Pongal is a festival that can bring a community together.
And do it very creatively.
Here is how a vibrant colony in Kilpauk did it this past week.
Over the recent years, Kilpauk's proactive residents have made some efforts to get the residents together.
One such effort has been the 'Kilpauk Utsav'.
This annual get together is like a local jamboree of games, events, food and sales.
As it grew bigger and the demands stronger, the sales have tended to dominate the utsav, robbing it of the warmth and informality that it began with.
At least that is the feeling of some of Kilpauk's residents.
The Pongal show was very down to earth. And it was created by a Kilpauk colony.
Damodaramurthy Road was the venue, a street just off the Aspiran Gardens area, another of the relics of the gracious neighbourhoods of Madras of the 1950s and 60s which are disappearing. . .
The elders on this street and the adjoining ones put their heads together to present the celebrations and make it memorable for their children.
A lot of planning, toil and creative work went into the event.
I particularly liked their idea of getting the children to create imaginative street décor to go with the Pongal festival.
Images of rural men and women cut out from paper and board, stuffed with straw and hung from casuarina poles dug into street corners.
Late at night, the volunteers went out to get cow dung, made a gooey mix of it and sprinkled it on the street so that they had a great surface on which to draw stark kolams!
Thanks to the co-operation of the seniors who had thoughtfully pulled out their cars from the parking lots and lined them up elsewhere, the lots were converted into spaces to hold indoor contests and the entire street was free for all the events.
One creative event required a team of kids to do up a mock cow and then race it to the winning post. An experience that gave the children a touch of Mattu Pongal!
The Kilpauk celebration was truly wonderful and warm.
As must have been another in Tambaram. I got a glimpse of a street packed with women, busy designing kolams for what must have been a fun community event for Pongal.
Truly, a festival like Pongal is a perfect setting for a community celebration.
If you had a unique celebration in your colony or you happened to be at one, feel free to share your experience at my blog.