Monday, August 07, 2017

Talk and lunch at NInan's at the Y, George Towne

Abraham Ninan; Madras' most popular caterer of the 60s, 70s and 80s. From Pandit Nehru to Madras Medical College's topnotch professors, from the Anglo India families of St Thomas Mount and Perambur, to advocates of the Madras High Court……all of them enjoyed and remembered his food.

A bit of English, a bit of Kerala and a bit of Madras. Thats what he made his food taste.

Ninan began his life with the Spencer's, managing its hugely popular catering on the railways.
He then ran a big canteen at Madras Medical College.

He took over an Iranian restaurant in the YMCA in George Towne and over time, made it a very popular food joint.
English breakfast had the way it should be had - with knives and forks and napkins. The menu for lunch was a big spread of chicken roast, mutton biryani and caramel custard ( it sells fast at Rs.40 a cup!)

Today, his son Alexander Ninan runs the restaurant which is now in its 61st year. And to celebrate a rare restaurant that has run and run and still serves good food, there is going to be a talk and a buffet on a weekend.

Ninan will shares his experiences and then serve the brand of food his place is known for.

Just a different kind of event to mark Madras Day 2017.

Tasakku Tasakku is a song from the hit Tamil film ' Vikram Vedham' that is running full at city theaters, starring Madhavan and Sethupathi.
It is a song at a wild party of the goons of a gang supposedly based in north Chennai.
The song is also a big hit and if you listen to it closely, the lyrics have a lot to express of life in that zone of the city.

Songs on Chennai in movies?
What makes film makers produce them? How do writers get to write the lyrics so apt to a city or neighbourhood? How apt is the music?

These make for a study that goes beyond just music and lyrics.
They tell us the story of this city.

And can make for a great theme for an illustrated talk / lecture.

A new T-shirt for Chennai

The contest to get people to design for a Chennai T-shirt does not seem to enthuse too many people. One wonders why the students at places like NIFT, Arts College and Stella Maris' Arts Dept. do not seem excited about an occasion like this one.

Since the entries we received were few, we went to a professional graphic designer for help and in a few days we seem to have a design that was 'ins[pired' by a India design posted on social media.

The Tee is being produced in Tiruppur and should be out by August 14; for sale.

Limited stocks of M, L and XL sizes.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The men and women who make the Metro

This is an idea that popped up one Sunday. A newspaper report on Chennai's Metro rail triggered it.
The Metro is now at the core of the city's transport.
It is being reported every day.
Thousands of people work on it.
'Who are these people?

So a social message went out - could we have visual profiles of say 25 or 30 workers at different spots on the Metro line - on Poonamallee High Road, on Mount Road or in Anna Nagar.
Get city photographers to click these pictures and ask Metro bosses to grant space on one of its rail station's campus to exhibit them.

This will be one way of saying thank you to unknown people who also make our city.

If you wish to join this group, seek the links on the Madras Day FB page.

Wanted; school hall in North Madras for weekend schools mela

We are looking for a school space where we can host a Madras Mela on a weekend - for schools in the north Chennai neighbourhood.

Hardly any event takes place in Perambur or Royapuram during Madras Day season and that is a shame.
It calls for a lot of effort to seek out and firm up people or communities who can host simple events.
A talk, a walk or even a quiz.
Maybe a nice photo show.

A group is making the effort this year to organize a weekend eerie soy contests for the schools in the Perambur-Ayanavaram-Madhavaram area.
Poster-making, model making, quiz, collection of home-based heritage . . .
If you have some influence with a school with a hall that can house 100 students for two days, do use that reach to get the group involved.


Madras Day is all about getting together, from the heart!