Selective Amnesia There was a point to this. But I forgot.



Has this happened to you? You take a decision, when you’re younger, and followed a certain path thinking it would take you to a goal you held to be absolute. And then, the path is no longer, it is not even circuitous. It becomes your prison and your habitat, much like the enclosures in a zoo.

I knew such was my case. I had known it for a while. This year, I leave that. This year, I will change. This year, I admit I was wrong, that the goal is true but my means aren’t.




Happy birthday, you who is at once holding me back and allowing me to run. You are as beautiful as you are flawed, each scar adding character to your face, each year making you more you. Happy birthday, Madras. Happy birthday, Chennai.


The CareWalk Exhibition: Here’s how to enter

Firstly, a big, big thank you to all of you who came to the two very special Chennai PhotoWalk editions. The CareWalk in support of Mahesh Memorial Trust, at the MIOT International and the British Council Library were huge. And I mean huge. At the MIOT Walk, we had no less than 250 people (although not all of them were photowalkers. Still…)  walking and taking photos. So, Thank you!

Right then.

Here’s how to submit your photos to the Exhibition.

>> First, you go to and join the group. If you already have a flickr account, you’ll be asked to fill in a small form requesting permission to join the group. Fill it in, telling me which walk you came to (Aug 4th began at the British Council. Aug 11 began at the MIOT International) and submit.

If you aren’t a flickr member, (why aren’t you yet?) sign up for a flickr account, and join the group as above.

>> Second, select the photos you would like to submit. The overall theme for the exhibition is Hope. And the slightly under-all theme is Care and Comfort. Three fairly open, sufficiently vague themes and motifs for you to interpret as loosely or closely as you want. Remember, the images you submit should fit the theme.

>> Once you select the picture (or pictures. I think I will accept up to 5 images from each of you. I will finally shortlist a maximum of 2 (two) photos from each participant) upload a low-res copy to the Flickr group. Again, this is simple for those who are already on flickr. For those not, I suppose it is a good time to start learning.

>> Each photo you submit must carry the following:

  1. Title for the picture

  2. A description, that tells me: where it was shot (if it was shot on the IBHI CareWalk, mention date/route/walk 1 or 2), when and why you think it fits one or more themes. Also in the description, recall as best as you can your camera settings when you took the photo. (This mainly applies to dSLR users, but other camera users can also try.) Finally, mention your name, and an email address in the description

  3. Tags: Flickr allows photos to be “tagged”, simple keywords that help in searching/classifying photos. So add as many tags as you can to describe the photo. Sample tags are: street, wide, road, Chennai, Hope, Cancer, MIOT, and such

  4. Some mandatory tags: CareWalk 1/2 (as applicable), Origin of the walk, date, and one of the three theme words

Simple, really. Select photo. Upload to Flickr. Name it, tag it, describe it. Share it with the group.

The deadline for submitting photos is 8:30 PM on Sunday, the 1st of September 2013. Any photos submitted after this deadline will not be considered for the exhibition. I hope to shortlist about 70 photos in all, from which our special panel – Mr. Rajiv Menon and Mr. Jayendra – will select the top 35 photos to be exhibited at the Hilton, on the 6th, 7th & 8th of September.

If your photo is shortlisted for the exhibition, I will contact you and ask you to submit a high-res copy. So hang on to those RAW files. I need the high-res so I can print it out in big size, and frame it. Framed photos will go on sale, allowing us to raise money for the Mahesh Memorial Trust.

Each photo will carry a label, mentioning name of the photographer, subject/title and a brief description. So all of you will definitely get credit for your work. Remember, though. The money raised will entirely be donated to the Mahesh Memorial Trust.

There you have it. The easiest way to submit photos for the CareWalk exhibition. Let’s see some great pictures.


On Maps of Madras. August is Madras Week, after all.

“It is resolved and ordered that the Southern limit shall be the Southern bank of the St. Thome river as far as the road leading to the long tank; that the limit shall then be continued in a northern direction along the bank of the long tank, and from thence along the bank of the Nundumbaukum tank as far as the Village of Chettoopet upon the banks of the Poonamally river; that the limits shall be continued in the same direction to the Villages of Kilpaukum and Peremboor, and from the latter village it do take an Eastern direction to the sea. so as to include the whole village of Tandearpetta.”

From the Vestiges of Old Madras, Vol 3, by Henry Davidson Love.

(Go to for a Pdf of the books)

Discussion on the creation of a Map of Madras, 1798. There you go, folks. Madras was a bloody big city even then. So, some notes then. St. Thome river is obviously the Adayar. And the road, therefore, south of the river and leading to Long Tank could probably be what is now Sardar Patel Road.

Nundumbaukum is Nungambakkam mispelt. As it is, Long Tank was all of T. Nagar and parts of Nungambakkam. Poonamally River is the Cooum. A bit later in the Chapter, Love describes Mackay’s Garden, which would probably be what is now the bit of land from Nungambakkam High Road/Gemini to Graeme’s Road.

Graeme’s Road itself led to Graeme’s Mansion. Not sure if that is the area near what is now Asan Memorial school and the Lalit Kala Akademy area, or further down, which would bring us to the Co-optex campus.

Behind Graeme’s Mansion was Anderson Gardens. Which is that part of Haddows Road. Anderson road exists, and houses the British Deputy High Commission. On Anderson Road is a beautiful, beautiful building, currently owned by the State Bank of India. It looks like they’re using it to store discarded chairs and other junk, while the building rots and decays. Pity. Some walls show exposed brick, which could mean the end isn’t too far.

Edit: So I thought Mackay’s Garden was that portion of land between Nungambakkam High Road and Graeme’s Road. It is actually north of Graeme’s Road, so could probably be the bit where Anand Theatre and its neighbours are.




The Chennai PhotoWalk Special: CareWalk in support of Cancer care & the Mahesh Memorial Trust

This August is going to be rather special for the Chennai PhotoWalk.

It’s been 5 years since we started. In this time, we’ve seen a fair bit of Madras. Documented a lot of Chennai. And have seen a group of just 12 people grow to become one of the most active, dynamic groups in the city. We have fans everywhere.
It’s time, I think, to put our skills and our reach, influence, to use. It’s time to try using our photos to help bring cheer to people who could really use it.

This August, The Chennai PhotoWalk will collaborate with the Indo-British Health Initiative, the MIOT International Hospital and the British Deputy High Commission to help raise funds for the Mahesh Memorial Trust through two very special PhotoWalks and an Exhibition. Called the CareWalk, this edition of the PhotoWalk will (I hope) find moments of care, comfort and hope, on the streets of Chennai.

35 such photos will be shortlisted by a rather special panel (big-name professionals from the world of imagery, photography and art) and exhibited at the Hilton Chennai and put on sale. Funds raised from the sale of photos, no matter how small or large the amount is, will be donated to the Mahesh Memorial Trust – a stellar charity organisation that is helping children suffering from cancer.

CareWalk 1:

Date: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Starting Point: The British Council Library, Anna Salai.
Ending Point: Thousand Lights Mosque, via Graeme’s Road
Reporting time: 7:30 AM

CareWalk 2:

Date: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Starting Point: MIOT International Hospital, Nandambakkam, Chennai
Ending Point: St. Thomas’ Mount, via Nandambakkam War Cemetery
Reporting time: 8:00 AM


The CareWalk Exhibition:

Date: September 6th, 7th & 8th, 2013
Venue: The Hilton Chennai

So there we go. I hope this is the start of a completely different kind of walk. One where our photos bring people relief.

P.S: Funds from sale of photographs will be entirely donated to the Mahesh Memorial Trust.


Cacoethes scribendi

There is a potent rage, an anger that seeks to destroy.

Brought upon by a deep passion and all the words that could have been said when one had the chance. The words remained locked up, the time was lost and the opportunity never came by. And so, the anger. At first it sought to destroy from within. Cry. But the tears wouldn’t come. That violence held leashed, turned into a monk-like devotion to the shallowest icon.

Now again, the old passion welled up. Now again, as before, to bubble and froth and find no release. And there battle against silence, against emptiness. Rage. Cry. Write.


That little kick in your heart, a moment of unconditional joy.

That someone tells you something. You know it was said in jest. You know it means nothing. But it was said. By that someone. A little pleasure. A lot of basking in a false glow.