Metro Rail Project up and running by year end.
Mount Road is one of the five old arterial roads radiating outward from Fort St George, it was a major road when Madras was the capital of the British colony of India and still has several old buildings on it. Hopefully the metro rail in this area will be completely underground and one hopes further that the structures put up as station entry and exit points are done sensitively keeping heritage structures in mind. One can only hope, though, as such plans are not very openly shared in the public realm in this country.
I had particularly wanted to draw this building - Higginbothams - as it is India's oldest bookshop in existence. Yes, that is right! Built in 1844, it has stood to this day housing books of all kinds and even until twenty five years ago it was the place to go to for book lovers.
Soon after it was built, Lord Trevelyan, who was the Governor of Madras wrote :
"Among the many elusive and indescribable charms of life in Madras City, is the existence of my favourite book shop 'Higginbotham's' on Mount Road. In this bookshop I can see beautiful editions of the works of Socrates, Plato, Euripides, Aristophanes, Pindar, Horace, Petrarch, Tasso, Camoyens, Calderon and Racine. I can get the latest editions of Victor Hugo, the great French novelist. Amongst the German writers, I can have Schiller and Goethe. Altogether a delightful place for the casual browser and a serious book lover"
Today, digital technology, the internet, e-books, the ipad and the kindle are elbowing out the good old paperback while at the same time, over-crowded cities bursting at the seams and choked with traffic jams are trying to magically bring in the infrastructure that was never planned for.
Lets hope the metro project has been planned well. Lets hope the project is completed despite whatever the result of the next election, and lets hope it works beautifully for the citizens of this city.