Home Columns Anantha Narayan City of Seven

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    Maths writer Alex Bellos carried out an interesting online poll recently, to determine the world’s favourite number. His survey threw up a surprise. The most popular number was neither one nor three. It wasn’t even pi. Seven won the sweepstakes by a mile.
    To use an immortal Ravi Shastri expression, the number ‘7’ has always occupied the “upper storey” of human consciousness. The days in a week, the biblical sins, the musical notes, the colours of the rainbow, the wonders of the world, the chakras in the body, and even the number of heavens in the Abrahamic religions work out to seven.
    So why is everyone so obsessed with it? Bellos attributes it to the relative uniqueness of the number vis-a-vis others from one to 10. As in, it can’t be divided, and when multiplied, it will always yield a figure higher than 10.

    Numerology has its own version of the truth. Seven, apparently, is very intellectual, spiritual, philosophical and, therefore, mystical.
    I’ll let you in on a little secret. The numerological name number of Chennai is seven. What that means is the city is more likely to be teeming with nerdy homebodies who enjoy their culture and relish inventing, researching, writing or creating.

    If one goes purely by the name number: wisdom, knowledge, analysis, specialisation and logic will be the core competencies of Chennai; and argumentativeness, narrow-mindedness, rigidity, stagnancy and aloofness will be its shortcomings.

    If that felt like a near-accurate picture, wait till you hear the other seven connections of Chennai. The first organised water supply in Chennai began with the Seven Wells Scheme in 1772. Mylapore, one of the oldest residential parts of the city, is best known for seven great Shiva temples. Incidentally, Kapaleeswarar Temple is seventh in the pecking order and it was built during the seventh century. The great renaming of Madras happened in 1996. If you add the digits of 1996, it adds up to seven.
    Even words that you normally associate with the city such as academy, actress, alcohol, America, bargain, buffalo, capital, Central, coconut, chicken, doctors, digital, English, fan club, jewellery, mercury, modesty, obesity, scandal, seafood… all have seven letters. Including your very own Indulge.

    -Anantha Narayan

    Think seven is mystical? Share your thoughts with anantha@albertdali.com.

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