Viswanathan,Ramamurthy & the Piano

Part I: Meeting of musical minds In the 1950s and 60s, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy were the most successful music directors in Kollywood. Who would have thought that such an unlikely partnership would last or even succeed? TK Ramamurthy Tiruchirapalli Krishnaswamy Ramamurthy (TKR) was the senior of the two. TKR was, figuratively speaking, born with a violin in…

Meditation and the Metropolitan Monkey

All my friends return with serene faces from meditation classes. Not me. The fact is, I cannot meditate. The moment I close my eyes, I have anxiety attacks: ‘Did Anu switch off the gas burner?’ ‘Did I hear someone at the gate?’ ‘Will my sons marry nice girls?’. It must be my bad Karma! Today…

The pious Armenian of Madras

The Armenians started coming to Madras (old Chennai) around the 16th century. Most of them migrated from Julfa, a suburb of the Persian city of Isfahan, because Madras was fast becoming a cosmopolitan trade centre. Their community networks extended all over the world and they dominated the Spanish trade from Philippines. The  British in India…

The LIC Story

Vacations to Madras (Chennai) in the 1960s always included a drive down Mount Road: tourists HAD TO SEE modern India’s very own skyscraper called “L-I-C.”   The LIC building was the Regional Headquarters of “Life Insurance Corporation”, the government owned mega-corporation. To the average Indian, it was the saviour during financial risks and disasters. Ironically, the…