Madras Week: Of children, colour, lanterns and razzmatazz
Madras Week programmes at Hotel Green Park are usually grand affairs, and this year was no different. Most of the events have to do with children, art and craft, and storytelling and, naturally, there is always a lot of colour and joie de vivre.
This time, Spring into Reading, run by Binita and Shrimati, organised two programmes for children – one to do with art and craft, and the other with storytelling. This was followed by back-to-back talks – by V. Sriram and Chitra Madhavan. Overcast skies and an afternoon downpour came as a bit of a dampener but in the end it did not take the spirit away from the Madras Day celebrations at Green Park.
Madras that is Chennai has a tradition of kolam creation. Using that as the theme, children, 35 of them in the above-six age group, were taught to draw kolams on handmade paper, shape the paper into a box shape, string beads on it and fashion a lantern.
The skillful Sindhu Suresh and her assistant Rani Edward got the activity going, helping the children draw patterns first and taking them through the exciting process of lantern-making. The event lasted an hour and a half. For the first time, Hotel Green Park allowed use of its spacious lobby, but even that seemed small on Sunday because the whole place was swarmed by children, parents, volunteers and photographers.
There were children not only from the neighbourhood, but even from places like Nanganallur and Nerkundram. Rain and clouds had not deterred them. Indeed, it was quite a brilliant start to the proceedings, and the ambience in the lobby area was as festive as it could get.
Pictures show ace storyteller Jeeva Raghunath quizzing children on the significance of Madras Day; Sindhu getting the students started; children engrossed in work as a model lantern hangs above; mothers lend a helping hand; and children with their strikingly attractive creations (in the background are Sindhu, Rani, Binita and Shrimati).