August 15, 2009

On the eve of Madras Day. . .

It is well past 10 p.m.

Christopher Roy from Nandanam calls me up. He wants to talk about Madras Day. These are calls I cannot refuse (and I wouldn’t pass on this job to a call center!).

Roy grew up in the campus of the YWCA on Poonamallee High Road and he wants to highlight the Great Pond in this campus.

A water body which has seen its best and worst but has remained a well nurtured water body for many, many years. Roy learnt of the Madras Day late but wants to do some thing simple.

So we agree to invite the neighbourhood kids and students to the Y campus and jot their impressions about the Great Pond.

It is a small but significant event. Local events are what have made the concept of Madras Day a unique, evolving, community driven process.

Chandrachoodan runs the PhotoWalks. He invites people over to walk down alleys and bylanes and also to take pictures of the historic precincts and colonies that you and I have not seen or heard of.

Chandru has also been a passionate Madras Day supporter.

But this time around, he was a disappointed man.

He had plans to organise walking tours inside Madras Port and Central Station and the Southern Railway headquarters campus. So he mailed letters. Made a dozen calls. Made personal visits. Was shunted from one office to another. And finally gave up.

(But he has organised four interesting Photowalks this week).

Chandru’s efforts have been frustrated by officers who live and work in this city. Perhaps they have little time and value for their own institutions.

So how do we get such officers to open their gates to people?

As the 2009 edition of ‘Madras Day’ opens, I have a request to all those people who are in charge of heritage institutions, all those who have a lot to do with this city. . . Please make an effort to organise an event that will celebrate this city.

If you want to tell us about it, e-mail us at

1 comment:

Ravages/CC said...

Indeed, I was disappointed when things didn't happen. It's a pity that people who work in important places do not even attempt to engage with the society they live in.

Thankfully though, I got through at the Ripon and Southern Railway buildings, so walks in that area will happen.