July 20, 2007

Planning 'Madras Day 2007'

From a quiet corner of Elango Nagar in Virugambakkam on the fringe of this city, veteran philatelist D. H. Rao has been working hard at one goal.
Helping him in this endeavour has been an equally enthusiastic philatelist, Raja Seetharam of Chintadripet.
The duo have succeeded in convincing the Postal Department to bring out a special postal cover for a special occasion - the celebration of Madras Day.
Yes, 'Madras Day' will be with us soon.
August 22 is now being celebrated as 'Madras Day', a day to remember the city's history and heritage, its people and communities, its contribution and the milestones it has set.And perhaps, a time to look forward!
A few years ago, some of us who love this city got together to float this idea and make it a reality.
We wanted the celebration to come from within the people who own this city, the people who live here and like the place.So, the events are informal and self-driven. They are not state-sponsored.
With a month to go to launch what is called the 'Madras Week' ( Aug.19 to 26), a window which provides a time for communities, groups, clubs and institutions to host events focussed on the city, the first plans have just rolled out.
City schools are being invited to select a small team to work on a project on researching a heritage campus or neighbourhood landmark or local communities; once they are ready, they will make presentations at a common venue and the best will be given prizes.
Young film makers have a contest before them.
Titled 'Frames of Chennai', they are invited to produce a short film on a unique aspect of the city; films which will document a people, a life, an issue . . .
The best films will be screened at a festival and yes, there will be prizes for the bests.
A series of talks are to be held at venues across the city; the themes will focus on city-related subjects. Sample: Historian and writer Randor Guy will talk on 'Three Great Murders of Madras' and the venue could be a hall at the Madras High Court campus!
The MadBulls, a unique community of Bullet bike riders of the city are drawing out a route across the cty which will take them to a few landmarks which are not so popular but interesting: like the Hanging Gardens and a war-time bunker in north Madras!
This is an occasion for people to network and work out events which focus on the city. Bookstores can have reading sessions; cafes can invite poets to recite their city-centric verses; clubs could host speakers to their weekly meetings . . . .
This is the way 'Madras Day' is celebrated.
To be in the loop, log on to a web site whose URL is http://www.themadrasday.in/

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