November 30th, 2009


AchAri in Chennai

In the heart of




connecting North Mada (mAdA) Street and

Katcheri Road

is a small street...lane...called "Maddala )Narayanan Street" (maddaLa nArAyaNan)

Who Maddala Narayanan was, history does not see fit to record (at least, I couldn't find traces on the internet!)..."maddaLam" being a variation of the percussion instrument, the


the instrument being more used for harikathA and yakshagAnA....

but for a long time, many musicians resided on this street or its surrounding areas.

There are still some music shops here, where one can buy veeNAs, tablAs, or repair various instruments...

But MY song, today, is about the small jewellers' shops that also sit on this street, and this particular one:

maddala narayanan st 241109

Can you see the shop there? Yes, it's that tiny little...well, literally window of opportunity that's open next to the motorcycle!

In this shop, for at least thirty years (to my certain recollection) sits Sri T G Purushottaman Achari.

Collapse ) my grandmother's day, the jeweller would probably have been called home, where he would have spent the entire day on the "thiNNai" (the front porch) in the shade of a neem tree or two, setting and repairing generation went to him to get our work done...who knows how the next few generations (I certainly don't envisage women giving up jewellery in the next few thousands of years!) will manage?