Nostalgia and the Madras Club

Some friends took us to Nostalgia Night at the Madras Club -- a small group of musicians and singers performing old Hindi and Tamil film songs, dinner on the big lawn leading down to the Adyar River.


The Madras Club#

The Madras Club was founded in 1832. S. Muthiah writes:
The first home of the Madras Club was at the end of Clubhouse Road and is now the property of The New Indian Express, a splendid Georgian building, handsomely pedimented, pillared and verandahed which is still an impressive sight... With membership decreasing after World War II, such a vast property was too much to manage and was thus sold to the Indian Express Newspaper group... Meanwhile across town, by the Adyar River, the Adyar Club at Moubray's Cupola was having similar problems...

This property by the riverside had been acquired by George Moubray, Government Accountant, sometime between his arrival in 1771 and his departure in 1792. He was granted 105 acres at an annual rent of Rs. 800/- and there he built Moubray's Cupola, still famed throughout Madras for its distinctive cupola and the sky he painted beneath it on the dome, thought to be later echoed in St. Andrew's Kirk ... the two clubs decided to merge. The Madras Club took over the Adyar Club in April 1963... In 1964, the Madras Club opened its doors to Indian members (but got its first Indian President only in 1973)...(more)
The Madras Club is so old-fashioned that its (Indian) members can say things like, "Bearer! Bring beer for Master!" According to club lore, mulligatawny soup, its name derived from Tamil meligu (pepper) tani (water) was invented here.

While the nostalgia was going on I left the lawn and went into the main building. I saw that the gate blocking the narrow staircase to the roof was open, so I climbed first to the main roof, then up two increasingly rickety staircases to the large cupola. From that height the sea breeze was strong. Because Chennai's skyline is low, the sky was very big - blobby clouds lit by a full moon. Looking down in the darkness I saw a forest of treetops, which tend to become invisible during the daytime, blocked by billboards and the need to pay attention to chaotic traffic. To the south, the remaining water in the Adyar's almost dry bed gleamed silver. I was excited, imagining George Moubray, the English Nabob, taking his ease here in the evening, perhaps even dining here -- there was enough room for a table and chairs, and of course bearers -- escaping for awhile from the heat below.

(Looking around, I found a page of ARMS, CRESTS & MONOGRAMS of FOREIGN CLUBS, which includes the crests of several Indian and other former British colonial clubs -- not Madras Club -- but it's fun anyway.)

7 comments:

John said...

Hello Madras Club Association,

I am writing this with great sadness to know and hear that there is financial fraud in the backdrops of our precious club and that no action is being taken on it. I during my visits to the Bar have heard complaints of mistreatment of bar waiters by our Bar manager Dennis Rice. I have overlooked such things but recently through one of our family friends I have learn t that Dennis has not only been mistreating the waiters but also has been involved in gaining massive commissions from our Parry's vendors through blackmails and Bribery. I have also learn t about the fact that he takes away very expensive Booze from the Bar for personal use. This is very unacceptable to the fact that we went under a loss last year and nothing has been done to look into such this. This should be looked very seriously - in my opinion Bar manager has to be changed or else legal action should be taken against the management of the Club for not looking into these issues which take away the harmony, fun and frolic that we have always shared at the premises of The Madras Club.


Your Member.

John said...

Hello Madras Club Association,

I am writing this with great sadness to know and hear that there is financial fraud in the backdrops of our precious club and that no action is being taken on it. I during my visits to the Bar have heard complaints of mistreatment of bar waiters by our Bar manager Dennis Rice. I have overlooked such things but recently through one of our family friends I have learnt that Dennis has not only been mistreating the waiters but also has been involved in gaining massive commissions from our Parrys vendors through blackmails and Bribery. I have also learnt about the fact that he takes away very expensive Booze from the Bar for personal use. This is very unacceptable to the fact that we went under a loss last year and nothing has been done to look into such this. This should be looked very seriously - in my opinion Bar manager has to be changed or else legal action should be taken against the management of the Club for not looking into these issues which take away the harmony, fun and frolic that we have always shared at the premisses of The Madras Club.


Your Member.

Anonymous said...

Hey John nice revelation yes I agree with you If the management has known about this and not acted they must do so imm or else face the consequences.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If Administration is not looking into this members should look into it.

Anonymous said...

Huh our country never changes mannn... Corruption everywhere.. Even at leisure places.. Something has to be done...

Anonymous said...

how silly to attribute corruption solely to your country and run it down at every instance,if its soo tedious and never changes for the better , why r u still hanging around? but i guess u've done ur lil bit...cribbing , since u are'nt doin anything to change things urself