Had to be at Gandhi statue on Marina at six in the morning. So didn't sleep the night. The sun was yet to rise when the heritage walk started. We were to walk down Edward Elliots Road, now called R K Salai, from Gandhi statue to Music Academy. During the walk, learned that once the rich of Madras lived on that road. Most of the bungalows, of course, are gone now and replaced by tall structures with glass walls. Citi Centre was once a timber market. Hotel President is run by Muslims but serves vegetarian food in deference to the sentiments of the illustrious Brahmins who once lived on the road; and the hotel is named so because right across the road lived S Radhakrishnan, the former President of India.
Walked ended at eight. After which went to Triplicane. Had idlis, vada and coffee at Ratna Cafe. Roamed around the streets, saw the old houses. Visited the Parthasarathy temple. Chatted with a few mamis in the temple. Very interesting chat. They told me what it is to be a mami. The sun was rather harsh when I came out of the temple, so took an autorickshaw back home.
Slept for a while. Had some dry fruits for lunch. Took an autorickshaw to Mylapore in the evening. Roamed the streets. Old houses, old shops, the streets coloured with the colours of the fruits and vegetables spread out on jute sacks by vendors. Went to Kapaleeswarar temple.
While I was depositing my floaters before entering the temple, I heard Hanuman Chalisa being played in one of the shops. For the first time, heard a woman sing Hanuman Chalisa. There was something very powerful and persuasive about her voice. Walked barefoot to the shop and asked them for the CD that was playing. The singer turned out to be M S Subbulakshmi. Bought the CD and went into the temple
Had darshan. Placed a hundred-rupee note on the plate held by the priest. Suddenly, he opened the barricade and ask me to come right in -- right inside the sanctum sanctorum. I sat there, on the stone floor, and prayed. Felt good. Shiva and I go back a long way.
Was hungry. So had idlis at Karpagam Mess on North Mada Street. The best idlis I've ever had during my 10 years in Chennai. You must believe me because I love and know my idlis.
Hailed an autorickshaw again. Had barely got into it when I spotted a hawker selling wood apples. The auto driver helped me choose the ripe ones by bouncing them off the ground, much to the irritation of the elderly woman hawker. The driver bought one for himself too. We then set off for T. Nagar. I had finally found what I had been actually looking for all day, though I had not mentioned it to anyone -- not even to myself.