Poets’ view of Madras that is Chennai

Chennai: This Madras Week, that is traditionally celebrated in August, the members of India Poetry Circle (IPC) in Chennai decided on a different kind of tribute to the city they love – Chennai that was known as Madras. They have brought out an anthology of poetry and prose – an illustrated one at that – for the occasion.

‘Helmed by S Sundar Rajan, Madras Hues Myriad Views is IPC’s latest venture – a tribute woven with poetry, prose, illustrations, photographs and a lot of love towards the city of Madras’, reads the back cover that aptly describes what is between the covers.

The anthology starts with rich tributes to S Muthaiah, city historian who was part of the group that started celebrating Madras Week, as he passed away this year. Noted author and journalist N Meera Raghavendra Rao gives a brief personal account of the man who liked to call himself a chronicler.

Apart from the writing of Shreekumar Varma, Madras in Words, there are 41 poems in the section ‘The ballads she sang…’ and write-ups on 21 locations in Chennai, ‘And the tales she told…’ The poems and features carry either photos or pen and ink sketches that have remarkable detail. Special mention must be made of the photographers and artists Dr Nithya Sridharan and Thryaksha, (also a teen poet who has written the article Orange-hued Purasai).

The poets come from different backgrounds – accountant, teacher, student, banker, yoga guru – and it is a big mix of age – from 79-year-old Dr N V Subbaraman to 10-year-old V Varsha Shree.

Sundar Rajan, in the preface, thanks former IAS officer and present member, International Society of Poets, B S Raghavan, for his foreword, and sponsor Suresh Kamath.

The IPC editorial team includes Jairam Seshadri, N Meera Raghavendra Rao, Hema Ravi, Vidya Shankar, Anju Kishore, Madhumathi H, Gita Bharath, Kamar Sultana S and Sumira Dutta Shoam.

The cover photo by Shankar Ramakrishnan catches an acknowledged flavour of Chennai – coffee and jasmine flower string – and the publisher, Adisakrit Publishing Services, has done a neat job of the book that is priced at Rs 250.

The book is a refreshing collection of all that Madras/Chennai stands for and was launched Sunday at the Odyssey book store by noted cinematographer P C Sreeram. NGO ‘Nam Veedu Nam Oor Nam Kadhai’ founder, architect Thiripurasundari Sevvel, guest of honour at the function, stressed that cinema also chronicles the growth of the city.

NT Bureau