Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The D H Rao Walks. B. Canal. Bridges.

Philatelist and historian D. Hemchandra Rao has been an integral part of Madras Day for many years.
He made it a point to release a Special Postal Cover themed on the city every August 22.
This costs a bit and the less than warm support from the P & T Dept., even from its seniors does not make life easy for Rao.

Rao is currently researching on the Buckingham Canal; he has been at it for some years now and travels often to parts of the Canal for field trips.
During his recent trip between Ongole and Sulurpeta, he volunteered to design two Walks for August.

One on the B Canal, as it is called by engineers in AP.  Starting the walk from Basin Bridge, where the Canal was formally started on its northbound course and exploring it all the way to Central Station zone.

The quays, the boat yards, the locks, the godowns and all that made the Basin a buzzing centre for the boats from south and north.

The second Walk will be on old bridges, built during the time of the British. Starting with Laws Bridge in Chintadripet, the walk will tae people down to the May Day park side and on to Napier's Bridge, near the Marina.

Rao's intends to make people walk down to the less seen sides of these bridges to appreciate their structures.


So look out for these two Walks; planned for top of August.
And be prepared to get dirty. These aren't easy ones.

Welcome to 2017! Ideas on the roll!

Welcome to the 2017 edition of Madras Day. Madras Week if that tag sounds good. And some would say, Madras Month since for some years now the events are spread across 30 or more days!

Last year, the official count showed 152 events. With Talks and Walks adding to a good 50 plus.

And all these events were curated and hosted across the city and voluntarily.
Which is what the spirit of Madras Day has been and will be, hopefully.

Events ideate round the year. Some ideas hibernate, some pop up suddenly and some have a life of their own.

Many groups and communities who have been hosting events for some years now have got their hats on early and share the plans as early as May and June.

One of the events which gets into discussion mode early is the Madras Quiz. Host Murugappa Group is always keen to discuss ways in which this popular event can be improved.
This year, leveraging the social media is the focus and so, a few weeks before the mid-August event there should be some great buzz on FB and Twitter.


Quizmaster Sumanth C. Raman may well present a teaser quiz from a few landmark spots on First Line Beach!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Free-loaders at talks!

The sarcastic jibe that marked open section of the Madras Day series of events was that a bunch of people headed to the Madras Musings' series of Talks only for the 'tiffin' or snacks that the hosts provided.

This group would clean up the snacks even before most guests arrived and made the best of a spread at the big hotels who were hosts.

This left a bad impression on the hosts as well as some guests.

There were occasions when the 'food raiders' would take two or three pieces of the snacks. Some stayed back for the talks, some slipped away.

The dirty side of the series; and it keeps happening year on year. 

A shame indeed.

Events overlap; spread them out?

Events are aplenty now and they overlap. But little can be done to draw a calendar because the events are  planned by volunteers according to the time and space they can mark/spare for Madras Day.

Some suggest that it is time the event are spread across August.


Perhaps, audio recording all talks and posting them online would help 'broadcast' the talks since many of them are on interesting themes.

Vysarpadi Fest among the few events in north Chennai

There were small efforts that popped up across the city this year. Like the talk on 'Sterling Road Histories' hosted by two women who have lived long years in that area.

They even got a senior Railway family who live in a colonial bungalow on the Railways sprawling property on this road in Nungambakkam.

These bungalows are bound to go some day soon; unless there is a quiet campaign that reaches the union railway minister, to save them and restore them and give them a new life.

The big effort was in the north Madras area of Vysarpadi where a few people joined hands with volunteers and social workers and linked up with other city groups to highlight the good things of life here.

The community had thought of this event to showcase the plus points of Vysarpadi which is often in the news for gore, crime, scandals and gangs.

The events may have been small and simple but they launched what could be an annual Vysarpadi Celebration.


Sadly though, this year too there were very few events in north Chennai.