August 11, 2012

Madras Day Collaboration

Journalist G C Shekhar and civic activist Shekar Raghavan needed one week to make their contribution to the annual Madras Day celebrations (

They had a tea meeting, exchanged notes, called up friends and senior citizens and had the basic blueprint for what they call the Gandhi Nagar Walk.

This Sunday, the duo will do a recce of the nagar that lies on the banks of the Adyar, tie up the loose ends and be prepared to take people who wish to join them on the Walk on August 26, Sunday morning.

Raghavan, the man who also promotes rainwater harvesting has even managed to pull out a yellowing sheet of paper which carries the layout of an area that was simply called Adyar first and then renamed Gandhi Nagar.

Collaboration and networking by people of this city is what makes most events of Madras Day unique.

Three weeks ago, Dr. Sumanth Raman called to say he would love to present the annual Madras Quiz. Raman has been running a hugely popular Sports Quiz on Doordarshan for many years despite his busy worktime at TCS.

We looked around for a venue and called up a reliable friend in the hotel industry, Krishna Kumar who now manages the Aloft Hotel on OMR. KK, as friends call him worked the phone lines and coaxed Hotel Ambassador Pallava to be the venue and hospitality partner for the Madras Quiz which is on August 26 afternoon.

Sumanth promises not to overload this Quiz with questions on 19th century Madras but have something teasy for young and old. So make time to be there at the hotel on Montieth Road.

A spread of eight Talks are being presented by Madras Musings, the fortnightly on Madras and all these talks are being hosted by hotels of the city who have freely opened their halls to the public.

The talks cover food and lawyers, entrepreneurs and Sivaji Ganesan.

The collaboration works.

There are many more events which neighbourhoods are hosting in similar fashion.

A group in the Arcot Road area has got people at the famed L. V. Prasad Studios in Saligramam to take guests on a tour of the film studio and allied facilities and share the histories of the place and of the people who made it.

Even as I write this comes a mail from a passionate cyclist. Ram volunteers to lead a cycling tour of Mylapore / Triplicane on a weekend morning.

I hope the foodies at the Chennai Food Guide will surprise us with a Street Food Trail.

Madras Day/ Week is all about collaboration, freely.

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