Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Madras Week: Of a 'crazy city' and temples along ECR
One of my efforts over the years has been to get interesting speakers to come to the Vadapalani-KK Nagar area. People in these neighbourhoods hardly get a chance to listen to speakers like S. Muthiah, Randor Guy, Mohan Raman, V. Sriram or Chitra Madhavan. And not everybody can go to Hotel Savera or to the Connemara or to the TAG Centre to listen to well-known speakers.
Developing a community also means bringing in resource people from the city centre and promoting interactions between them and residents. So, every time I have been able to get a speaker to either KK Nagar or Vadapalani or Anna Nagar, areas that are cut off from the cultural and literary circuit in Chennai, I am delighted.
Randor Guy came to address an audience at Hotel Green Park a few years ago, and Mohan Raman did the honours last year.
This time, I managed a Double Bill – V. Sriram and Chitra Madhavan in back-to-back talks. For Chitra, it was a second time at Green Park. A couple of years ago, her presentation was so well received that there were far more questions than anybody had bargained for.
Sriram as usual was as irrepressible as ever and the audience broke into peals of laughter time and again as he ploughed through the city with interesting visuals and rib-tickling content and commentary, an effort that showed the crazy side of the city.
Chitra, dwelling on temples along the ECR, amazed everyone with her sheer breadth of knowledge of temples and architecture, sculptures and inscriptions. She was able to answer with ease all the questions out to her.
Pictures show Meenakshi, a local resident, expressing happiness at being present; Sriram talks to a visitor as wife Sharada (left) chats with storyteller Jeeva Raghunath; Chitra converses with artist and interior designer Madhusudhanan as her father (Madhavan) and a visitor look on; and pictures of old Madras at the entrance to the dinner buffet at Green Park.