March 07, 2006

Neighbourhood festivals

If it takes two years to get the community to work on a new idea, so be it.
The effort is worth it, if the idea is good.
Ever since the Mylapore Festival took shape, we have been trying to inspire, coax and goad many other neighbourhoods to take a leaf out of our books.
The persistence, the cajoling and the smiles have paid and for us, these are gifts you cannot quantify.
The community organisation SYMA in Triplicane finally got two of its most hyperactive women members to put an event together to be held around the Sri Parthasarathy Temple this weekend. And how quickly it gathered steam!
We sat on the steps on the water-filled temple tank one evening and got to work. So, the musically talented youth of Triplicane will open the show one evening with kutcheris inside the temple tank. Perhaps that will set the mood and create the buzz a neighbouhrood needs when its NGO does not have tons of money to advertise the event.
But then you do not need tons of money to get a neighbourhood event going . . .
When we walked down the main street here, to look for spaces inside houses which could hold exhibitions, a resident vounteered to spare a hall where a Vintage Coins Exhibition will be held. A few yards down the line, another householder opened up his cupboards to show us the fabulous antiques and old pictures collected by four generations of the family.
Would he exhbit them on the pavement outside his house for the fest?
Sure, he assured us. As long as people do not know who the owner is and what the values are!
There, we had got one more resident to be a partner in the fest!
We made contact with the local caterer. Not much success here. If business wasn't going to be worth a few thousands, he wasn't keen. We couldn't make guarantees. So we looked for an alternative. And found one.
Hopefully, Triplicane will enjoy a wonderful evening of kolams, crafts, food, vintage coins and some cutural shows on and off the temple tank.
The hosts are also lining up senior Triplicane residents to share their anecdotes of the area!
The same will take place in Ashok Nagar, where a beautiful tree-lined avenue is a perfect setting for such a mela. Yes, kolams will dominate the fest on the Pongal weekend.
And a fest is due in Nanganallur where our friends at the 'Velachery Plus' weekly are tying up with the local ladies club to organise this event for the first time.
We in Mylapore, are happy.
The efforts are paying off.
Neighbourhoods must have their own festivals. Not just because you want to show off your talent or kill time on a boring Sunday. But because such an event allows people to meet freely, network and pump in some pride of the place.
If you want ideas, just log on to the web site - www.mylaporefestival.com.
And here is what the Walkers Group at the Nageswara Rao Park in Luz plans to do this Sunday after the final morning kutcheri - share 'sakkarai pongal'!

1 comment:

Jillu Madrasi said...

All this sounds so fun!

Is there any such thing as a mambalam festival?