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.

Docu-film on Anglo-Indians in Chennai Today

Madras Day is triggering the making of song videos and documentary films.
One film which was screened at the fag end of the Madras Week was on the Anglo-Indians in the city today.

Made by Harry Maclure who edits 'Anglos in the Wind' magazine and Customs officer Richard O'Connor, the 55-minutes long film looks at the AIs in different areas of the city - the past and the present.

Though it was a hurried assignment and could do with better filming and audio quality it is still a valuable document of the city's community.

It was screened at the Press Institute, Taramani. And this film will make a good addition to the small collection of films on Chennai/Madras.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Controversies sink into cheap jibes

Controversies have enveloped the Madras Day process from the time the idea was floated.
Are you pro-British?
Are you saying the area we call Madras/Chennai did not exist before 1639?
Are you celebrating white men who took Indian blood and suck us to this day?
Why not Chennai 2000 Plus?

The last mentioned is an idea circulated by a senior journalist who seems to run a Trust - Chennai 2000 Plus.

Debates are always welcome.
As long as they are civil and don't cross unwritten borders.
Sadly, many who blow hot and cold have not even celebrated the city in some way.

Now, there are people who are hitting below the belt. Mails are being sent to newspapers and people casting aspersions on the 'catalysts', calling the name of Jesus and Good Friday in arguments and flooding the  mail boxes.