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Vol. XXIX No. 9, August 16-31, 2019

Madras Week – what to expect this year

by A Special Correspondent

Over hundred programmes, put together by 33 organisations, entities and individuals – that defines Madras Week this year in a nutshell. The Chief, had he been around, would have been delighted to see this kind of a response. And the programmes are for all age groups, and no, we are not just indulging in nostalgia. Much of it celebrates the Chennai of here and now and carefully also brings to light areas for improvement.

Water, as is to be expected, occupies centre stage with several programmes – panel discussions, walks and talks focusing around it. Will Madras Week come up with some concrete plans and suggestions on how the crisis can be tackled, year after year? And then there are the plans to bridge the north-south divide. Vincent D’Souza is asking for volunteers to bring school children from North Chennai to south of Fort St. George and vice versa. Perhaps the time has come for the same to be done between those residing in the core city and the ones in the IT corridor and beyond. That too looks like a different Chennai. Will Madras Week be able to make a mark in that new Chennai?
The walks are increasing in number year after year. This time around, the brochure itself indicates 30 of them, and we are sure there are many more private tours that do not seek to advertise. Who would have thought that Chennai had enough to show around in 30 walks? What is there to see in Chennai beyond the Marina Beach was a common refrain. Those leading heritage walks in the city can give a fitting reply to such comments. How does anyone walk in the Chennai heat was another crib. Well, you just need to see how many people set off on these voyages of discovery to realise that it can be done. May Chennai soon have a hundred walks to commemorate Madras Week. Delhi has done it but that was with its several centuries of history. If Chennai can pull it off, it will be a real achievement.

Any event can be termed a success only if it brings in the young. Madras Week has had its dedicated supporters by way of some of the schools in the city. This year promises to have them in strength. There are exhibitions, photo contests, presentations and quizzes, all dedicated to the city. What a corpus of work these will bring out by way of a record of Chennai! One of the most endearing projects is the one by Mylapore Times, which is asking school children to take up three old retail outlets in their neighbourhood and document their history. In this time and age, when retail chains and malls are the order of the day, we need to salute these resilient old timers who have survived to tell their tale.

And in all this we are not including media coverage in conventional and social platforms – those are additional and that is where the real buzz is. The newspapers and television channels are all busy preparing stories on Chennai – documenting areas, institutions and high achievers to give just a few examples. There are solo artistes on social media, putting up nuggets of information about Chennai. Do you follow Karthik Bhatt on Facebook? Do so now is our advice. He has for the past few weeks been showcasing film clips featuring Chennai landmarks. It is a most interesting study.

As always, Chennai Heritage, which brings out Madras Musings is putting up eight programmes, one on each day of Madras Week (18th to 25th) and the details are given below. We hope to see you at some, if not all of them. Happy Madras Week!

Chennai Heritage Lectures during Madras Week

August 18, 2019
Tulsi Badrinath on Swami Vivekananda and his ‘Madras Boys’. 6.30 p.m. Chamiers, Chamiers Road. For all Chennai Heritage lectures 1st half hour refreshments, followed by programme.
August 19, 2019
Madras Uncensored – behind the phenomenal growth of Tamil stand-up comedy anchored by Vinodhini Vaidyanathan, theatre and film actor with Annamalai L of Tanglish Comedy (@annamalai1111), Jagan Krishnan (@iamjaggenius) and Guru Nicketan (@nicketronix) on how Tamil stand-up is leading the regional language comedy scene. The Folly, Amethyst, Whites Road. 6.30 p.m.
August 20, 2019
S. Sowmya in conversation with Sriram V. on her journey in music. The Park. 6.30 p.m.
August 21, 2019
Tribute to Crazy Mohan. Maadhu Balaji in conversation with Baradwaj Rangan. Hanu Reddy Residences, Poes Gardens. 6.30 p.m.
August 22, 2019
Muthiah Memorial Event: Panel discussion on Water Management. Speakers: Ranganath N. Krishna, MD/CEO of Grundfos Pumps, Ashok Vardhan Shetty, IAS Retd and Karthikeya Sivasenapathy (Sivasenapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation), moderated by Sushila Ravindranath. Savera. 6.30 p.m.
August 23, 2019
Mohan Raman on M.N. Nambiar, a Centenary Tribute. Hyatt Regency, Teynampet. 7.00 p.m.
August 24, 2019
Keeping Vikatan relevant over time by B. Srinivasan, MD. The Vikatan Group. Residency Towers. 6.30 p.m.
August 25, 2019
Vikram Doctor on Ten Iconic Food Books from Madras. Radison Blu, Egmore. 6.30 p.m.

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