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Vol. XXXI No. 10, September 1-15, 2021

A Whole Host of Gifts for Madras Day

by Sriram V

When the times demand a change, Chennai has always changed. That accounts for the growth and continued relevance of this city. It is not one of those metros that forever live in past glory and at the same time it is not of the kind that abandons its past to get on with the future. Madras Day 2021 was perhaps the best illustration of this unique trait of Chennai. The pandemic did not deter the celebrants and at the same time, there was a judicious mix of the real and virtual. The events were by and large online, but not so the return gifts to the city, which were in reality hybrid. We give below a few examples:

Ripon building illuminated during the Madras Week Celebrations.

Chennai Gaga, run by Sujatha Tarakesan put out some lovely T shirts, a badge and coasters. The last named were all themed on various aspects of our city. Those who are interested may contact them at team@chennaigaga.com

Mahaxarts designed a beautiful set of bookmarks, each based on one heritage building of the city. The bookmarks carried brief notes on what is the significance of the structure featured. And each piece of text had a book or some other source painstakingly referenced. Mahaxarts can be contacted at 6382553578.

T-shirts, Cups and Bookmarks commemorating Madras Week.

The US Consulate, together with Dr S Suresh, well-known historian, put together a video tracing the American connection to Chennai. The whole programme is structured as a virtual tour. It will be recalled that the US Consulate has over the years been a steady supporter of Madras Day, fashioning each year some very creative programmes. They also have a Muthiah Corner in the library within the consulate.

Srivatsan Sankaran of Madras Photo Bloggers did something unique – he has for the past few years created a photography course for the hearing impaired and this year, in what must be a first for the city and perhaps the whole of India, he structured a photo bloggers’ walk for the hearing impaired. There were events held at various places including the Madras Literary Society and the Phoenix Mall.

The cover of the Medical Heritage Trails of Chennai released by the Cycling Yogis.

What will Ramanujar Moulana and the Cycling Yogis’ gift for Madras Week be is a question that comes up by the month of June or so each year. And they did not disappoint – a booklet carrying details of the city’s medical history fashioned as cycling trails. It is the sixth publication in as many years and as many Madras Days. Kudos to the team that brings out these.

As in past years the Murugappa Group Madras Quotient Quiz was held on August 29th. Over 3,500 registrations were received and with a multiple-choice questions preliminary that eliminated several, eight made it to the finals. The winners were Tejas Venkataramanan (1st), Karthik A. Bhatt (2nd) and Raja Sheila Rajarajan and Akash V. Rajagopal (3rd).

We are sure there was a lot more happening, but we present here details as received by us. In short it was a Madras Day to remember.

Last but not least, former tennis champion, and the first Indian woman to be Asia’s top seed, Lakshmi Mahadevan sent us this photograph of a beautiful glass dish, one which a map of Madras is printed. Made in England, it according to Lakshmi is at least 75 years old. That is one of the joys of Madras Week – you get to unearth gems of the past, apart from celebrating the present and looking forward to the future.

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