August 31, 2007

Ideas for Madras Day 2008!

The 'Madras Day 2007' story has not got over yet.
This Sunday, we are screening some of the better-produced documentaries which film makers had entered in a contest.
The screening is at Srinivasa Shastri Hall in Luz, from 3.30 pm onwards.
As a finale to this session, we will screen a rather provocative film made on the city of Chennai, once Madras, by Venkatesh Chakravarthy.
It is called 'Chennai - The Split City'. It runs for about 70 minutes but if you like documentaries, you should not miss this film though it has been screened at different places this past year.
Our intention is to get film makers to do more films on our city: its life, its communities, its people, its warts and all.
I will be very happy if 'Madras Day' can drive people to make films on our city so that we have a growing collection of visual footage for the archives, for screenings and for dissemination.
We had a call from St. George's on the weekend.This school was late on the 'Madras Day' schedule but was keen to motivate schools in their neighbourhood to join them in a festival dedicated to the city we love.
And St. George's had another request - could we help provide a person who could take their school children on a tour of Fort St. George?
Acceding to this request was going to be difficult - all of us who had been deeply involved in the 'Madras Day' celebration had retired.
Would you imagine this? We had 84 people on the walk around the Fort on Saturday last and 72 the next day, Sunday.
And our guide, Dr. S. Suresh, the archaeologist, never complained though he was on duty on both days.
Which brings us to a suggestion we have for our schools - would it not be a great idea if each school trained a teacher or two to double up as guides on at least two heritage courses in our city?
They could take groups of their schools on walks, one at a time, throughout the year. And then train a different set of teachers who could take charge.
And thereby, keep this cycle alive. . .It would also be great if senior and fit residents of the city who intimately know areas like Egmore, George Towne, the Marina, Mylapore, San Thome, Adyar, Kilpauk, the film studio neighbourhood of Vadapalani . . . . could themselves be guides on special tours through these areas.
If these men and women took the lead to showcase our well-known, heritage-rich neighbourhoods, they would be doing all of us a great service.


rajaram said...

Hi Vincent,

This is N Rajaram, the winner of the open quiz last sunday. if you are still looking for a resource person for the St George Fort's walk, i am ready to do that. you may reach me at 9444154440 or at I can do this on any given day, at a couple of days notice.

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

Hi Sir,
Thanks for dropping by my blog.. Will surely do more for Madras day 2008.. I'm glad to get to know the people who are behnid this event..You guys rock!

Vincent D' Souza said...

Great to get feedback on the Madras Day.

Yes, some of us now plan to present heritage walks at least once or twice a month so that Madras that is Chennai has this facility on offer as is done n Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

Volunteers are always welcome.

Anonymous said...

hi mr d:

maybe u could toss around some ideas regarding what constitutes heritage, surely not just buildings or gardens, what about people, living breathing people, their customs, their rituals, certain things that people as a community get together and follow? U could ask around, never know when someone might come up with something so commonplace or radical. Traditions, customs, procedures, ceremonies that have been followed since time began. Buildings themselves do not heritage make up.

Y doesnt mr d write for Madras MUsings, since that reaches a completely different kind of reader, not necessarily one staying in Mylapore, Adyar or Arcot Road. HIs views presented in a very chatty and thot provoking manner need to be known allover madras, not restricted to just areas mentioned above.

One gathers he is already terr. busy but if he could give it some thot, would be wonderful. Madras Musings very readable as it is, could do with mr d's column. think about it mr d. goodluk.