August 23, 2008

Celebrating Madras Week

There are many nice little things that have happened because of 'Madras Day'. And as we launch into the last leg of the events, this has been a worthy effort.
No, the city has not changed overnight.
But small changes should take place.
I am just back from a warm function held at Rajaji Hall inside the Government Estates.
In a different time, the Estates were our backyard. All the boys who lived on its fringe played here.
And then, somebody said ghosts haunted some parts of it.
They said that when I got fever every other summer weekend after cricket games in the open here.
Ghosts and fevers did create colourful stories to add to freewheeling legends on the Estates but much later I knew our exhausting hours in the sun must have been the cause of those fevers.
A nice exhibition is on at Rajaji Hall - of coins, postal covers, pictures, rare books . . on Madras.
For the first time the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department has got involved in a 'Madras Day' event. Now, its officers say they would like to work closely. Perhaps start with collaborations on walking tours.
On one side you support city-centric efforts and on the other you get to showcase your city to others.
The events seem to act as a trigger.
A Tawker who now lives in the USA calls me up.
He wants to detail the history of his family, Gujarati businesspeople who once were prominent names in our city. The Tawkers of Mount Road.
Little on this family seems to be available and this young man seems keen to research.
Beatrix D' Souza, a prominent leader of the Anglo-Indian community here is encouraged to present a talk next year.
So when she shows me her childhood haunts ( again, Government Estate because her dad was a musician in the Governor's band and their winter quarters were on the Chepauk fringe of the Estates) I suggested a talk on the contribution of the Anglo-Indians and Goans to the Film Music world of Madras.
Ours is a fascinating city.
Just be proud of it. Madras. Chennai.

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