Moore Market is a hidden gem that is located behind the Chennai Central station. Once a bustling market full of traders and people looking to shop for a variety of items, it is now scarcely populated by booksellers and antique shops. The sprawling market is one of the best examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in the city, it’s a beautiful space that has withered over time because of a lack of bureaucratic assistance.
The market is home to rich heritage and history - upon entering it, you will be almost transported into a world of magic. Charming vintage cameras, colonial-era coins, pretty binoculars, old telephones and majestic lamps are just some of the items put on display across stalls.
‘Rhythm House’ is one of the shops within the market. They specialise in selling and preserving gramophones, radios, records, amplifiers, wall clocks and the likes. It truly is a musician's dream come true; we were allowed to browse through their lovely collection of cassettes and vinyl. They played us a few songs that we requested from their ‘Abba’ record. I have to say that listening to ‘As Good As New’ as we watched a classic Madras orange-ish pink sunset in the backdrop made me feel like the main character of an indie film.
Saving best for last, we finally made it to some of the bookstores and oh my, did they not disappoint. Most of the books are second-hand and a little worn out. But I think reading, in general, feels nicer with the knowledge that your copy was previously owned and loved by another person. Some classics that we spotted among the giant towers of books are Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and The Picture of Dorian Gray.
I also realised that it is quite easy to romanticize the market, especially while coming from a position of privilege. It is poorly maintained and the harsh effects, as a result of severe neglect from the government, are clearly visible. As responsible citizens, we should do the least we can to keep this treasure alive - by visiting the market and understanding its historical value.
About the Author:
Neeraja Srinivasan is currently studying liberal arts at Ashoka University, Delhi. She loves anything remotely related to literature, art, research, writing and travelling. One is likely to find her with her nose buried in the pages of a book, at any given point in time. Pretty cotton kurtis & jhimkis, colour-coded spreadsheets, documenting everything using photography, vintage architecture and chocolate mug cakes make her soul happy! You can find more of her musings over on @neeruslists on Instagram.