July 18, 2009

'Madras Week' or 'Chennai Vizha' ?

Is it Chennai or is it Madras?
This is the obvious question that people ask us everytime we talk about our city.
It is both, I would suggest.
After all, a city is of many parts.
But how are you involving the Thamizh speaking citizens and the kids in our city Corporation schools?
We expected that question at a tete-a-tete with the media we had on Friday evening when we shared out thoughts on 'Madras Day 2009'.
Calling it 'Chennai Dinam' or 'Chennai Vizha' is not enough, we know that.
How can we be inclusive when we think of ways to celebrate the city?
My thoughts go back to a visit to Kalaimagal Vidyalaya school in north Madras. It was their Project Day. And in a darkened classroom the students presented a villupaatu-styled show on the Heritage of North Madras.
They had created huge photo exhibits of key landmarks of the region, split up each image in a way that it created a 2D effect when they held it up behind the performers and story tellers.
We brought this troupe to a few schools on the other side of the Cooum river.
How I wish we had built on that excellent production and prepared a bigger one for Chennai Vizha 2009.
Perhaps we need to make greater efforts to be inclusive.
Deepa Ramakrishnan offered help this Friday in that direction.
Deepa is a reporter for 'The Hindu' and covers north Madras and the Chennai Corporation.
She has promised to help us network with a few Corporation schools who can participate in exhibitions and contests and go on to create events on the neighbourhoods they come from.
She will also try and convince Rajesh Lakhoni, Chennai Corporation Commissioner to put on an exhibition on the Corporation, which is a landmark institution of out country.
If you can help to network and invest in ideas and action, step out for your city.

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