Christians will prepare for an important event in the religious calendar that falls on November 2. The day is observed as All Souls Day. On that day, the community remembers members of the family who have passed away and prays for the dead.
Special Masses are held in churches. But the focus of the prayer and moments of remembrance will be in the cemeteries. There are two big cemeteries in this neighborhood where Christians bury the dead.
But the Cemetries Board which manages graveyards for Christians has issues to grapple.
Of then two local graveyards, one is of Chennai Corporation on St. Mary’s Road, Mandaveli managed by a church in R. A. Puram. The other is the Quibble Island Cemetry off Foreshore Estate and on San Thome High Road.
While the former still has space for the dead the latter does not and Fr Kanikairaj, parish priest at the San Thome Cathedral says that only those people who have graves of their ancestors at Quibble which can be reused are allowed to bury the dead here.
In Kilpauk, the Board has allowed grave vaults to be built and this helps manage the paucity of space and can be reused quickly. Security cams have also been set up here to keep an eye on anti socials and record such activity.
But at Quibble, the idea to build vaults has not taken off. Some say, the Cemetries Board had asked the Corporation some additional space on the north side of the campus along the Adyar estuary to build the vaults. This was done when M Subramaniam was Mayor. But the plea has not been followed up yet.
Quibble holds the graves of many Englishmen who served in Madras. But most gravestones have sunk into the soil. However, often relatives of these Englishmen and women seek details of the graves when they wish to trace their ancestors.
Perhaps, the Board can preserve some old graves and monuments since graveyards are also heritage spaces.