Elliot's beach is perhaps the nicest of Chennai urban beaches. It's cleaner and less crowded than Marina beach. It's a place where youngsters like to hang out - and it has all the food stalls, coffee bars and cafes that go along with that. And while it's formally named after Edward Elliot - a onetime colonial administrator and police superintendent - it's better known as Bessie's beach.
That's because the beach is adjacent to the Besant Nagar district - in turn named after the redoubtable Annie Besant, variously a radical, freethinker, Indian nationalist and Theosophist and an altogether good thing. Quite nice that the name of the place has been subverted from commemorating an old colonialist to a Brit who delighted in disturbing the Imperial order.
This is also a working beach with a sizable fishing community. It was late afternoon when I was there, with that marvellous end-of-day natural light. The last of the boats were coming in, most of the catch had been taken away, and the fishermen were cleaning their nets and disgorging all the crabs and small fish that got caught up in the mesh.
There were then either discarded on the beach or - if saleable - put in the bottom of the boat, where some of the crabs in particular looked disconcertingly human.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!