Monday, July 26, 2010

Exploring St. Thomas Mount

Richard O' Connor works for the Customs at the Airport.
He is also an active catalyst in the Anglo-Indian community.

I met Richard when the Anglo musicians were jamming at Vincent's studio in Kodambakkam, to prepare for the 'Blazing Guitars' show at Museum Theatre, Egmore in early July which went on to be another packed hit for 'Anglos in The Wind' and its promoter, Harry Maclure.

I was busy working on our docufilm on Anglo musicians in this city, hoping we could make it in time for the Madras Day docu screeninngs. Richard emceed the show but I had some thing else for him.

I coaxed him to be an informal guide for a possible heritage walk of St. Thomas Mount. He got quizzical and interested and this past Sunday, we spent an hour charting out a route and earning the stares and looks of local residents and a few nuns who were hurrying for Holy Mass at St. Patricks that evening.

Richard, his family and his folks live on the Hill. And he and his dad know a bit about the local history. this being the 2nd oldest Cantonnment in India.

We have decided to stick to a short tour of the area but it will include a walk up to the top of the hill and a walk down via the stairs that Petrus Uscan, the giant Armenian merchant donated to our city, amongst other civic works.

Richard has stories to tell. He met a young Burmese who came to the area looking for her roots! Didn't the church rehabilitate some Catholic refugees at the foothills?

This may well be a tiring walk but it will have its rewards. I am happy I have got new faces to do their thing for Madras Week!

As I blog, Srivats of the Chennai Photo Walks mails to say that the group has planned a walking tour of this area that Sunday morn. Should we change our start point, asks Srivats.

No, just enjoy yourselves.

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