July 29, 2006

Madras Day: networking

Three men around a table.
That is the heading I have given to a piece I recently blogged.
It could be a mystery tale. Or it could be a boring business meeting.
It is neither.

It is all about what a group of us are doing behind the scenes to make the annual Madras Day bigger and better.

There is the web site (www.themadrasday.in) with lots of info and it is updated every day.
And in an era of blah and blogs, we thought we should also share with people how this people’s event is building up.

So Sashi Nair, a columnist with the ‘New Indian Express’, Revathi R., a freelance writer who also works with children and I have begun to blog our experiences. I dare not ask S. Muthiah, city historian, writer and story-teller and our guide, to follow us, for he is absolutely at home with his vintage typewriter and uses the PC for short messaging!

‘Madras Day’ is not about a group signing up corporate sponsors to fun a loud event which brings in thousands of people.

It is about people in groups, campuses and in neighbourhoods doing their own thing on the city.
I spoke to Bharath Jairaj at the Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) to explore a meet to discuss all the projects planned for our city which have been mentioned in the recent state budget which Finance Minister Anbazhagan presented.

Earlier, when we met writer Charukesi on the much travelled road that he takes to do his odd-jobs, and mentioned the Madras Day, of the many ideas that came up was a dramatised reading of pieces written in Thamizh on this city. In less than 24 hours, Charukesi fished out a copy of an article written by ‘Rao Bahadur’ Pa. Sambanda Mudaliar, BA., BL, in the ‘Ananda Vikatan’ of November 1934 on the Chennai of that time.

Biting, sarcastic and humorous it is and will surely make the centrepiece for a nice evening of writers being planned in CIT Colony. Now we have to look for actors who may do a better job of reading such extracts.

And the principal of the College of Arts on Poonamallee is excited about the many ways in which his students can be engaged for the Day.

Also excited is businessperson-writer V. Sriram who has charted an entirely new heritage walk for this occasion. From Egmore railway station to Central and beyond. Sriram says those who want to join him may have to walk all the way - through the station, onto St. Andrew’s Kirk, into the college of Arts, down the main road towards Ripon Buildings and into My Ladye’s Garden . . . yes, there is scope for breakfast but will a stop at a vintage Malabar restaurant which serves appam and ‘paya’ 8 am onwards be a good suggestion?

Well, ‘Madras Day’ is all about you and I getting together to celebrate the city. If you still haven’t caught the spirit, surrender yourself.

No comments: