Madras Miscellany has, over that decade, created an awareness and a greater appreciation of the significant past of Madras and of the events and the people who over the years made Madras ‘the first city of modern India’, a description of the city that the writer of the column, S. Muthiah, never tires of reiterating.
During the first years of Miscellany, its author used to get around a bit more and the column reflected this. There was always a piece on something seen or heard in person. But slowly the column became more heritage focused, not only loking at the places and the institutions in the city but, more importantly, at those who significantly contributed to Madras and, in many cases, in turn to modern India. It also became more participatory, owing much to contributions from readers. ‘The Postman Knocked…’ became so integral a part of the column that many a reader calls the column just that.
Over a thousand of the 1500 or so items that appear in the 514 columns published during Madras Miscellany’s first decade appear in the book in three sections: ‘People’, ‘Places’ and ‘Potpourri’, the last named being everything else that doesn’t fit into the other two sections. And in them there develops a rather comprehensive story of Madras over its nearly 375 years of history.