Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Teachers, students show the way

One of the significant features of this year’s Madras Week celebrations is the voluntary participation of schools and colleges, and, yes, even activity centres for small children. Suma Padmanabhan, principal, Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School, was the first to confirm participation. Thanks to her initiative, the School will have three days of activity – an exhibition tracing the topography, clothes, food habits and lifestyles, and a walk by students down Anderson Road. The exhibition will be open to schoolchildren from neighbouring schools.

Spring Into Reading is an English activity centre in KK Nagar that has just completed a year. Run by Binita, a former teacher of Padma Seshadri School, KK Nagar, who is assisted by Shrimathy, earlier a teacher in the same school, the centre’s activities picked up after popular storytellers Jeeva Raghunath and Nandini Sridhar joined in to conduct regular storytelling sessions. Now, the four have got together to plan and do something different for children during Madras Week, at Hotel Green Park.

Pooja Gupta and two others who run Alps Academy in Mylapore are also keen to be part of the celebrations. They have organised a variety of events for children – wearing of traditional Madras costumes, makeover and tattoo sessions, pottery painting, treasure hunt, lucky dip, and snap shots of children before heritage buildings in the city.

And doing her bit is Chandni Khanna who runs Hippocampus in Abhiramapuram. It is the best library for small children I have seen in Chennai. Chandni has volunteered to take children out on a tour of heritage spots in the Mylapore area.

The entry of colleges this year into the weeklong celebrations I consider a significant first. Dr S.N. Nageswara Rao, reader in Historical Studies, Sir Thyagaraya College, Washermanpet, called me one Sunday to find out how his college could be part of Madras Week celebrations.

Thanks to the enterprise shown by Sumathy, a professor at Ethiraj College, the girls there are now putting together a show for August 20.

Latha Rajendran, correspondent, Dr MGR Janaki College, took the initiative and got Rajashree Vasudevan of her college to organise a heritage quiz programme. Thanks are due to Garima Agarwal who liaised with Rosey to get things moving at MoP Vaishnav College for Women. The students there will have three days of celebrations.

Thanks are also due to Gargi Chatterjee of Ethiraj College and Uttara of MoP Vaishnav, both students, for saying “yes” to Madras Day in spite of all the work I’m sure they must be shouldering.

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