November 24, 2007

Arts for Campus

Theatreperson Pralayan is just back from a month-long residence in Hosur.
Back from working with school children on a Thamizh play and helping them discover and debate many issues.
Pralayan, who lives in Besant Nagar and runs his street theatre group, writes scripts and works on films ( he has worked on Kamal Hasan's 'Dasavatharam') often works with school children.
On invitation though.
In Hosur, he was working with a school run by the TVS group.On invitation because Pralayan isn't keen to stage slapstick shows for Annual Days and end-of-year celebrations.
He steps in only when a host encourages its senior students to get involved in a play, respond to it, debate issues, expand the production and gain some thing more than curtain call applause.
Not long ago, Pralayan also worked with the girl students at Avvai Home in Adyar.
And he is open to invitations.
I have known of a few other schools who make use of the talent of creative people of the neighbourhood to work with their students.
The School-KFI in Adyar hosts a unique drama fest every year. It invites a few schools to work on original scripts and focus on themes that bother / affect / appeal to young students.The plays are staged and dialogues follow.
Since the plays are held on campus, only a limited number of people get to see them.
Perhaps, neighbourhood schools could draw on the talent, resource and time of creative people who reside in the area to enrich their extra-curricular programmes.
If schools are already doing this, I'd like to hear from them . . .
Meanwhile, Pralayan wants to make this known - he can convince the TVS School in Hosur to let their students' theatre team stage their new production in our city if somebody can sponsor travel, accommodation and theatre space.

November 17, 2007

Welcome to December Season 2007

Dear Vincent, I hope you make my 'season' a wonderful one!
Part of an e-mail I found in my mail box earlier this week.
It was from a regular at our web site
And I guess this man in the USA wanted to warm us up for the 'season of music and dance'.
Three people - Revathi, Manju and Bhanumathy - are doing their best to make the 'season' a great one for thousands of people who will enjoy visiting our web site over the next seven weeks.
For it is that time of the year when our city plays host to one of the most unique festivals of classical music and dance anywhere in the world.
For close to a decade, we at KutcheriBuzz have been doing what we do best - providing rasikas news and information that prepares them better for the 'season'.
And reporting the highlights of the fest so that all those people who cannot make it to Chennai, manage to get a 'feel' of it wherever they are.
Often, we go beyond our call.
We have tried to get Mylaporeans and Adyarites to offer bed and breakfast facilities for the 'December season'.
That is because the number of people outside this city who seek this facility are growing.
We have also tried to coax people to host 'coffee and chat' nooks and meetings so that visiting artistes, touring groups and south India-bound tourists have a space to get a closer 'feel' of music and dance . . .
Because there is more to a fest than hundreds of concerts and dozens of lec-dems . . . .
Perhaps, there will be a 'Walk around and Discover Kalakshetra' tour that will get booked this season.
Perhaps, my friend V. Sriram will after all decide to host at least two heritage walks devoted to music /dance in December. . .
Perhaps, the Tamil Nadu Tourism will find better ways to package the Mamallapuram Dance Fest which allows the audience, mostly foreigners and tourists, to soak in that bit extra . .
Sitting as we do in the heart of all the action on the eve of the December season, I guess I tend to get overly excited.
Anyway, you will see me more at

November 10, 2007

Charity at Diwali Time

A warm story of charity at festival time came into the office of the 'Arcot Road Times' last week.
The Lalitha Sahasranama Mandali in K. K. Nagar is made up of about 20 women. But this group goes beyond its original intention. It reaches out to the elderly in 'homes' across the city and the state.
The idea to do works of charity popped up when the women realised there was more that people in 'homes' needed than just bhajans and pleasant exchanges.
By word of mouth, the Mandali members gathered clothes, medicines, essential foodstuff and monies from well wishers in the neighbourhood and a new charity got going.
We heard about this venture recently and reported it.
The Mandali received a dozen calls even on the eve of Deepavali and a new set of donors had joined the list.
On the other side of this neighbourhood, in MGR Nagar, a different set of people reached out to the kids in the local Corporation School.
'Chirag' is based in Besant Nagar.
It networks with young, high income and generous executives, especially in the IT business to channel their donations for welfare projects.
In MGR Nagar, Chirag's volunteers took the trouble to understand each student's dream gift for Deepavali and made sure all of them got what they wished for!
Like the Mandali group of K. K. Nagar and 'Chirag', there are many others who keep a low profile and are high in enthusiasm and charity.
As community newspapers, we would like to give them space whenever we can to enable residents of a neighbourhood to reach out. And they do so in their own backyards.
So if you are a group which reaches out to the less fortunate and would like a message to go out to our readers, feel free to write to us or send us an e-mail.
Meanwhile, you can contact the Mandali at 2472 6076. Chirag has a web site - its URL is

November 03, 2007

Cub Reporters at Work!

Do abandoned chicks of a pigeon make a good story?
R. Anusha asked, innocently.
Tell us the story, I coaxed her.
There were at least 20 school students in the room.
And they listened to Anusha, a student of Padma Seshadri, K. K. Nagar.
Of how the pigeons used to nest in the house of her friend's neighbour. They didn't like the idea of a bigger pigeon family and so the young ones were dropped off some where.
And Anusha's friend picked them and raised them.
Any good news story is good for a community newspaper.
And this is what we encourage senior students to report for the month of November. A time of the year when we guide the enterprising and the talented to go out into their colonies and report for their local newspapers.
Anusha and 20 other students were at our meeting held at the Arcot Road Times office.
Last weekend, 20 others from the neighbourhoods of Adyar and Mylapore met up with us. They braved the rains and the cyclonic weather for this second editorial meeting. And the kids came up with a few good story ideas.
One of them is on the enterprise of three young boys who run an e-newsletter on science.
Another is on a person who has holiday tours designed specifically for senior citizens.
A third is on how an old graveyard is polluting the colony which is now full of apartments.
I wish some had volunteered to take a ride with Adyar's night patrol policemen and get a taste of the job and perhaps have a brush with some adventure!
Some years ago, one student reporter managed to hop into a fire engine which was setting off on a SOS call and went on to file an on-the-spot report.
All the three newspapers - Adyar Times, Mylapore Times and Arcot Road Times - will feature reports filed by these students which deserve publication.
I am sure these kids will enjoy the exercise through this month.
Sadly, many parents think such experiences are a waste of time!