Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Of a 'crazy city' and temples along ECR

One of my efforts over the years has been to get interesting speakers to come to the Vadapalani-KK Nagar area. People in these neighbourhoods hardly get a chance to listen to speakers like S. Muthiah, Randor Guy, Mohan Raman, V. Sriram or Chitra Madhavan. And not everybody can go to Hotel Savera or to the Connemara or to the TAG Centre to listen to well-known speakers.

Developing a community also means bringing in resource people from the city centre and promoting interactions between them and residents. So, every time I have been able to get a speaker to either KK Nagar or Vadapalani or Anna Nagar, areas that are cut off from the cultural and literary circuit in Chennai, I am delighted.

Randor Guy came to address an audience at Hotel Green Park a few years ago, and Mohan Raman did the honours last year.

This time, I managed a Double Bill – V. Sriram and Chitra Madhavan in back-to-back talks. For Chitra, it was a second time at Green Park. A couple of years ago, her presentation was so well received that there were far more questions than anybody had bargained for.

Sriram as usual was as irrepressible as ever and the audience broke into peals of laughter time and again as he ploughed through the city with interesting visuals and rib-tickling content and commentary, an effort that showed the crazy side of the city.

Chitra, dwelling on temples along the ECR, amazed everyone with her sheer breadth of knowledge of temples and architecture, sculptures and inscriptions. She was able to answer with ease all the questions out to her.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When Bommi & Friends brought Kodambakkam alive

Well, as you know, the Green Park show did not end with the craft workshop. No sooner had the children posed for the flashing cameras, holding aloft their attractive lanterns, than it was time for Bommi and her friends to come to Dazzleland, Kodambakkam in this case.

A few words about Bommi. Bommi and Friends is an original 3D animation IP (intellectual property) targeted at children of pre-school age, up to nine years. Production of the first season of 13 episodes for television is complete, and the telecast is likely to commence early 2011. The series has been created for children worldwide. In many ways, Bommi owes her existence to ace storytellers Jeeva Raghunath and Nandini Sridhar. Together, they developed the character. Image Venture, which owns the IP, developed the image and character of the girl and named her Bommi.

In the open lobby, despite all the colour Bommi and her friends brought to public view, there were patches of disorder and onlookers found it a bit difficult to connect the Bommi act with the images running on screen from yesteryear Tamil films a distance away from the performance.

The Madras or Chennai connection begins with Bommi visiting Dazzleland (Kodambakkam). So enthused is she by Kollywood, she calls her friends along and together they revisit scenes from the past as well as of the present.

Coordinating the show as only she can, Jeeva was in my view the star of the programme. But let the kids take it – they did a marvelous job. And it must not have been easy acting when almost the whole of Green Park was watching.

Kudos to the organisers of the show, Binita and Shrimati of Spring into Reading, for pulling it off yet again. And to Mathiseelan and Senthilkumar who attended the show with their families and distributed goodies to all the participants. They, along with Sivayogen, run Image Venture.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Of children, colour, lanterns and razzmatazz

Madras Week programmes at Hotel Green Park are usually grand affairs, and this year was no different. Most of the events have to do with children, art and craft, and storytelling and, naturally, there is always a lot of colour and joie de vivre.

This time, Spring into Reading, run by Binita and Shrimati, organised two programmes for children – one to do with art and craft, and the other with storytelling. This was followed by back-to-back talks – by V. Sriram and Chitra Madhavan. Overcast skies and an afternoon downpour came as a bit of a dampener but in the end it did not take the spirit away from the Madras Day celebrations at Green Park.

Madras that is Chennai has a tradition of kolam creation. Using that as the theme, children, 35 of them in the above-six age group, were taught to draw kolams on handmade paper, shape the paper into a box shape, string beads on it and fashion a lantern.

The skillful Sindhu Suresh got the activity going, helping the children draw patterns first and taking them through the exciting process of lantern-making. The event lasted an hour and a half. For the first time, Hotel Green Park allowed use of its spacious lobby, but even that seemed small on Sunday because the whole place was swarmed by children, parents, volunteers and photographers.

There were children not only from the neighbourhood, but even from places like Nanganallur and Nerkundram. Rain and clouds had not deterred them. Indeed, it was quite a brilliant start to the proceedings, and the ambience in the lobby area was as festive as it could get.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Fort where it all began

Working out of the Fort St George premises must be quite an experience, especially if you have a sense of history. I wonder how it must be for Sathyabhama Badhreenath, superintending archaeologist, whose office, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), is inside the Fort. According to her, it is an old private building that once belonged to an Armenian merchant. She is surrounded by other historic buildings – the Fort Museum (originally the Exchange Building where trade happened), the St Mary’s Church (built by William Dixon and designed by Fowle), the Fort House ( probably the first built structure after the John Company set up shop, reconstructed over the years), and the Parade Ground. Indeed, whether for trade, religion or other activity, the British had built a conglomeration of buildings around Fort House.

In some strange way, although the seat of Government has now shifted to Anna Salai, the Fort is still seen as a seat of power. Kottai piddippon (we’ll capture the Fort) has always been a slogan during election time. But once upon a time, it was just a dream of Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, John Company agents, happy to get calico cloth at a cheap rate. But from the Fort grew Madras and many institutions of modern India; as Sathyabhama said, it was the “bones of the Empire”.

Sathyabhama referred to the building where Robert Clive lived after his marriage, how later the Company took it over, and which now is Clive House, a museum that brings alive the history of the period. Close by is a building where another well-know figure, Arthur Wellesley, lived.

Sathyabhama showed pictures of King’s Barracks, built in 1755, the earliest barracks in the country. So also the flag mast, the tallest in India, according to her. Most of buildings inside the Fort had long verandahs, huge columns, Madras terraces and Mangalore tiles that together aided sufficient ventilation. While people resided on the first floor, the ground floor was often used as a place for storing goods.

What remains of the Fort today? Sadly, many of the first lot of buildings do not exist. The few that do are in a state of neglect. Fortunately, Sathyabhama has been taking interest in restoring some of the old buildings. Clive House owes its sparkle to her. She said she had plans to restore some of the other old buildings. Work is already going on one of the oldest buildings. Work on a couple of others could begin once she gets permission from the Defence establishment which owns them. Let’s wish her efforts success.

Active participation at Jaigopal Garodia School, Anna Nagar

The management of the Jaigopal Garodia School in Anna Nagar has always supported Madras Week activities and over the years heritage talks and exhibitions have been conducted on the premises. Ashok Kedia, managing trustee, and Vijayakumar, principal, play the perfect hosts and ensure that there is a full house.

This year, Chitra Madhavan made a wonderful presentation on Lesser Known Temples in Madras and their evolution as Madras grew from sandy strip to metropolis. In attendance were students and teachers interested in history, as well as visitors from the neighbourhood. There were several interesting questions from the audience and Chitra fielded all of them well. At the end of it, there was masala tea prepared by Viji and crisp samosas.

I suggested to Ashok and Vijayakumar that from next year they look at a weeklong programme, with a talk every evening. They could also organise a heritage walk in the Anna Nagar area with help from the local community, people who have a fair knowledge of the place.

The problem with many schools is that the students have so much work to do on the academic front that they find very little energy and time for Madras Week. Only when the management considers it worthwhile does it have a spiraling effect, as Asan Memorial School, for instance, has shown.

There were quite a few questions after Chitra’s presentation, mostly from visitors. Surprisingly, no student had any. One gentleman came up with an interesting one: Why always talk about 370-odd years of the city’s history when it was in existence centuries ago.

The answer to that was Madras or Chennai never really existed before 1639; all that existed were several small villages such as Mylapore, Triplicane, Egmore, Purasawalkam and Tondiarpet. It was only after the deal was struck on August 22, 1639 between two hatted and cloaked traders Andrew Cogan and Francis Day of the English East India Company and the Nayak of Poonamallee, through the broker or Dubash, Neri Thimmanna, that Madras had its beginnings.

To add a bit of detail, the new English ‘factory’ in the early 1640s was little more than a small fortified enclosure within which were a main Fort House, completed in a rudimentary form on April 23, 1640, St George’s Day (thus explaining the name of the Fort), and 15 or so thatched huts. This ‘factory’ was to grow into the Madras of today.

To the north of it, on what is the High Court campus today, sprang up what was called ‘Out Town’ or ‘Gentu (Telugu) Town’. This ‘Black Town’, in the shadow of the Fort and stretching to today’s NSC Bose Road and south Broadway areas, came to be known as Chennapatnam, its name recalling Chennakesava Nayak, the father of the Nayak who made the grant to John Company.

The ‘urban agglomeration’ of the Fort, with ‘White Town’ within, and ‘Black Town’ without, was the genesis of today’s metropolis. In effect, Madras in 1640 was the ‘Castle’ (or ‘Inner Fort’) enclosing within its walls and four bastions the Factory House and the official European quarter; the ‘Outer Fort’ enclosing this ‘Castle’, other European homes and the Portuguese St Andrew’s chapel – all protected by four bastions, three walls and two gates in the north wall leading to ‘Black Town’. Fort St George is where it all began. And the Fort, named after St George, was built with the simple intention of protecting the trading outpost and merchandise of the English from their formidable and troublesome neighbours. It was never constructed with the notion of military aggression.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Moses' army buttons and Rao's Red Buildings

D. H. Rao, numismatist and philatelist, retored civil engineer and passionate heritage conservator has been at the head of the annual Exhibition of coins, stamps, pictures, books, maps and all things antique.

His equally passionate and devoted 'left hand' used to be Raja Seetharaman. We lost him two seasons ago in a freak accident soon after an eventful Madras Week.

Rao's new friends have given him support to carry on with this annual show and this year it is on at Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram in Kilpauk, with the hope that people of this area would step in and enjoy the rare exhibits.

Rao's extra to add to his display this year is his series on Red Buildings of the city. The GPO, State Bank of India, High Court and the Magistrates' Courts, Museum and lot on Patheon campus, etc etc.

Moses was new this year and his collection was small but unique. Buttons of men in the Band and the Artillery which he had picked up at the Pallavaram shady market a decade ago ("nowadays they sell only fowl, cages and plastic so we don't go there anymore", he said when he realised I would want to explore that weekly market. "Those days the Anglos used to sell off such things!"
Moses also had cute lamp stands and pens and a rice measure with ' Madras' markings etched on it.

I realised this Thursday evening how Madras Week seems to create the space for people to showcase objects, records and all things of the past that we would never have got to see.

An Aussie with a Cam

Chitra has been playing host to talks every evening at her Palazzo Gallery on Seethammal Colony, Alwarpet.

It is a cosy space and I was there to attend a talk on the Anglo Indians in Madras by Dr. Beatrix D' Souza, former HoD of English at Presidency College, former Member of Parliament (nominated) and community activist who resides on San Thome's Custian Beach Road.

Betty, as friends know her had done a thorough job and delivered a very professorial talk with a dash of humor and space for debate.
We were about 18 or 20 in that small space and one man stood out - Nigel Foote from Melbourne, Australia. He had set up his small digicam at his seat and shot Betty's talk start to end.

This was a bonus for Nigel, whose host was Harry Maclure, Ed of 'Anglos in The Wind' magazine. Nigel said he could trace his roots to an Englishman who first sailed to Australia and then worked at the Fort St George, Madras.

Nigel wasn't exactly tracing his ancestors here. His mission was to do a recce of the pilgrimages made by people to the Vailankanni Church in Nagapattinam at this time of the year. A recce to plan for a full docu-film for Australians on this business of pilgrims walking for days on end for a purpose.

But to have Betty's talk on tape was a big bonus for Foote. His reward - Betty and Co. took him and friends to dinner at the Gymkhana Club on Island Grounds where over 70 years ago, the Anglos played the Big Band music.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From New York, with love!

Ashwin  Prabhu emailed from New York, USA. The mail says it all.

Hi Vincent,

I just had to drop a line to you and your team to wish you all luck in organizing this year’s Madras Week celebrations.

As you might know, I’ve relocated to New York with Citibank and moved here a couple of months back. As I read reports of the Madras week celebrations online, I’m overcome by an acute sense of nostalgia and wish I was back home in Madras to dive into the choc-a-bloc calendar of events this year. The fact that I’ll miss the Madras Day quiz for the first time in the last 6 years also hurts.
- Ashwin Prabhu

An example of quiet corporate support

Although the catalysts or coordinators of Madras Week have never sought corporate support, I'd like to highlight the quiet support L&T-ECC has been providing over the years. This year, the organisation has been supporting the activities at the Sastri Hall in Mylapore, which saw a multimedia presentation by students yesterday. All this, thanks especially to the enthusiasm and drive shown by its PR and corporate communications chief, V.S. Ramana. May we have more like him, people who hold senior positions in organisations who are interested in a city's history and heritage and are willing to do their bit for its cause.

Schoolchildren do a fair job, but many flatter to deceive

It’s been some time since I judged a children’s competition and it’s always something I like doing. Last year, I was one of the judges, along with Prema Kasturi, co-convenor of INTACH, and D.H. Rao, the heritage buff, at an exhibition by various school students, held at Padma Seshadri School, K.K. Nagar. There was also a wonderful exhibit by the peon in the school and we lauded him for his efforts. In such competitions, the children’s enthusiasm usually rubs off on you and many a time it is also a learning experience.

So, a couple of weeks ago, when Vincent D’Souza called to ask whether I’d be keen to judge a multimedia presentation on the heritage of Chennai by school students at Sastri Hall, I readily agreed. The objective was to encourage city school students to explore the city where they lived, focus on one aspect that interested them – buildings, monuments, religious places, housing colonies, cinema houses, schools, lakes, forested areas etc – and make a multimedia presentation. The contest was open to children of classes 8 to 12, and each school wanting to take part had to send a three-member team.

Padma Seshadri, Nungambakkam, with a one-and-a-half-member team (there were only two boys and one boy did most of the presentation), walked away with the first prize; the second and third prizes went to all-girls teams – Sri Sankara Vidyashram, Thiruvanmiyur; and St Columbans, George Town. Lady Andal and Kavi Bharathi Vidyalaya, Tiruvottiyur, were ranked fourth and fifth.

Overall, the teams performed well, save for Asan Memorial and Jawahar Vidyalaya (Ashok Nagar) who really didn’t do their homework the way they should have and occupied the places at the bottom. The team from Asan, with a subject that was worthy of a decent presentation, had not even visited the place and in my books the team should have been disqualified. After all, the whole idea was to get children to visit places, meet people, explore, ask questions and learn something. And not seeking help from the Internet or Google.

Despite the overall performance being fairly good, no presentation really left a lasting impression. A couple of teams had some wonderful subjects – Bridge House, Gun at the Fort, Hamilton Bridge – and they gained points for considering such subjects and researching them but their presentations did not quite match up.

Then there were others who talked about Senate House and Ice House, subjects that have been flogged a great deal, and it was no surprise then that their presentations were insipid. There were others whose presentations seemed almost like a PR exercise for the institution or school they covered. Chinmaya Vidyalaya students made it appear as if they were reading out the school prospectus or newsletter; another school did a similar job with the Ice House. They had lost sight of heritage and lost their way.

The other thing was that most students showed slide pictures, had a script running and narrated with a monotonous drawl. There was very little use of video or podcasting. In today's world of citizen journalism and OhMyNews, our children have a lot of catching up to do. Also, several teams started well, showed promise, but lost their way. I'm sure students, and their teachers, will take this as a learning experience and come up with a much improved all-round presentations next year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

When Chisholm, Anglo-Indians and graffiti came alive

Well, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Just when the visitors were seated and a candle was lit to signal the commencement of the weeklong programme during Madras Week at Studio Palazzo in Alwarpet, there was a power failure. Try as well as the hosts did, power did not return, there was no back-up, and so the audience had to make do with listening to Sriram in semi-darkness and craning their necks to see the pictures on his laptop. Like Ranjan De said, after all it was Madras Wea(e)k!

Well, the lights came on in the end and the visitors did not have to leave disappointed without seeing the pictures on display. There were three exhibitions: of photographs by Ranjan De, titled Graffiti on the Walls of Madras that is Chennai; another by Chitra Ragulan of letters, diaries, memorabilia and photographs of M Gurusamy Mudaliar, a supervisor of the Public Works Department who worked closely with Robert Chisholm (he pioneered the Indo-Saracenic style in Madras); and yet another on the Anglo-Indian community of Madras, pictures courtesy Harry MacLure, editor of that lovely magazine called Anglos in the Wind.

Sriram spoke about the “mysterious man” called Robert Chisholm, mysterious because not much is known about the man except that he first worked in the Public Works Department in Calcutta and then was transferred to Madras. From small beginnings he gained recognition and influence, ruffling many feathers in the department he served. Chisholm is well known for the architecture of the imposing Senate House in the University of Madras, but he was also instrumental in the building of the Victoria Public Hall, P Orr & Sons and the central dome of the Central Railway Station, among other buildings. His influence grew so much that he was made consulting architect for almost every building project in Madras. And, of course, even today we take his name.

What really caught my eye, however, was Ranjan De’s creative effort in capturing for posterity the graffiti on the walls of Chennai. He had spent about six months capturing the images, about 200 of them. What is on display is only a fraction – about a dozen. However, the pictures are reflective of not only the thoughts behind some of the images but also the supreme skills of the unknown artists. I suggested to Ranjan that he produce a book on the subject.

The pictures of the Anglo-Indians of Madras brought to mind my childhood in Calcutta – when several of my neighbours were Anglo-Indians. Up to the early 1980s at least, when I started working, there were pretty Anglo-Indian secretaries for most vice-presidents and CEOs. And they did a fantastic job as secretaries, answering calls on the phone politely, with voices that were charming and pleasant to the ear. Where are the Anglo-Indian secretaries today? Harry can correct me on this one. And yes, they contributed a lot to Indian business, even if was only bringing charm and colour to staid offices.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Of high tea, bloomers and Barack Obama

The Madras Week press meet this year (on Wednesday) had a sizeable attendance. Satyan Bhatt and Parul who run Prism Public Relations do a fine job every time and this time was no different. All work for Madras Week is voluntary and the same goes for Prism; so keep the good work going, Satyan and Parul.

Every year we have a couple of press meets – one at the preliminary stage and the second once all the events are confirmed, and a week or so ahead of Madras Week. The second meet is usually held at the Taj Coromandel whose management is gracious to offer tea/coffee, soft drinks, biscuits and snacks. This time, there was quite a spread, a proper high tea, and the counters were open till the end.

The coverage in some of the leading English newspapers could have been better though. There were bloomers as well. For instance, one of the coordinators was referred to as an author, while he really wasn’t one. There was mention of an actor having addressed the audience; actually he was only doing a translation job. And one paper included bits from the press meet and an interview with the great granddaughter of a close associate of Robert Chisholm all in one story. The second could have been a separate piece and the press meet story should have carried more of what the speakers had said. Well!

Nevertheless, the media has been doing a fairly good job of covering Madras Week events the past few years. One paper I understand is planning wide coverage this year, so am looking forward to it.

As usual, some of us coordinators were called to speak before television cameras. And we did. Strangely though, one of the reporters from a channel asked me to speak about Barack Obama getting tough on outsourcing from India and how it would affect Indian IT firms. I didn’t know quite what to say, but found myself speaking on the subject as well. The reporter said he’d let me know when the programme would be telecast. Am still waiting...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Young people capture the spirit of Madras

What is Madras to the young Chennaiites?
Though the children are used to referring to the city as Chennai, they look for interesting history about the places they take a walk down on the roads of Madras.

At the two photowalks that YOCee, a website for Chennai kids organised as a pre event of Madras week celebrations, the children captured the spirit of the city through their simple aim and shoot cameras.

When I approached N. Ramaswamy to lead the photowalk for kids, he was excited. Ram is a dedicated blogger chronicling the city in pictures through his blog

The walk on Aug. 1 started at the famed Ratna Cafe in Triplicane and the kids walked shooting all that is Madras to them, through Pycrofts Road.

Over the next weekend, walking on the Poonamalle High Road was a different experience for a set of students from Maharshi Vidya Mandir, Chetpet, who participated as a group in the photowalk. Along with a few kids from Kilpauk were a couple of children from Mylapore and Adyar. They travelled all the way early in the morning to reach Ega theatre, the start point of the walk at 7 a.m.

The photos taken by children at these walks have been pooled and are printed for exhibition during the Madras Week at four different venues.

Three academic institutions - Maharshi Vidya Mandir, Lady Willingdon School, Anna University (School of Architecture) and the Alliance Francaise Madras have come forward to host exhibition of the photos.

A true coming together of celebrating the spirit of Madras.

The countdown is over... let the show begin

It’s been quite a hectic week. In the midst of work pressure and deadlines to beat (writing-editing is tough sometimes), there were calls, calls and more calls. Calls from headmasters and principals in schools, PR managers, reporters, gallery owners… and a host of others. All to do with Madras Week, of course. When would the programme sheets be ready? Can we have the address and phone number of the speaker? When do we really start the programme? Will we have enough of a crowd? Do you think newspapers will report the event? Will you be there to help? These were some of questions I fielded, trying to be as helpful as possible. One person seemed to be bowled over by the apparent charm I exuded. “You’ve been a great help…” she said. I smiled as I dabbed a wet tissue on my face.

Well, we (Madras Week coordinators or catalysts) have indeed come a long way from 2004 when it all began. I still remember driving around town with Vincent D’Souza, tying the odd bits when calls would come every ten minutes asking us what Madras Day was all about, whether it was a competition, whether it was a sort of drama, and what people were expected to do. Madras Day was actually Vincent’s ‘brainchild’ – quite a few reporters use that word describing how it all started.

Today, most people I talk to have heard of Madras Day and Madras Week and, what’s more, they are keen to do their bit. Taking the lead here are some schools. Asan Memorial, for instance, has the event chalked out on the calendar and even before you call the principal early June, they are up and ready with a broad programme outline. This year, the Asan Arts and Science College in Pallikaranai is on the list. Lalitha, the assistant principal, called me a number of times as she did Suresh and Prema Kasturi of INTACH. The college was taking part for the first time and she was naturally a bit nervous. A few conversations, and she gained confidence. Her enthusiasm must have rubbed off on her colleagues, for the college is organising three events – an exhibition, a walk near the marsh and a food festival. The Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School in Egmore has come up with an excellent subject: An exhibition on Madras, the Coromandel trading post. So, more power to Suma Padmanabhan (principal of the school) and Lalitha.

Few people have been as sportive as Chitra Ragulan, and understanding as well. Back from the United States, she hardly had time to get things going. Something motivated her nevertheless – the discovery that her great grandfather was closely connected to Robert Chisholm who pioneered the Indo-Saracenic style in Madras (more about this in a later blog). Chitra will host two more exhibitions: one of photographs by Ranjan De, titled Graffiti on the Walls of Madras, and the other of the Anglo-Indian community in Madras. Well done, Chitra.

Gita, supremely talented self-taught artist who now works for DakshinaChitra, has always been very supportive. No sooner did I tell her about Madras Week than she organised a photography exhibition on Madras by three young photographers (Mani Maran, Nataraja Moorthy Kumar and Augustine Derrick) who have just obtained a degree in Fine Arts from the College of Art and Craft, Chennai. The subjects are based on happenings in and around the city. The exhibition at DakshinaChitra will open from 10am to 6pm.

Yifat, who runs Vanilla Children’s Place on Greenways Road (shifted from Mylapore), is always ready to be a part of Madras Week. Vanilla hosted shows the past year and this year they have lined up an interesting set of events – traditional games, art and craft, a talk on wildlife and performance by a mime artiste.

In Anna Nagar, it’s thanks to Ashok Kedia, now managing trustee of the Jaigopal Garodia Group of Schools, and Vijayakumar, principal of the Anna Nagar school, that programmes are being held in that part of town.

In Vadapalani, it’s Krishna Kumar (or KK), general manager at Hotel Green Park, who books the hall for you months ahead of Madras Week, and Binita, Shrimati and Jeeva Raghunath who together produce some absolutely marvellous programmes for children. This year, there’s a craft workshop while Bommi & Friends will take visitors on a tour of the Kodambakkam. The icing on the cake will be back-to-back talks – by V. Sriram (Chennai, the Crazy City) and Chitra Madhavan (Temples along ECR). All this on Madras Day, August 22. Not to be missed for anything.

Send us your reports, pictures please

Madras Week is rolling.
And it will roll real fast.
While we continue to update the web site in ways we can we have a big request.
If you happen to attend an event please jot a few lines, take some fun pictures and email them to us -

We need your inputs to build the reportage as and when it happens. There are hundreds of people outside the city and around the world who are enjoying every bit of this event and they will be pleased you too did your two bit!

So please file and mail and post.

As the dailies reported the press-con we had yesterday, calls came from far and near after people had read the Tamil dailies. They wanted to know what Madras Day / Chennai Dinam is all about.
I hope the dailies devote more space to this event because people are keen to know and get involved.

The man who heads the online operations at 'Dina Malar' had a chat to share ideas. He hopes to start a section on Madras Day / Ol' Madras on their web site.

Positive indeed.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Madras Week Press Conference

The Madras Day co-ordinators formally announced the launch of the Madras Week celebrations at a press conference held today. Prism PR and Taj Coromandel volunteered to oragnaise the event as part of their contribution to the city's celebrations.City historian S. Muthiah asked the press to carry the events on their papers the previous day to help the public plan their day in advance. Journalist Vincent D' Souza highlighted the participation of the young people and children in the celebrations. Another journalist Sashi Nair recollected the Madras Day celebration initiated in 2004 and its growth to a month long celebration now.

Actor Mohan Raman and S. Suresh, convenor, INTACH also briefed the press of the events lined up for the Madras Week.

Special T-Shirts - one designed by Chennai Heritage and another with the prize winning design of the contest held last year were released on the occasion.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Madras T-shirts Ready!

Madras Day T-shirts have arrived at my office in Alwarpet.
They are in 3 sizes - M, L and XL with M size best for teenagers!
They are in white and in black.
And they carry the prize winning design - I think we have posted a sample on the 2010 T-shirt contest link on the Madras Day web site.

Rs.150 is the selling price.

We hope to have them sold at most Madras Day events.
You can also drop by at the office - 77, C P Ramaswamy Road (Coproration Complex), metres from the Alwarpet flyover), Alwarpet. Open from 10.30am to 5 pm., Mon to Sat.