If my New Year party got going days before the last day of 2005, I received my blessings on the eve of Pongal.
And on the 'mada veedhis' of Mylapore.
For the first time in my life, scores of senior men and women, who wanted to share a good word with me on the 2006 edition of the Sundaram Finance supported 'Mylapore Festival', also blessed me and my team.
I have never known such public, informal and warm acknowledgement before. That too for merely putting up such a festival which we at 'Mylapore Times' see as a natural extension of the work we do at our neighbourhood newspaper.
The blessings came just when we could do with them. Because this festival was run despite stiff opposition from some local businesses and a court case slapped on us on the eve of the event.
My doctor though does not have good news for me.
At 97 kilos, he thinks it is time to reduce. So he has a little chart for me. Reduce ten percent over the next six months, he says.
And wonders if I tried bending down on the 'mada veedhi' to draw a kolam myself. I would have failed that test, but I think the jogs and the walks over the four days in conducting the Mylapore Festival, may have stopped the scale from inching to the 100 kilo mark!
If you could not soak in at our festival in Mylapore, you have a wonderful opportunity this weekend to get closer to the colour and the festivities of Pongal.Wake up your children a bit early this weekend and take them on a walk through some of the old areas of our neighbourhoods.
Damodarapuram and Arunachalapuram in the Adyar area, the lanes off Sri Marundeeswarar Temple in Thiruvanmiyur, the inner colonies that hug the heritage temples of Mylapore where street houses still exist, the core of Vadapalani . . . .these are places where residents still retain the essence of our festivals in an era of plastic kolam sheets and ready-mix pongal!
If your morning is going to be busy, then drive down the East Coast Road and branch off into any of the villages beyond Mahabalipuram - in Sadras, or in Cheyyur, or in Marakkanam.
At festival time, you do not need formal invitations to be guests here. People in these villages will be glad to have you, chat with you and share the pongal and sugar cane.
You could spread a towel under a tree, enjoy the simple goodies and soak in the atmosphere of the village.
And if you had a great time in the outdoors this Pongal, drop me a line.
And bless me and my team, if you wish to.