January 23, 2013

Mylapore can up its unique heritage

The idea was not new. Nor was it a simple one to execute.
Elai sapad served to guests at traditional houses.
It was an idea that we, at the Mylapore Festival adopted in 2012.
We were conversing with IAS officer Sheela Rani Chunkath about the possibility of hosting master craftspeople at the Fest when Chunkanth suggested the elai sapad idea.
She had visited the Fest some years ago and just couldn't get her way into the crowded Food Street. Why not offer guests the pleasure of having a local meal served on banana leaves at Mylapore's houses?
We grabbed the idea but it took time to move it forward. There weren't too many families wiling to play host and entertain guests. Would it be safe? How many guests could be served? How much to charge?
We started with one host; this year we had three.
And 32 people were booked, the maximum the hosts could accommodate.
Scheduled on the eve of Pongal when the local markets are better stocked with a variety of vegetables, preparing the meal was a tad easy. And at one hundred rupees per meal it was a steal, with guests
from Vadapalani and Gopalapuram signing up.
This was indeed a great positive of the Fest - to get Mylaporeans involved in different ways.
Pushing ideas needs some persistence and creativity.
So we took the idea of hosting Talks at a bungalow to some people. Dr Vatsala Narayanaswamy who is involved with the National Boys and Girls Society invited us to her drawing room of the 1950s.
The ideas and the little events seem to be impacting on people who can do more.
Vijaykumar Reddy who now heads the Trustees managing the affairs of Sri Kapali Temple, Mylapore has two ideas on his table - to get the Tourism Department of Tamil Nadu to promote the famed Arbathumoovar festival across the country and to ensure the inner streets of the temple zone are spice and span.
These small positives from the Fest make us, as curators feel good.

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