Talks / Conversations

Talk: Daily Life in Madras 1000 years ago – August 23, 2017

Talk by Pradeep Chakravarthy
On Aug. 23, 2017. At 6.30 p.m.

Organised by INTACH and Alliance Francaise.

Temples in Chennai today are primarily places of worship. This was not their only role 1000 years ago. They were centres not only of religion but also of local administration and served as locations for cultural activities and for social gatherings.
Temple inscriptions are the sources of information on the little-known secular functions of the institutions. The talk will create an image of daily of a thousand years ago based on the reading of these inscriptions.

Venue: Alliance Francaise Edouard Michelin Auditorium, 24, College Road, Opp. Good Shepherd School, Nungambakkam. Chennai 6

Talk and Dine – August19, 2017

Ninan’s restaurant in the YMCA complex in George Towne ( opposite the Madras High Court) is in its 61st year. It is witness to the city’s changing social life and food and catering business. This Madras Day, it celebrates its place in the city’s food map.
Owner Alexander Ninan, son of the founder will talk to guests and then offer them a buffet for lunch.

Date; Saturday, August 19
Talk ; 12.15 p.m. followed by lunch ( veg and non-veg on the menu).
Fee ; Rs.150 per person ( to be paid at gate).
Register at – – giving your name, address and ph no. and stating your food preference ( veg / non-veg). No cancellations. Open to first 30 only.

Talk: Whispering Pictures, Drawing Words – August 12, 2017

Talk by Parvathi Nayar
Hosted by Madras Literary Society

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but often it’s 1,000 words that have inspired the picture. There are fun and provocative points of intersection and departure between drawn images and written text. Contemporary visual artist Parvathi Nayar discusses the relationship between words and artworks in her own oeuvre and in the world of contemporary art.

Parvathi Nayar is a contemporary visual artist based in Chennai. She is known for her complex drawings, installations and video work. She was part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014-2015) an international exhibition of Contemporary Art held in Kochi, Kerala. Public installations of her work include A Story of Flight, (Jai He art programme, T2 Terminal, Mumbai airport) and The Music of the Spheres (Chennai Mathematical Institute, 2016). Solos include Haunted by Waters (2017, Chennai), Dissonant Images: Drawing in Time, (2016, New Delhi), The Ambiguity of Landscapes (2014, Chennai), I sing the body electric (2008, Mumbai), Win Lose Draw (2007, Singapore) and Drawing is a Verb (Singapore, 2006).
She is a creative writer, a poet, and has written on aspects of contemporary creativity such as literature and theatre.

A fee of Rs. 50/- will be charged from non-members. This fee will be used to cover expenses incurred for organising the event and any surplus will be pooled into the book restoration fund.

Venue: Madras Literary Society, DPI Complex, College Road, Nungambakkam. Phone: 044-28279666
(The first gate after Women’s Christian College and Opp Sankara Nethralaya)
From 11 a.m. to 12 noon

Talk: Expanding Chennai: the infrastructure and other demands and requirements – August 19, 2017

K.S. Sripathi, former Chief Secretary speaks on Expanding Chennai: including the whole of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts in Metropolitan area, the infrastructure and other demands and requirements.

Organised by Observer Research Foundation, Chennai Chapter.
From 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Venue:  ORF Conference Hall, Reliance Building, Radha Krishnan Salai
By invitation only. Contact:

Madras under Golconda (Sultanate)- August 16, 2017

Lecture by S. Anwar, writer, photographer and film-maker.

“That a Telugu Merchant (Koneri Chetty) should command the (Vijayanagar) Rajah’s forces is singular enough, but that the (Golconda) Nawab should employ a General of that race (Hindu) when ample selection from Moslem warriors was open to him is even more surprising” goes the East India Company’s record of a battle that ended without a fight at Poonamalee, on the outskirts of Madras in 1656.
The English with their monotheistic background were not just bewildered by the Indian social set up but were simply unable to comprehend the plurality and diversity of the land. Madras under Golconda Sultanate presents an interesting picture when the English were mere traders and were being played upon by the natives and were at their wits end when it came to administering the town divided on the lines of caste. Compounding their woes, the Company with its Protestant Christian background had the unenviable task of warding off the seductive Catholic advances. The lecture will look at these interesting times of Madras history.

Organised by Roja Muthiah Research Library.

From 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Roja Muthiah Research Library, 3rd Cross Road, Central Polytechnic Campus, Taramani, Chennai 600113

Open to all.

Talk: 60 years of city planning in Chennai – August 22, 2017

Chennai Architecture Foundation (CAF) is organising a talk – 60 years of city planning in Chennai: What went wrong and how to go forward? by A.Srivathsan

Chennai explored innovative building and planning ideas in 19th and early part of 20th centuries. Going by where it stands and how the city functions now, it appears that was not the case in recent times. What went wrong? There was no dearth of plans, big ideas, and schemes.
Over the past 60 years, starting from 1957 when the first comprehensive scheme was prepared for Chennai, city agencies have drawn many plans. To name a few: the 1960 master plan, Interim plan in 1967, first statutory plan in 1975, Alan Turner proposal in 1980, draft plan in 1995 , and Second Master Plan in 2008. All of them promised a well-designed city with adequate housing, easy mobility and `civic design with aesthetic effects.’ If they have not delivered, what was the problem? Did the ideas fail or the implementation flounder?
Chennai is set to expand its size and cover a vast region of 8,878 A new plan is on the anvil. It is time to ask whether planning should continue as business as usual or radically alter course.

Venue: Spaces, 1, Elliot’s Beach Road, Besant Nagar.
Time: 6.30 p.m.
Open to all.