Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shift+Delete! Marked for Deletion?

Once it was confirmed that the venerable - if rather seedy and run down - Plaza cinema hall would be demolished to make way for a Namma Metro station, there were reams of gushing, nostalgic reminiscences written and published in the local press about the cinema hall itself.

My newspaper reading is usually limited to The Hindu and I do not remember reading anything about this other, smaller establishment sitting snug in the premises of the bigger one.

Don't know why, but when I looked at the pictures just now, I thought of a "portemanteau" word (examples: breakfast+lunch = brunch; chuckle+snort = chortle; plaza+phoenix = planix? phleenix? phoeza?).

That aside, I wonder if this Phoenix too will rise again from the rubble in a gleaming new, steel and glass avatar peddling cheap, trendy, "made in china", plastic shit as opposed to the "high class horology, mechanics and engraving" that the sign board proclaims? Not likely.

Also, I personally know that atleast for the last 3 or 4 years there was very little horology - high class or otherwise - that was being dispensed with in this shop.

I know because I wandered into the shop one afternoon a few years ago to check if there was a horologist or a mechanician within who could repair this mechanical toy of mine.

All I found was a curt, middle aged gentleman sitting at an untidy, cluttered table surrounded by a few old clocks. He seemed to have a premonition of his establishment's imminent demise and showed absolutely no interest in my trivial problem. I remember being disappointed because I had naively expected a smiling old "high class horologist" who would somehow fix my toy with a dash of mechanical wizardry and a touch of old world charm.

But that's all that it was finally: a large dollop of naivete.

AND...this one here is a biggie that's probably marked for deletion too...the old airport about 24 hours after being de-comissioned.

There was not a soul in sight that night. Not even a security guard.

Now that this airport is the "old" airport, will the "Airport Road" be rechristened as the "Old Airport Road" to keep the neighboring "Old Madras Road" company?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Friendly Neighborhood Tailor - 2

In Ulsoor, coming from the Frank Anthony Public School, a bit before you wade into Trinity Circle, if you turn right into a very narrow street, you'll turn right back into the 70's or so.

My principle reason for occasionally walking this street is the Kali temple, about a 100 meters up from the corner. It has an interesting history and a stunning, powerful idol.

On your way to the temple, on the left, you'll see this tailor's shop that claims to be 87 years old.

I spoke to the current owner and he told me that his grandfather had actually established the shop more than a 100 years ago at the very same premises, but that the board was put up only much later by his father.

Everything I had said about the tailor in Chetput, Madras seemed true of this gentleman too...

His son was in the shop working alongside him and a clutch of grandchildren grinned and giggled as they posed for photographs.

In 2021, in 13 years' time, will the shop be around to celebrate its official centenary? Will the current owner, his son and perhaps a grandson, hang a garland on the signboard, burn camphor, smash a pumpkin on the road and then go to the Kali temple up the street to pray for another 100 years of status-quo? Will the world continue to stand still in this narrow street and just let them be?

I, for one, wish it would.