Madras turned 378 this year and as Madras Bulls, we were more than happy to be part of the traditional city ride covering some of the heritage spots and having a good time.
Being in Madras is an emotion. One falls in love with the heritage, the culture, the history and the passion that surrounds this beautiful city as you visit some of these places and learn more about the city, its origins and the centuries it has stood tall.
This year Madras Day ride had two prominent places of visit.
1. The Government college of Fine arts – Vepery
2. The ICF rail museum
After sumptuous breakfast at Sambhar at Kilpauk, we first headed out to the Government college of fine arts near Vepery. Choosing a rather circuitous route, a few of us went past Kellys, Purusawalkam, Doveton, Perimet, Central before taking the U turn at the Government hospital and reaching our first venue.
The college is located among the trees, the bushes and the green habitat of millions of artistic minds, creative souls and human beings. One can see the age of the building and the vast expanse it spans. There are creative works of art at every two – three feet as you walk by the various corridors and the small pathways. There are works of sculpture, clay modelling and various other expressions of creativity that oozes out of the students who work tirelessly in creating this art form.
We had one of the professors, Mr. Sivaraj, who was kind in giving us an orientation of the college, its history, the courses offered, career scope and an open invitation to visit and be part of its curriculum if ever any of us were interested.
Words do not really do justice with the way certain mannequins have been created. Their dedication and chaos in creating these forms are something to be highly appreciated.
Along with us, there was another creature that wanted to say hi hello. It was a large snake that was making its way into the well. Walking across the different art forms, a small movement caught my eye. It took a moment to register that it was the tail end of a snake that either came out for a sunday peek and was going back into his small hole, or he was just moving places.
Stopped dead in my tracks for a second wondering whether to click a pic or run. First took a U turn and then another U turn, I came back for a couple pictures as he slid inside the well. Pretty much a wake up call, so to say !
While I shared the good news to the folks gathered there, everyone wanted a peak and go to the well. But after seeing the pic I had clicked, all had second thoughts. Lol !
From the Arts college, our next destination was the ICF rail museum. This place was close to where I grew up, so choose the roads familiar to me.
Poonamalle High road – Dasaprakash – Motcham Theatre – Kellys – Water Tank Road- New Avadi Road – ICF – Turn left into the ICF furnishing division.
It was great to see one of the groups that had assembled there already for chai and water.
The ICF rail museum is a beautiful museum that showcases the history of the Indian Railways, the origins, the humble beginnings and the advancement it has achieved over the years.
Located in a very serene location, the rail museum charges Rs 40 per person for the entry. This includes a refreshing snack worth about Rs 10. Pretty good deal if you ask me.
If you are in a group, there is a tour guide who is a railway employee who meets with you and gives a tour along with tons of history lessons thrown into the Indian Railways.
The museum is divided into two parts. The interior and the exterior.
The interior part has artifacts, scale models, history and tons of material that one can get lost in while reading about how things came into being and from where it had all started. It is very informative and is very impressive to note the background and the work that has gone into building the railways as we know of today.
The exterior houses a working model of the Nilgiris toy train, its working and how it features India’s only Rack and Pinion method of braking. It also houses various engines salvaged over time and kept on display that is truly breathtaking. Among them are engines that date back to 1916 that leaves one wondering about the thinking capacity of the engineers then as compared to what we have today.
The visit concludes with a toy train ride across the entire museum that sees bikers transform to becoming boys on a jolly ride. About 40 of us hopped on to the toy train that saw us hooting, screaming, laughing and having a jolly time while it chugged away on those tracks. It was a memorable ride with tons of laughter and memories.
And that is how we celebrate Madras Day.. the Madbull way !!