This happens to me often.
I find myself walking down the Marina Beach road on the eve of our Republic Day celebrations, when people are erecting platforms, unloading chairs, decorating the sidewalk and cleaning the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
And then I tell myself I should be at the parade on January 26.
And invariably I am not.
I had guests from Sri Lanka this week and they were very eager to be at the parade at the San Thome end. They kept the date. But I think skipping the event and getting snatches of it on TV made sense.
If there was one irritating feature of the 2007 parade, it was that loud Thamizh song which was played for every other performing troupe that scampered before the VIPs who were sitting under a shamiana off the beach.
Like a worn out LP record stuck in the groove, it assaulted the audience and limited the zest and creativity of all the young people who performed for this special occasion.
And then pops a question - for whom are these parades? How much of it is for ordinary people?
The mixed lot of floats and the march past of the members of the armed forces can fascinate onlookers but how many people can really enjoy the cultural events of this parade?
In early January, the Chennai City Police celebrated its 150 anniversary.
This was indeed a landmark in its colourful history.
The police, among its many events, held an exhibition. One which people of this metro should have had the opportunity to visit.
But the show was held for a limited period and on day one, the security, the high-profile functions and the regulations, discouraged many enthusiasts from enjoying this show which traced the history of the metropolitan force.
This was a great opportunity for the City Police to reach out to the community or even involve it through its numerous police stations in the neighbourhoods.
But all that was done was to deck the stations in streams of buntings and serial lights.
A travelling exhibition which stopped at all police stations would have been a great exercise for the occasion.
Even the Madras Port, which celebrated its 125 years, hosted catamaran races, a marine exhibition and conducted tours of the port for schools. But the port managers limited these events and the people of the city did not have the opportunity to appreciate a landmark institution of our city.
Perhaps this is the cause for the 'disconnect'. Between institutions and the people.