் தமிழ் பேச ஆளுமில்லே

….           ………..                ………..

ஊரு கெட்டுப் போனதுக்கு மூரு மாருக்கெட்டு அடையாளம்

நாடு கெட்டுப் போனதுக்கு;  மெட்ராஸு நாகரிகம் அடையாளம்


The lyrics of the song are not exactly a tribute to the city of Madras  sung in the movie by the wonderful comedian Nagesh.  Nagesh, a villager, comes to Madras   and finds himself completely at sea and everything chaotic and confusing. You can’t blame him, really. Any one experiencing the city for the first time would  feel the same way Nagesh did in the movie.  

It is newly constructed bridge at Velachery junction near bus terminus. The rapid growth of Velachery as a commercial and residential hub, could be attributed to its geographical advantage in terms of the connectivity to other parts of the city:   It has big shops, malls, banks, IIT, Temples and more.   

The  name given to IIT Madras’s back gate, which is currently known as the ‘Appala kulam’ gate,  was derived after Appaya Deekshithar, a scholar who lived in the 16th century, who visited and stayed in this part of the campus, which was previously a forest. ‘Appaya kulam’ became Appala kulam over the years!!” Velachery was within ‘Kottur Naadu’-  the area being referred to as Dinachanthamani Chaturvedimangalam, named after a Chola queen, the wife of Kulothunga I.” Chaturvedi Mangalm, is a settlement of Brahmins who were skilled in all four Vedas. 

Interesting !  - enga ooru Madrassu !!
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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