January 12, 2008

A Fest needs its Community

Vallabhi had her fingers crossed. Would she get her papers through on time and fly back from Muscat to volunteer at the Mylapore Festival 2008?
She got them and made it on time to be with us at the Fest.
It is the community spirit that we, the brains behind this annual Fest, wish to strengthen, year after year.
There were two dozen people who came forward to volunteer.
And there were two dozen others who gladly accepted the invitation to be facilitators, creative leaders and organisers of the 40-plus events.
A young woman reporter of 'The New Indian Express' pressed the question - 'Why is it called the Mylapore Festival?'
The simple answer - Because it is in Mylapore!
But the Fest is much more than just this.
Using open spaces is one objective and we have had to toil hard to achieve it.
Perhaps I would like to have the CMDA, the Chennai Corporation and the City Police look closely at our Festival and think about devising newer 'space use' regulations in and around the Sri Kapali Temple area.
Could we make the Mada Streets 'one-way' at specified times?
Could we ban traffic on the 'mada veedhis' for a few hours on Sunday?
Why haven't we engaged the Southern Railway about the space at its MRTS station campus which can be the transport exchange node as well as a parking lot?
Can we not do away with the bus stations on R. K. Math Road alongside the tank?
As for us, we would like to make good use of the inner lanes of the temple zone. And often run a 'sound and light' show on Mylapore in a quadrangle here.
The idea is not to displace people, shops, everyday life.
Rather enrich it.
Employ ways in which prayer, shopping, walking, the arts and snacking co-exist better.
If people like young Vallabhi kept her date with the Fest, how much more can the community achieve if it joins hands to 'transform' a zone and take pride in it.

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