The women are cajoling us.
The children are pestering us.
And we are not surprised as we work backstage to launch the four-day 2007 edition of the Sundaram Finance- MYLAPORE FESTIVAL on January 4.
The phone calls have been coming in strong and thick.
'Uncle, what are all the competitions for children?' asks one.
'Do you have that quiz contest this year too?', asks another.
The women don't give up easily.
"My mother has been taking part in the kolam event every year. Can't you add just one more name please?"
" I saw the advert only now. How did the registration get over so soon?"
People, be they adults, be they children, seem to get very excited about contests.
I wonder if this has something to do with the pulls and pressures that the test, exam and rank culture injects into our bloodstream.
People want to contest. They want to register. They want to know what the prizes are. Whew!
As the people behind the fest, I guess we have some thing extra to do. And that is to encourage people to understand that a festival is quite different from a high-powered contest.
The 'Mylapore Festival' is really a 'vizha' you can soak in. In free abandon.
You will not get assaulted by strobe lights and giant flexi-ad boards. You will not be sold housing loans and pestered with credit card forms.
You are invited to lose yourself in the spirit that is Mylapore.
The fest lives with the life around it - the pujas and the bhajans, the devotees and the shoppers, the noisy hawkers of the Mada Streets and the shy bhel-puri wallah behind the temple 'ther'.
But it brings alive a lot of what should also be part of our lives.
Folk music and dance inside the temple, vintage songs in concert and history lessons, food fest and a mela of art and crafts and more.
The fest seeks to make all these events find some space in what is a unique heritage zone of the city of Chennai.
There are over forty events across four days next week and we would like you and your family to be at the fest. And do tell your aunts and uncles and cousins and friends in Anna Nagar, Chrompet, Kilpauk and Royapuram, to make it to the Fest.
This is a community fest. People make it happen.
If you wish to have more info, do log on to www.mylaporefestival.com