Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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Sunday afternoon, Chennai

I awoke about 10:00 a.m. and watched a bit of cricket on the telly. There's a big test between India and Pakistan going on now so everyone's keeping tabs on it. Watching, I was able to figure out a little, but still don't know enough to truly enjoy the game. From what I gather, the batsman from one team stands next to the wickets. The other team's bowler makes a run and throw with the ball, trying to get it past the batsman on one bounce and through or over the wickets. If he does this, he scores a point. If the batsman, as is usually the case, deflects the ball with the bat and it is hit to a fielder, no points are scored. If, however, the ball is hit past a fielder, the batsman's team scores a number of points that seem to vary from 1 to 3 based on how far the ball goes before it is fielded. This leads to scores like 177-4 in favor of the batsman's team. I gather they play over several days as, even with a lobsided score like that in favor of Pakistan, the largely Indian crowd were enthusiastic and cheering. I'm not sure how the variation in batsman scoring is figured. It also seems that the batsman is not allowed to deflect the ball with his substantial pads, but that also seems open to interpretation a bit.

After watching that for half an hour or so, I decided to take a little stroll around the neighborhood. I put my clothes together for the laundry service, packed me camera, sunglasses and a bottle of water and headed out of the hotel on foot!

I started in a familiar direction where I know there is a small shopping center called Landmark. It seemed that all the shops were closed for Palm Sunday; not very surprising. So I successfully crossed the street (traffic being fairly light on Sunday) and headed back the other way. This took me past the American consulate again, but this time the guards paid me no mind until I stopped to take a picture of the statue that adorns the Gemini Flyover. One of them approached me at that point, clapping his hands to get my attention and telling me to move on.

Just down the street from the American consulate, though, was St. George's Cathedral. It's the headquarters of the Diocese of Madras for the Church of South India. They have lovely grounds and the cathedral itself was a cool place out of the sun that also held some interesting monuments. I took photos of these as best I could, not wanting to use my flash out of respect for the church.

There was also a cemetary attached to the cathedral so next I wandered there and took more photos of the monuments and headstones. I detail these photos below:

The first is a monument to British soldier of the Napoleonic period. The inscription below reads, "Sacred to the memory of Major Genl Sir Robert Henry Dick, K.C.B., K.C.H. of Tullymet, N.B. one of the heroes of the Peninsular War, who, after distinguised services in H.M. 42nd Royal Highlanders which regimants he brought out of action at Quarte Bras, closed a long and brilliant military career on the memorable field of Sobraon, February 10th, 1846. Raised in grateful admiration of the public of the presidency of Madras where for some time he held the chief military command."
Major General Sir Robert Henry Dick, K.C.B., K.C.H.

The next is, "Sacred to the memory of John Dent civil servant and provisional member of the council of this presidency. He died in Calcutta on the 17th of January 1845 in the 50th year of his age. Lamented in his public capacity, as one who in the course of 30 years uninterrupted service had gained the complete confidence and respect of those officially connected with him, and the distinguished approbation of both home and Indian governments. In private life by his amiable and generous disposition, his overflowing kindness, his untiring zeal for the good of all classes and his high integrity of character, he won the hearts of all who knew him. This monument is erected by the numerous European and native friends to whom he was thus endeared in testimony of their affection and esteem and as a memorial of his public and private virtues. 'Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of cool report if there be any virtue and there be any praise, think on these things.'"
John Dent Esquire

Next is, "Sacred to the memory of Anne Antoinette Evelina the beloved wife of Henry Chamier Esquire, Chief Secretary to the government of Fort St. George. Her conduct, her kindness, her benevolence received their due acknowledgement from mourners the most sincere and numerous European and Native that ever attended to honor female virtue at the grave. Born October 12th, 1798. Departed this life at Madras November 18th, 1837."
Anne Antoinette Evelina monument

Following is, "Sacred to the memory of Captain Andrew Ffrench [sic], Captain John Spottiswood Trotter, Captain Thomas Howell, Captain John Randall, Lieutenant Philip Cook, and John Cockrane Esq. M 45 of the 16th Regiment Native Infantry. The former were killed on the 29th of March 1826 in the attack on the fortified heights of Armacan; the others fell victims to the fever which in 1824 and 1825 proved so fatal to His Majesty's and the honorable company's troops employed during the war against the Burmese. This slab has been erected by their brother officers in testimony of their esteem and regard."
16th Native Infantry monument

This bust sits on a pedestal bearing the following inscription: "In memory of god and in memory of the Right Rev. Frederick Cell DD, Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, Bishop of Madras 1861-1899. Died at Coonoor March 25, 1902 aged 81 years. A good steward for the manifold grace of God."
Right Rev. Frederick Cell DD

Here's the inscription on the next monument that I'm hoping lollardfish can help in translating.
Latin inscription

And the monument above it.
Monument for a priest

I thought this memorial was particularly lovely.
Emmie Avling

One of the statues within the cathedral. It's pedestal bears the inscription, "Sacred to the memory of James Steven Lushington, of the Bengal Civil Service who died September 12th 1832, at the early age of 28 years. Second son of the Right Hon.ble S. R. Lushington M.P. late governor of Madras and of Anne Elizabeth eldest daughter George Lord Harris. Distinguised on his first arrival in India by superior talents and acquirements and passing with rapic success through his studies in the college of Fort William. He gave early promise of that intellectual and moral worth which is recorded with admiring friendship by the pious accomplished heber and which his short but brilliant career in this presidency developed and matured. As the private secretary of the governor he acquired by his impartial courtesy the esteem of every branch of the public service while his many virtues and endearing qualities secured the approbation and realized the hopes of his affectionate and bereaved father. This monument erected by the society that he adorned as a just tribute to his deaprted excellence."
James Steven Lushington, Esquire

I couldn't read all of the inscription on this monument. It begins, however, "Sacred to the memory of John Mack, assistant surgeon of the Madras Establishment."
John Mack Esquire

In the cemetary, I found several interesting markers and headstones. A few of these follow.
Chennai marker 1

Chennai marker 2

Chennai marker 3

This one made me both sad that its inhabitant was forgotten and intrigued about how many years it had stood there.

This marker held a very sweet inscription that also has a bit of a haunting tone.
Love is stronger than death

This vault was marked "Our Beloved Ammu, Mrs. Vasantha Stewart. Born on 09-09-1938. Slept in Jesus on 20-06-1998." I would guess that, by the size of the palms planted here that she was a woman of means.

This seems a very old grave. But by the fresh cross laid on it for Palm Sunday, I take it that the person is either remembered or that the site is one of esteem for the local parishoners.
Old grave Chennai

There were a few Celtic crosses used as markers in the cemetary.
Chennai celtic cross marker

I thought the statue on this marker was particularly poignant.
Grieving statue

This is one of those very sad markers one finds in cemetarys, those for infants. This is for a boy born in 1806 who was brought to Madras and died here a few weeks later.
Marker for an infant

In the older part of the cemetary, a great ficus grows, dropping its roots to the ground as it spreads. It seems that some of those entombed here wanted some protection in death, having iron fences erected around their graves. The tree is unfazed, however, growing where it will in disregard for these barriers.
No respect for the dead

I was drawn to this memorial which bears the inscription, "Here lie the mortal remains of Mary Ann Bayley eldest daughter of Charles Bayley Esq.r of the Bengal Civil Service and of Mary, his wife. She was born on the 22d of May 1803 and died at Sea on the 26th of August 1819 Aged 16 years and three Months." Behind her you can see more of the tree.
Mary Anne Bayley

This area of the cemetary held a certain spooky appeal for me. I think you can see why in this photo:
Spooky cemetary Chennai

Another photo showing how the living tree disregards these markers for the dead.
Live ignores death

And I got the photo of the statue at Gemini flyover on my way back to the hotel by going down the opposite side of the road from the American consulate.
Gemini flyover Chennai

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