Saturday, August 01, 2015

Time to present academic study, research; study on city NGOs is an effort

Is there room for presenting papers during the Madras Week?
Yes there is and there seems to be space for doing so.

While quizzes and walks and shows may add to the color of this celebration, this event must also encourage writers / scholars /journalists/academics to study and present papers on subjects on this city.

How are Tamil films understanding the metro and depicting it in their films?
Migrant labour and its place in the city's growing infrastructure world.
Fading Anglo Indian school education.
Impact of IT industry on suburban Chennai.

These are just wild themes that just pop up.

Surely, there are more serious ones that merit study.
This evening, a centre which provides education in the social work sector talked about assigning to students of its course at Loyola College studies on 10 city based NGOs who have been around for over 50 years.

Imagine the material that can come up and be shared online on this subject. It can also encourage expansion of this study.

So if you are an academic or a scholar or head of an institution, encourage presentation of papers on city centric themes. If done well, there is also an audience for such efforts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Encouraging school students to research . . .

This is one contest for schools which has kept its date with Madras Day. The contest which asks school students to study a theme and present it using multimedia at a common venue.

This year, the contest focuses on City Churches. In the past we had themes on Old Houses, Temples and Neighbourhoods too.

The contest asks three students in each school to choose a church this year and study it - its history, architecture, legends and unique features. Take pictures and videos and mesh them together for a short PP presentation.

Mylapore Times, the neighborhood newspaper sponsors this contest. SINA sponsors the venue - Srinivasa Sastri Hall, Luz.

This year the event is on Aug. 18. We expect 20 schools to sign up.
Details posted on this blog elsewhere.

Accute criticism also hits us!

As catalysts of this event we also get some nasty mails.

Mostly, the mails target us, asking us what there is to celebrate when the poor are homeless, the ill are lying on pavements, the migrants suffer and the garbage stinks.

What is there to really celebrate? these writer ask.

The city has its plus and minuses. But we believe that a city, any city has reasons to celebrate. And its residents must be proud.

Many people assume that we keep harping on past history. Some say we harp on colonial history. Others say we host five star events and pay ourselves on the back.

Madras Week does focus on its history and heritage but it also encourages people to celebrate or do things that they feel strongly about their city.

There may be biases but that you will find elsewhere too.
But ours is a sincere attempt.

And it has caught on with many, many people.

Celebrate the city. Warts and all.

PP Contest for City Schools/ Focus on Churches


This contest is held in connection with MADRAS DAY 2015 (Aug. 22 is celebrated as Madras Day) which celebrates our city. 
The contest encourages city school students to explore Chennai’s history and heritage and present the topic given to you in multi-media form.
This contest has been held for the past 12 years and over 50 schools have taken part in it this far.

THEME FOR THIS CONTEST - City Churches: their heritage

Note: We want you to choose a church in the city which has great history and architecture within Chennai city.
( please avoid the San Thome Cathedral - we want presentations on less known but historic churches).

< The contest is open to school children studying in classes 8 to 12.

< A school can send only one team. Each team MUST have 3 members and all 3 members must take turns to make one presentation.

GUIDELINES for the Contest:

1. Identify a church for your project and ask your school teacher-adviser to seek the approval of the organisers.
Call the organiser at 9841049155 and get the project approved and registered before you set out to work on it.

2. Once the project is approved do some research at the desk and then undertake a tour of the place to take pictures on the spot, 
notes and interview people who can give you more inputs. Take photos and videos - use them in your project. We look for multi-media rich projects.

3. Back at your desk put the project together with pictures and the main points in the Power Point presentation
capsule and explanation notes written on sheets of paper. (DO NOT dump all info / text into the PP capsule).

4. At the contest, your team of 3 students will take turns at the mike to present the project using the PP.
You can use your notes for reference as your speak.

5. The presentation in PowerPoint on the approved theme will have to be done by all the three participants.
It can be done in English or in Thamizh.

6. The duration of the complete presentation - PowerPoint and Oral - should not exceed 10 minutes.
Participants should be prepared to answer on-the-spot questions from the judges.

7. The PowerPoint presentation should be submitted to the organisers on or before Aug. 13, 5 pm.
E-mail it to - ( Subject line - Madras Day - PP Contest)
(Please do not courier the project. We do not entertain hand delivered entries!)

8. The team should retain a copy of your project on a  pen-drive or copy it to an electronic device and bring it to
the venue of the contest. The organiser will provide a PC and a projector at the venue to help you make your
presentation. (If you use Tamil or fancy fonts, download them too)

9. Contest is open to first 20 teams to register on first-come first-serve basis.

10. The contest will take place on Aug. 18 from 9 am to 3 pm with a 30 mins. lunch break ( you need to bring your lunch!). Venue: Srinivasa Sastri Hall, Luz, Mylapore.

11. The best THREE presentations will be awarded TROPHIES, gifts and certificates. All participants will be given certificates. 
The prize giving function will be held on the same day at about 3 pm.

12. Prizes will be awarded based on quality of research / presentation of old / new pictures-visuals / presentation
format and answers to the questions posed by the judges.

This event is supported by Mylapore Times,  the neighbourhood newspaper and South India National Association (SINA), Luz. 
There are over 100 events held for Madras Day/ Madras Week in late August. 

All info is at

Friday, July 10, 2015

Special Postal Cover will be on Presidency coins

The indefatigable D Hemachandra Rao, philatelist, collector, heritage enthusiast and civil engineer always plans ahead for Madras Day.

Rao has chosen the theme for his Special Postal Cover for the occasion. The theme - Coins of the Madras Presidency.

Visuals of the pagoda, pannam and kaasu will be featured on this cover. Thanks to a cool collector of coins, Rao sourced some nice pictures of the coins.

Good idea, Rao saab.

If you like collecting such stuff, look out for Rao's event in August.

Focus on city authors

Simple images, acts can generate an event.

We saw this photo of a few books written by city-based writers showcased at the Odyssey bookstore in Gandhi Nagar, Adyar and wondered why we shouldn't suggest a bigger event for Madras Week.

Ashwin, Odyssey's owner is game and he hopes to have back-to-back chat sessions with 3/6 authors of the city who have written on a variety of themes, fiction and non.

With the rising rate of publishing, self and otherwise there are lots of young and senior writers here and the Odyssey event could be the kicker for a series year after year.

A young girl, also on the verge of writing her book also plans to curate a similar show at a bistro. It helps that she knows the owner of the bistro and will get the venue as a partner - thats how things work here.

That is who small ideas grow.

Madras Day to Madras Week. This year it is Aug 16 to 23

Madras Day or Madras Week?

Guess we stick with Madras Day to celebrate the foundation of this city. But since events have been multi-fold we now choose to call it Madras Week.

However, as all things voluntary people celebrate the event on the day of their  choice and last year, the 100-plus events were held across 30 plus days.

This year, the Week is from Aug 16 to 23 when the core of the events will take place and we hope to start posting the events online, and get the Calendar out from August 1.

Look out for this.