One of the efforts of Madras Week coordinators has been to get children involved in as many activities as possible. In the Vadapalani area, playing that role the past few years has been Spring into Reading, an activity centre for children. Every year, Hotel Green Park plays host, thanks to Krishna Kumar, the general manager, and his wonderful team, including Ravi, chef Amsa and others. And every year, at programmes conducted by Binita and Shrimati of Spring into Reading, puppetry workshops and storytelling, there is packed attendance; there are more people for these shows than there are for the finale, which is usually a talk or presentation by a well-known speaker. This year, too, the story proceeded according to script, but even Krishna Kumar and his team might not have anticipated the kind of response that the events for children generated last Saturday afternoon.
Like last year, Bhanumathi’s puppetry workshop kick-started events. The theme this year was ‘flora and fauna’, more of fauna actually. Children – there were more than 30 of them – arrived with charts, colour pencils, scissors, glue… the works. Soon, part of the stage and the floor area next to it came alive with children drawing and colouring shapes of animals, turning them into puppets and lining up to show their creations to Bhanumathi.
And, perhaps for the first time this year during Madras Week, there were cries of ‘Happy birthday, Chennai’. The children chorused in unison to wish the city on its 370th anniversary.