I am pleased I kept my word with the Architecture students at the Guindy campus this week.
This was a 'Madras Day' celebration spin-off-a promise to lead the students at the School of Architecture at Anna University on a Walk around Fort St. George.
I enjoy the Walks at the Fort on Sunday mornings - the Assembly / Secretariat is on holiday, the chief minister isn't like her predecessor who would zip down to work on the odd Sunday and the organ music from St. Mary's floats in the air.
The only stumblers are the police on security duty; they always want a letter from the Public Department and they are pleased if we keep off from the CM's office zone.
This week though, we had to schedule the Walk on a weekday and during 'working' hours.
A morning when a new Speaker for the Assembly was to be sworn in is just not the time to launch a leisurely walk. TV crews, MLAs, families and friends and partymen besides the stream of petitioners and hangers-on made this campus a colourful community space.
Plus, Madras' famed temperature soared to 36 degrees.
And yet, the Walk was worth the effort.
Our young friends have not been inside this Fort. Nor have they explored Pulicat or Gingee. Nor have they traveled as far as Tranquebar ( Taragambadi).
I couldn't blame them. If we could present Walks as fun, outdoor events they would sign up fast I suppose. Beer cannot be on offer but end the Walk with a picnic lunch and I am sure Walks would be attractive for teenagers and students.
Friend V. Sriram always wants to end his Walks at the closest Saravana Bhavan, for whatever reason. ( I am certainly not a great fan of SB).
On this sweaty October morning, this Walk was what the tourist executive would call a familiarisation event. An introduction to the Fort inside our city.
The Architecture teacher, Rajeswari said that the best thing about it was that the youths got animated and hoped they would go back to the Fort on their own.
This Sunday, another friend is hosting a Navaratri Walk down North Mada Street which has turned into a Doll Hawkers Market this season. It is free, simple and only for an hour (details at www.mylaporetimes.com ).
If shopping is on your mind, join the Walk and shop later!