Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Anna Nagar Archives

Last week, four senior and activist residents of Anna Nagar sat around a table in the busy Shanthi Colony to try and work out an event for Madras Week.

For over a year now, I have been seeding the idea here since this planned neighbourhood which was once the destination for people seeking a hearth of their own in the early 1970s has also retained its core features and seems to have a working group of community activists.

Venkataraman who works for the P & T Dept., is an early settler here and my schoolmate too was quick to bite the idea and bounce it.

While the group draws up its plans, one long term project that may well start rolling this Madras Week will be the Anna Nagar Archives.

A Social History Project which documents this nagar, its people, its landmarks, its places and its life.
So that in ages to come we don't remember as the area where there was an Arch or the Round Tana!

The men around the table at our meeting went into raptures and rewind mode when the idea was mooted. They spoke of the times when people seeking to head to the plots they had bought here would pay a few coins to local boys or mini lorries.

They spoke of the kuttai or pond of water that provided relief to locals and whose banks were good for a fun game of cricket and of a boatman who took you for a little ride.

They spoke of the first set of built-up houses near Shanthi Colony which were allocated to the lucky ones.

This is the time to collect old photos of Anna Nagar, record stories of its senior generation and collate the documents we possess of this area. This can be an ongoing project of the community here.

I hope this will be a worthy fruit of Madras Week 2012.

If you wish to contribute to this project call Venkat at 9444289289.

No comments: