October 20, 2007

Navaratri Zone in Mylapore!

How many of you would like to take a boat trip at dusk on the Buckingham Canal, from Muttukadu to Marakanam?
Well, my friend Manoj Joy who publishes 'Velachery Plus', a free weekly community newspaper, has some ideas.
Ideas which can work, he says. He should know because Manoj used to sail the oceans in a 'previous life'.
Manoj would like to hire a large boat, fitted with lights and music and a nook for food. He would also like to have on board a story-teller who would entertain guests with stories and anecdotes which have to do with the Canal.
And when the boat slips into Marakanam Lake, the guests would spend time with the community which actually makes the salt pans work.
We were walking down the Canal in the Muttukadu region recently when Manoj shared his ideas.
And I kept thinking of the fun boat rides that are offered on the Mandovi in Goa.
This week, I was back on the Mada Streets of Mylapore, taking in the sights and sounds of the Navaratri festival shopping.
North Mada Street had made space for doll makers and street hawkers from all over.
I was looking for a Natyanjali set.
I had read some where that this year artisans had introduced a set of dolls based on the annual classical dance fest held in that magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Nataraja in Chidambaram.
I strolled down Mada Street asking for the Natyanjali set but wasn't successful.
And then, when I stood back to take in the sights of this street I began to wonder. . . .
Wasn't this an occasion the Chennai Corporation and the Tourism Department could pick up to celebrate for a week?
Declare North Mada Street a 'no traffic' zone for three hours in the evening, encourage doll and toy makers to spread their wares from end to end, negotiate with the existing stores, large and small to create parking lots for their customers so that their business did not suffer, illuminate the street, play soft classical music at the street corners, support kutcheris at the temple, hand out 'sundal' to guests . . . .
Make North Mada Street a Navaratri Fest Zone.
Is this really possible?
It is. If you believe that such celebrations also make our city.

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