For the first time in two decades, I had to skip Saarang.
Not because I dislike Opeth or Sonu Niigaam.
Because I had to run the Mylapore Festival and our dates clashed.
In our time, it was MardiGras and it had a different colour to it.
It is still exciting.
I should have been at the IIT cul-fest some how for a special reason.
To look at what two young IITians had put together under the 'Madras-Chennai Express' theme.
IIT is celebrating its golden jubilee and the Saarang team had felt that this year the fest should pay a tribute to the city that cradles it.
And so, Neeraj and Aashish doubled up soon after their semester exams in December and had long sessions, in person and online with me since we have been deeply involved in the annual Madras Day celebrations (Aug.22: www.themadrasday.in).
They didn't have much time on their hands, but by Pongals festival time they had done enough to host a decent show - exhibition, films and talks by prominent people of our city. They even got nice media coverage for this effort.
Good job, Neeraj and Aashish
It is good to see young people dirtying their hands.
Such projects and events are not those which promise glam and camera lights. They call for an understanding, a passion and a certain attitude.
D. Hemachandra Rao, the city's elder collector of postage, currency and photos said at the IIT show that he would now like a group of young people to take over.
Be it the 'Madras Day' event or campaigns on civic issues that affect the city and its neighbourhoods, we want to see lots more young people get deeply involved.
They are roped in for nominal shows - beach cleaning, no smoking, anti-terrorism and the like.
This is not real.
If you want to get your hands in, you may want to start by networking with Rao PH: 2377 0172. He lost a great young friend last year. He hopes a few passionate young souls will respond.