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A memorable journey down memory lane
Madras Musings (MM), the fortnightly dedicated to “Madras that is Chennai” (to borrow from its tagline) completed twenty-five years in 2016. Commemorating the milestone, a Silver Jubilee Selection featuring the best articles from over the years was brought out.

Narrating the story of its birth, S Muthiah, heritage chronicler and the man at the helm of affairs of MM since inception says that the magazine was the brainchild of C O Verghese and T J George, partners of the Madras-based printing house Lokavani-Hallmark Press. It was born at a very opportune moment as Aside, the magazine that focussed on Madras was on its last legs. The first edition of Madras Musings came out on 16 April, 1991. It was decided at the inception that it would be a free publication. Within a couple of years, the circulation jumped to 25,000 copies every fortnight. The content was focussed on the heritage and history of the city while voicing its concerns on civic issues plaguing it. 

Keeping it a free magazine largely dependent on advertisement revenue was akin to a tightrope walk and five years hence, the lead story on 16 March, 1996, spelt out that it “was one issue away from considering its race has been run,” unless a Godfather could be found. Its prayers were answered by the man who had kept alive Aside for a few years, N Sankar of the Sanmar Group. A heritage lover and an avid reader of the magazine, he persuaded S Muthiah to keep it going for two more issues until he chalked out a plan. The plan was to get together a few corporates that were part of the city’s landscape and get them to donate Rs 1 lakh every year to keep the magazine running with its format, contents and policies unchanged. The call found resonance with a dozen companies who formed the backbone of support to help the magazine continue its work. Over the years, the supporters grew in number; today, there are more than twenty of them who contribute to promoting the cause of heritage through Madras Musings.

 

Silver Jubilee selection

The Silver Jubilee Selection Volume is spread across twelve sections, each dealing with a subject category such as the arts, humour, sports, environment and public issues. It also features the two columns that reflect the common man’s take on current topics and have been a permanent fixture for long, a-Musing and Short ‘N’ Snappy. A piece introducing the subject and a synopsis of its coverage in the magazine over the years form the first part of each section, followed by the reproduction of around five articles published over the years. A motley list of twelve contributors (one for each section) which include the likes of a chartered accountant, an environmentalist, a journalist and an advertising professional have worked to put together the compilation.

The list of articles reproduced make for a memorable journey through the past and reflect the diverse range of topics that have been written about in the magazine over the years. An interesting section is on the ‘Our Reader’s Write’ column. Promoting heritage consciousness and cultivating a sense of pride about the city we live in amongst the readers has been a fundamental objective of the magazine. That it has managed to achieve this in a favourable manner has been reflected by the enthusiastic participation of the readers, who have over the years also contributed to the content featured.  Edited by S Muthiah, V Sriram (Associate Editor of the magazine) and Ranjitha Ashok, this hardbound volume has been aesthetically designed. 

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