If you have ever fixed up to meet anyone at the Marina Beach, then the likely meeting point would have been the Gandhi statue. The Marina is actually a little over three kilometres long from the light-house at the southern end to the war-memorial at the north and the entire stretch has a wide major road of the city running down it as well as a promenade with many statues. This promenade at road level steps down to the beach which is also un-interrupted for the three kilometre stretch and is the second largest beach in the world after Rio - how about that?
So given its huge size and our immense population it is always good to plan a precise meeting point with friends so as not to miss them completely and wander around picking up long lost twins all evening. Over the decades statues of prominent figures from Indian History, our freedom movement, Tamil Literature and the Tamil movement have been placed as statues along the promenade but somehow Gandhiji is still number one.
Any marathon or walk, for a public cause, any banner holding, slogan raising get together on the beach, the morning laughing club, the VIP stand for the Republic day and Independence day parades - the starting point for all of the above is what you see above.
I actually find some of the other statues better (as statues themselves, in terms of the craft, the depiction, the idea) and hope to sketch a few more in the future here. Gandhiji is positioned at the junction of Cathedral Road and Beach Road so when I walk down from my house to the beach, then bang! - this is where I'm at.
The promenade was a simple side-walk for most of my years in Madras. Recently though, its been given a facelift. Some greenery, some meandering paths and mainly a lot of fuss around Gandhiji. These steps you see here are also pretty new, there's a huge curving oval set of steps cascading down from a wide landscaped plaza to the beach. At the point where the cascade meets the inner beach lane there's a set of funky huge granite balls (I'm sitting on one of them) serving to cordon off the pedestrian area from the parking lane.
Once again, it was quite an experience sitting in one of the most crowded points of the city and sketching and I was actually asked by a friendly north Indian if I was a foreigner!!!