Monday, December 29, 2008

Chess tourney for kids

The Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival 2009 will host a chess competition for children under 12 years

It will take place next month (in January) at the Chess Square of the Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore. Sundaram Finance will present prizes to the winners of the chess contest.

For registration, please call: 98416 03285 or 28558077

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Design Contest for Students: Dec.28

A pre-event show this one . . 

Open to students in class 4 to 7. The challenge - to colour a design so well that it is chosen to be imprinted on special coffee mugs that we will give away as mementos and prizes at the Fest.
The mugs will also be on sale - limited edition. 

At Nageswara Rao Park, Luz.
Dec.28, 4 pm. For an hour.

You need to bring the colouring stuff - oils, water, crayons, pencils - and colour the design sheet we will provide.

There is no prior registration. Entries will be judged later by artist V V Ramani.

Kolam Contest Registration Opens

The books are open to register participants in the hugely popular Kolam Contests.
The dates to mark - Jan 24 and 25, 3.45 pm. 
South side of North Mada Street, Mylapore.

There will be two contests and each accommodates in about 101 people ( that is if Nisha's sister cyclone does not hit the city between now and mid January!) 
Yes, men and boys can also sign up.
But a person can sign up only for one contest.

The person to call is Preetha who is another veteran MF volunteer. The number - 94443 81298

The first caller was from Chingleput - this woman never fails to sign up.
This year we should have more people from the suburbs - thanks to early promos at the SF offices.

Welcome to Mylapore Festival 2009

I didn't get a Santa Claus assignment tonight so there was time to launch posts on Mylapore Festival 2009.

Sundaram Finance, as before is our sponsor.
And the venues remain the same - in and around Sri Kapali temple.

The dates have changed - Jan 22 to 25. Thursday to Sunday.

There will be two unique events on the calendar - one, a Mylapore Sound and Light show which will play on all four evenings of the Fest. Two, a therukoothu series on the Mahabharatam that will be staged on four evenings though the story will for the Fest start midway from the epic.

The rest of the calendar should be the way it has always been though there will be a few new events that encourage community participation ( more details on these will be posted soon).

The fest web site - - is being updated and should come alive soon. . .

Our contact - 98405 44629 - Revathi R, our longtime festival co ordinator.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Looking back; looking forward

We have just recovered. 
And the Pongal hols are an excuse to relax further.
The Chennai Sangamam is with, full blast and a tad loud.
In some ways it is rocking the city.

In some ways, it built up on many little things we have done at the Mylapore Festivals. 
The concerts and workshops in the park, the folk shows, the food adda . . .
And that makes us feel good.

What will make us feel better is when other larger areas of the city flesh out their own fests.
We feel dejected that Triplicane is labouring the idea after we gave it a big boost two years ago.
This is just the area which should have a vibrant fest of its own.

Thiruvanmiyur could be inspired too.
Purusawalkam is another area that should have a fest. Washermanpet and Royapuram too.

There are bigger things to aim for now. How about a One Way or a Only Walk zone on the Mada Streets on Sundays for a few hours please?
We will be asking the Traffic Police Chief to consider this idea.

If this succeeds, then the Mada Veedhis will have another life. 
And we will be encouraged to go forward with another idea - host a 'Sound and Light' show in the Sannidhi Square, on Mylapore. We have a script ready and we have some talented people to do the music, the visuals and the soundscape.

Does this idea sound good? Let us have your feedback too.

And tell us what we can do to improve this Fest which is now know outside the country! (we have with us a French artist who has been studying the kolams. . . )

As for me, I'd like to have a few more creative spaces for children besides the one at the park.
Also, we plan to have more senior, well known Mylaporeans give talks on life in Mylapore.
Plus, there will be a slew of documentaries on this area which will be screened at the 2009 Fest.

And I'd like the Pallankuzhi Contests to be a rage and the kolams stretch from the top end of North Mada Street!

See you in 2009. 

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Heritage Walk is Big Hit

The effort pays off.
The heritage tour of '10 unique Mylapore houses' on  Saturday is a big hit. 36 people plus 2 more joined us.
From Luz to Mylapore's temple area, C R Raghuram and K J Suriyan Naraynan of Namma Mylapore lead the enthusiastic group which comes from all over the city.
20 mins after they start, I get a call from a couple, tourists from Assam, who have got to know about the Mylapore Fest and are keen to be on this walk. We network them at the Mylapore Police Station.
"You made my day,"says Harazika.
Thats what this Fest aims to do.

PS; If you love to go on heritage walks, we are officially promoting all the different walks in the city.
Mail us your name and contact -

Day 1 and 2

The rains challenged us. We kept our cool.
Day 1 was just fine.
It made immense sense to kick off at 7 pm on the Thursday so that we could escape the peak hour traffic.
Even the performances were tight.
We need this warm up evening to get the buzz going.
Wish we had another set of folk artistes groups to add to the colour and sounds on the main stage.
The new set of street lamps we made got all the attraction and we have begun to offer them on sale.
Foreign tourists picked up a lot of souvenirs.
It rained minutes after the last show ended on the main stage on Day 1.
Relief. Then it poured and poured.
It did the next morn after the park kutcheri.

But we didn't give up hope.
Clear skies from 3 pm onwards and we are in high spirits.
We have close to 18 volunteers helping us, two co ordinators.
They are raw but they strive.
The Kerala-based panchavadyam artistes take time to roll the music and the martial arts by music.
The wet evening keeps off the book sellers and some craftspeople who have stalls alongside the temple tank. 
And at 10 pm, we begin work on marking out spaces for kolams. Back breaking work!

Saturday's Buzz

Hosting the kolam contest is now a breeze. We've been doing it for over a  decade now.
The local police help. Esp. the Traffic Police wing.
We expected 126 people but my guess is that 110 must have taken part in the contest.
And most seem to hail from the Mylapore and K K Nagar area.
Perhaps there is a need to raise the profile and attract women from all over the city.
And the suburbs too.

The events on the main stage rolled well after the contest.
The team of acrobats led by Syed Jaffer drew the biggest applause. 

We quickly screened an old film on Mylapore. A 30mins docu which focuses on the need to restore and revive heritage here.

The classical dance which had to start only at 7.30 pm because of prodosham went on till 9.20 pm and people stayed on. 
And life in the Art Street refused to die even as late as 10.10 pm.
Which gives us an idea - can we have the street life on till late for a week during the fest?
What do you think?
Mail us feedback please!

Jump to Day 3

Apologies for blanking the blog!

Day 3.11.05 am and a breather.
In this fantastic sunny weather we had a great kutcheri in the park which ended with great pongal and sundal served by the Walkers Group, a tradition now followed as part of the Fest.

Midway thro' the kutcheri, dozens of eager beavers landed up and we understood why T T Srinivasaraghavan, head of Sundaram Finance was mildly upset.
The excited voices were drowning the mikeless kutcheri.

These excited people were at the launch of the Treasure Hunt. And what a kick off it was. Everybody scooted out. Some, relaxed to get a grip on the clues.
I guess this will be a fun contest.

Back to base, we are getting ready for the long day ahead starting with Pallankuzhi contest 2.
The first one held on Sat., had 36 plus teams.
Today, there should be more.

Great sunshine day. Finale on!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Day 2 : Wet but fun!

Our cell phones buzzed and buzzed and buzzed. . .
Is the evening Art Contest at the park on?
Will Rahnu's cartoon workshop go on as scheduled?
All the artistes called to confirm whether they can get ready for the evening show.
The girls at the Art Street were calling to say that they would miss the fun that evening if it rained!
The participants of the Saturday Kolam Contest were the most worried.
I guess I would have answered more than a thousand calls.
But we kept our spirits high.

At 2 pm, the skies smiled at us.
Cartoonist Rahnu was game to have his board on the Chess Square at the Park surrounded by pools of water at 4. 30 pm
60 kids turned up for the contest and the workshop.
Rahnu liked all the kids to learn the art of cartooning. And then break for the contest!
The walkers in the park, the parents all joined the fun and watched the lines and circles turning into lions and tigers!
The Panchavadhyam from Kerala and Velakali rocked the park.
Sri Kapali temple hosts a religious discourse on all Friday evenings. So the festival dance programme was advanced to 5.30 pm.
Guru Sujatha Mohan's disciples presented all the pieces on Mylapore and concluded with a Kapaleeswarar Pancharatnam.
Books, arts and handicrafts took cautious steps to face the rains any moment.
Navbharat School from T. Nagar travelled on the wet roads.
We retired quickly to save energies for the the next two days - Kolam and Pallankuzhi contests, longer shows, quiz and talk!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Day one at the fest

Cloudy weather kept us teasing.
At the morning kutcheri at the Nageswara Rao Park, two kids from the US Jayashri and Shruthi Sarathy were experiencing a different climate, atmosphere and audience.
Good take off for a fest.
It rained just after the kutcheri.
We were planning ahead for the day. An evening workshop for kids and an Art Contest for kids.
Arts person Kamla Ravikumar, the resource person for the Clay modelling workshop called to say that she hasn't been doing well.
But landed at the Park sharp at 5 pm protecting herself with a sweater and the kids jumped in excitement!
Dolls, animals, cellphones, faces of grandma - all came alive in clay.
The Lambadi folk group from Andhra landed up in colourful costumes. And the festival evening spirit was on!

When we moved to the temple area, the books and handicrafts stalls were already rolling their businesses.
The food street was catching up with spread of kozahakattai, kuzhi paniyaram and two-in-one dosas
The dance at the temple had a hick up. The sound system had to be replaced!
On the main stage, guru Hemalatha's students rocked with three different types of folk dances.
Andhra folk dances followed.
The end of day one.
Then came the rain. It poured through the night!