September 02, 2006

Madras Day finale

Pardon me. I have burdened you with a series on 'Madras Day' and this will be my last for 2006.
I must take you back to last Sunday morning. A morning like no other.
Sunday Mass at 6.15 am.
Breakfast at 7.10 am.
Kick-off of the Mylapore mada veedhis walk for children at 7.30 am.
Picking up Dr. Suresh, archaeologist, at Adyar, 7.50 am.
Kicking off the Fort St. George heritage walk at 8.10 am.
How do we manage to do all this and why do we really do such crazy things?
One of the most satisfying profits of the Madras Day 2006 celebrations has been the positive feedback from young people.
At the end of the second walk around the fort, two members of the Parents-Teachers Association of a school in Nungambakkam want Dr. Suresh and I to do something more for students at this school.
Perhaps a series of talks on the city. Perhaps a few talks on subjects like history and tourism and archaeology and conservation and architecture. Perhaps a few walks inside the fort and in George Towne.
Evidently, there are a whole lot of initiatives we need to take for our young people to get to know this city better.
The group of thirty-plus children who went on a heritage walk around Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple were a highly enthusiastic bunch.
You might dismiss this walk as a Sunday amusement.
Not if you too were on this walk. Because a simple tour like this one exposes the children to a host of topics - heritage and history, architecture and culture, conservation and environment.
Imagine the interest that we could kindle in thousands of school students if all the 25 schools in the Mylapore neighbourhood took out their middle and senior-level students on such a simple tour of this heritage zone.
There was this student of PSBB's Nungambakkam school who pestered me at the schools' heritage project site at Asan Memorial school. His team had done a project on what is popularly called the 'Solar House' on South Mada Street in Mylapore.
His team went one step further - with a borrowed digital camera, these students produced a two-minute film on this house!
The film was an amateurish effort but it prompted us to encourage these youngsters to plan a longer documentary film next year.
A message to share with our teachers and school managers - encourage our children to explore our neighbourhoods and our city.


Ram Chander said...

Believe me, it wasn't boring to read about the city we live in. More institutions should come forward to celebrate the week.
The prominant missings are IT and medicine industries.
Medicine has a lot to do with Madras. From Dr. Lakshmanaswamy Mudaliar to Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy and Dr. V. Shantha.
From a medico's handbook I found a college song of Madras Medical College. It is just like the song for the city.
This college also celebrates 150 years of affiliation to Madras University this year. (It was existing before founding of Madras University and was awarding Diploma of its own.)
I will look forward to the celebrations year after year. Kudos to you and all the three who were seen blogging about the experience.

Vincent D' Souza said...

Thanks Ramachander for those warm words . . .

We have begun work on the 2007 celebrations now!

This is how you and your friends / coleagues can build this up . . . we are loking for partners in different neighbourhoods of Chennai who can play hosts to a weekend event.

Te event can be as simple as a roving exhibition of pictures of Madras ( vintage and current), books on the city, short films on the city and its life etc etc.

While we now look for corporates to fund this package which can do the rounds of say Anna Nagar and Chromepet, Velachery and Triplicane, Royapuram and Thiruvottriyur, we need people like you to host this show.

What you need to do is simple.
Identify venues / local sponsors to provide water, handbills, posters and tables and chairs, get a band of volunteers and set up the exhibition.

We can then include interactivity like quizzes, talks and project shows.
Schools can come in to participate and visit.
Residents can soak in too.

People like you need to be the catalysts.

And to all others who wish to lend a hand , please email us at