“This is a picture of a car accident that took place in 1934 on the Marina Beach road. There were very few cars back then but somehow, two collided,” observed S.A.Govindaraju with amusement as he pointed to a newspaper clipping from his collection of items. The 76-year-old had displayed his collection, which also includes sketches by Ananda Vikatan's humour artist Gopulu and historical drawings from classics such as Ponniyin Selvan at an exhibition ‘Madras - Through The Painter's Brush'.

The exhibition, to mark the 372nd anniversary of ‘Founding of Madras' and jointly organised by the Madras Heritage Lover's Forum and India Post, opened at the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, K.K.Nagar, on Monday. “Every year, we have a different theme. This year's theme is modern and contemporary artists from Madras. We have displayed drawings by Manohar Devadoss and Velumani,” said D.H.Rao from the Madras Heritage Lover's Forum.

Dean and Director of PSBB Mrs. Y.G.Parthasarathy said that Chennai continues to be the centre of fine arts. Fondly recalling the days she used to visit the Marina beach as a child, she said: “It is sad that today, indifference has crept in regarding the welfare of the beach especially with regard to its cleanliness.”

Post Master General, Chennai city region, M.S. Ramanujan said “It is great to see a city celebrate its founding day with so much gusto. This speaks volumes about Chennai.” Talking about the history of postal services, he said the first post office was set up inside Fort St.George. To encourage students to collect stamps, the Philatelic Bureau from the Anna Salai Head Post Office had set up a stall and had exhibited some of its limited collection stamps.

Historian S. Muthiah gave the students a lesson not only on the history of Madras but also on the origins of Madras Week. “Madras is where modern India was born and we should be proud of this contribution,” he said.

While R. Venkatesan, who works as an attender at PSBB displayed coins that he has collected over 30 years, John Moses displayed his collection of kerosene lamps. “I have been collecting steadily since 1980. I have a collection of 150 lamps,” he said. At the stall next to him, stamp collector, P.S.Seshadri had displayed what he called “tidbits of information about Madras.”

Yet another collector, Winston Henry had displayed his collection of old books and photographs of trams .