January 05, 2008

Treasures of our Neighbourhood

They called him Ramu. They still do. But who was this Ramu?
His admirers even had a statue erected in his honour.
And for a signal contribution he made to the community in Mylapore and around.
I won't go further on Ramu.
The previous generation should have known him well. This one should also know of him. That is why we chose to include his name in what should be a fun, challenging and engrossing event as part of the Sundaram Finance MYLAPORE FESTIVAL 2008.
As I file this column, my eyes are glancing at the skies outside my window. They seem to tease me. It rained after Day One at the Fest. It rained after the morning kutcheri in the Park. And now, as we prepare for Day Two's evening events and artist Rahnu looks forward to children for his workshops in the Park this Friday evening, standing on the chess square with pools of water around it, friends in the Met office tell me there will be more rains and the skies will clear up only on Sunday.
More things are wrought by prayer, they say.
Better things are accomplished if we get on with what we must do.
So despite the rain, friend Suri and I do our final recce of the Treasure Hunt. Both of us enjoyed this exercise. And we learnt a lot about our men and women and about our neighbourhood.
Of bungalows whose history can be traced from their name stones. Of men who lie in peace six feet below. Of the local ration shop which is a hole in the wall and reflects the times that our grandfathers lived in.
We scraped sticky posters off tablet stones, vaulted over walls to double check name plates and took in the scenes at a bazaar.
We are sure those who take part in this Treasure Hunt (info at www.mylaporefestival.com) will enjoy this experience if they dip into the spirit of it all.
For, they will get to know their neighbourhood well.
These are the treasures that make us.
The event is on Sunday morning.
I will be at the first Mass at the church at Luz. And I will not ask God to stop the rains. Rather, I will thank him for igniting this idea in us.

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