Monday, January 12, 2015


Time to say goodbye.
And look ahead for 2016.

If you do read these notes and feel you have a role to play, ideas to share…..mail us -

To all those who did their bit - artistes, funders, volunteers, state agencies, people, businesses and the rest - we offer our thanks.

Support from state agencies was good

The Fest got a nod from quarters that need not be mentioned here. People who administer the state and acknowledge acts of groups who are serious about doing things in the public space.

It helped when Ramky, the agency which cleans our roads and streets put in extra hands to clear the streets and collect the huge waste the Fest generated.

Local police teams kept an eye on trouble-makers.

The state Tourism Department is being asked to do its bit in highlighting the Fest.

With more of such support, this Fest has more to do. 

Big Sunday rush

The Sunday community at the Fest was by far the biggest we have had at the Fest. Our estimate is that over 20,000 people must have experienced some part of the Fest on this holiday from the Kolam Display end to the Photo Exhibition end in the Chitrakulam area.

Thankfuly, we did not have law and order problems.

Yes, motorists had a tough time on East Mada Street. As evening fell, contractors were putting up a stage, erecting cut outs and hoisting flood - ,lights for a public meeting of the DMK party.

The Fest ended quietly - and we were pleased.

Ideas for 2016!

Even as the Fest ran its course on the final day, Sunday January 11, ideas kept popping up and being shared too. Ideas we could look at for Fest 2016.

V Sriram's Walk on ' Villages of Mylapore' had a corollary - a Walk/s on 'Exploring the Inner Streets of Mylapore'. Add in another - 'Visiting 5 Old Houses of Mylapore'.

A walk down the temple tank street where handworks of women were on display made us toss the idea of inviting south India's less known craftspeople here . For this, we will tie in with the Handicrafts Commission and hope it can host the groups - having teams from outside TN costs a bit and this Fest does not have the capacity to foot a big bill.

The Kolam Contests were managed by two sets of young people - a team of young women who do extra work to earn rupees for the family. And a team of boys who circulate the Mylapore Times newspaper.  Perhaps, we must invite the NCC cadets of Vivekananda College to lend a hand. Traffic  and security management needs a hand.

The huge response to the three Photo Exhibitions make us believe that we will host three more next year - themed ones. They will run into one Chitrakulam street. ( we hope local residents will accept us for four evenings!).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kolam Contest at 8 p.m.; what do you think?

This is a visual shot from a terrace of the first evening Kolam Contest. There were 80 participants and the carpet looked pretty good since all the kolams were designed such that there were no gaps.

The idea we are tossing is - can we hold a Kolam Contest at 8 p.m. under floodlights? Share your comments on this idea.

How do we expand Food Street?

Food Street was packed on Saturday - at least 10,000 people must have been there since 6 p.m. and we seeking suggestions on how we can expand the Food Street concept at the Fest.
This may ease the flow of people here.

Many families are put off by the crowds; we understand this well but we just don't have open space around to expand the Food Street umbrella.

Give us your ideas!

Write on your life….

Kedar Rao's booklet on Life in the Mada Streets of Mylapore is getting good circulation after his talk on Day 3 of the Festival. The event at Lady Sivaswamy School hall provided two seniors the stage to narrate their stories.

These are audio recorded and will be posted online as part of the Social History Project.

On Sunday, there were people asking for Rao's address to seek out copies. Seniors must be coaxed top write their life stories and these can be put out as booklets.

Mylaporeans also want to get involved . . .

There are many Mylaporeans who want to be associated with the Fest. That is indeed a good sign.

There are small ways in which they can get associated.

One such is Shantha's family which resides on Mundaga Kanni Amman Koil Road; we got to know that the lady of this house is also into catering while shooting for a docu-film on a silver-smith who was famed for his work in the region.  Shanta is related to this man's family.

We invited her to runs  food stall and help us extend the food services at the Fest which she did with ease. She also cooked pongal and made coffee for two sets of groups on Walks on Sunday.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The unseen Mylapore; morning walks suggested

The more you walk around Mylapore the more you learn of a past that is secreted in its streets and lanes. And we were rewarded with new sights as we joined Dr Chithra Madhavan this morning on the Temples Walk - it started at Sri Madhava Perumal Temple and ended at Sri Malleeswarar Temple.

Even as we listened to the guide and took in the facade of the temples we visited there were sights to behold, especially some old houses, some tiled, some terraced still standing between tall apartment blocks.

Most houses of the past stand on temple property and so survive grand construction ideas.
If you like wandering around the old areas of the city, come to Mylapore.

Enter the roads off Kutchery Road and wander through the lanes but make sure you walk slowly - Mundaga Kanni Amman Road, Bazaar Road, Arundale Road and the streets that run off them.

Rickshaw Engay?

We have made good use of a broken down cycle rickshaw that was dumped behind the chariot stand. We made an installation of it.

Rickshaw Engay?

That is the theme that we have put out and let people at the Fest give it some thought. The simple installaion is located near the Info Desk. My photographer colleague should share a photo soon.

If you are artistically inclined share an idea for Fest 2016!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The music in the park . .

It is 7.35 am on Thursday and the legion of walkers at Nageswara Rao Park in Luz is still small - the nip of the margazhi season seems to have been brewed by the early sun.

The first event of the Fest is 30mins old and the young singers are treating the audience of about 50 people to Thyagaraja's pancha-ratna kritis - keeping in tune with the aradhana in Thiruvaiyaru!

This is one of the events which has trailed a nice trend and history - since the first set of mike-less concerts were introduced as part of the Fest, sponsor Sundaram Finance has taken it as their own to host such concerts on the first Sunday of every month.

PR person Prabhu says close to 300 concerts have been hosted at the Chess Square. And some artistes who were here have gone on to get on to bigger stages.

Music in a park - always welcome. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A Mylapore-theme Run anybody?

The Festival excites many people. They stop us as we work at the site and share their feelings, their passions.

Suresh stops me outside Sri Kapali Temple - as I step out after enjoying my five minutes of a concert by N J Nandini in the mantapa inside.

Suresh wants to know if the Mylapore Quiz is to be held this year. We used to hold it till some years ago; then we held it back. Suresh says it was fun and informative. Makes us feel good.

Then he has tosses an idea - he is part of the city's Cool Runners, a community group of long distance runners whose base is the YMCA in Nandanam. Suresh wonders if his group can curate a Mylapore-theme Run? He sounds excited.

We hope to meet again to toss the idea for 2016. ( Some years, we held a Mylapore Hunt).

Love such impromptu meetings in the temple zone. It makes us feel good at end of day. Do share your ideas too!

Explore the village of Mylapore . . .

Have you walked down Mundagakanni Amman Street in Mylapore? The road that runs north off Kutchery Road?

If you want to get a feel of Mylapore's villages this is one zone you must walk into! There are parts here that live in the early 20th century.

On Sunday, I was taken into 5th Street ( or was it a lane?!!) and lo! had walked into an agraharam -styled colony that was built in the 1940s - a settlement where people had lived in huts in the late 1800s.

This is a colony that one of the most famous and busiest silversmiths of the city raised for his large family, many of whom live here in their own small, quiet world.

Natarajan was my guide - we stopped at the colony's temple. I was told the image here was found when the laborers excavated the earth in the 1940s. "In the 1940s, some women would sit on the porches and sell snacks and when darkness fell a civic worker would yank a rod attached to each lamp on Kutchery Road to light the lamps,' Natarajan's 92-year-old amma told me.

I need a full day's tour some time later to explore this zone with Natarajan.

But during the Fest, writer-historian V. Sriram is taking people on his Villages of Mylapore Tour. Sunday 6 am. Free. Don't miss it. More info at the festival site -

Great Masala Dosas, stuff you don't get in this city

Girish calls us a few days ago. I recall his quick call a fortnight ago referring to his friend who caters food from Karnataka. Come over to our Food Street, I urge him. He mulls.
Time flies and he calls again to share some photos of the famed Kambla races of man and buffalo at this times of the year in Karnataka.

What about the Bangalore Masala Dosa, I remind him. He says mmmm and gets back. His friend is ready despite the big time catering calls he must meet.

And we are happy that some great south and north Kanara food will wow guests at the Fest. If you get to sample it please post your reactions at the FaceBook page. The counter is open from Jan 8 to 11, 6 to 10pm. But food runs out by 9 pm! 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Palakkad cook, Catering College students join hands

This year, we have discouraged the use of gas and stoves to cook snacks on the spot on Food Street. And so many teams came up with interesting ideas to make sure the food on offer is wow.

One team is a combo of a cook who hails from Palakkad and a team of students at the city's government-run Catering College.

While the cook has a big menu on his list - from coconut and kottha-malli rice and aval payasam - the four young men from the Taramani campus are preparing to get an experience at serving guests at a street fest.

We like to involve different communities and are happy the Catering College youths are signing up.

Plea; let us keep mada veedhis clean

Please help keep our mada streets clean.
This is a plea that we often receive in the mail on the eve of our Festival.
People suggest that even as we plan the Fest, we must also try and ensure the zone is kept clean.

We do our little by cleaning the street space where we run events or set up shop. But our hands are few if we are to run a campaign.

We tell Mylaporeans that if a band of 10/15 dedicated people focuses on the issue and keeps at it through the year we can help. But such action is not forthcoming.

Yes, we would love to have great mada veedhis to make Mylapore's core look great but faint or event-driven campaigns will not help.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Suggest a great venue for solo classical dance

This year, we have given the Classical Dances event the go by. The event was held inside the Sri Kapali Temple - it has been held here continuously since the Fest got its bigger avatar!

We hope to present it next season in a different avatar and at a new, stunning venue. Guess where?

Planned; workshop on Kolams - for dummies

French artist Chantal Jumel has been in India for many years, coming here to learn Kathakali in Kerala and going on to study local culture and traditions.
She has in recent years made Chennai her home for a few months December onwards, pursuing many interests - studying ritualistic designs like kolam-s and kalams and the designs that Jains make out of rice.

She has been documenting the Kolam Contests at the Festival and this year, wants to do her bit for the Fest - head a simple workshop on Kolams, meant for those who know little on it.

The workshop, for an hour and free will be held on Jan.11, Sunday, 2 pm onwards. We are looking for a venue - more soon!

This Tee will feature an artist's work!

This year's MF T-shirt will carry an artist's work on it.
We have chosen one of the paintings ( one should say a section of the painting of artist and Dakshina Chitra staffer, Gita to be the main image on the Tee.

The work was part of a series that Gita did on a theme of music and dance.  But since it has multi-colours our Tee producers in Tiruppur are taking time to do the best of a tough order.

We hope you get to like the Tee. Buy it at the Info Counter at Sannidhi Square, opposite Rasi store at the Fest. Yes, we have some sets for kiddies too!

Dabra sells hot

One of the select Festival souvenirs that sold out fast and astonished us last year were the
coffee dabra-s. We solid 50 sets and had to order 20 more.
So this year, we have 50 sets ready for sale at the Info Counter opposite the Rasi store.

The Fest logo is imprinted on the debra and at Rs.200 it is a great souvenir to keep or to present some one close.

Look out for this among Tees, illustrations of Mylapore and some thing more!

Welcome to MF 2015

Welcome to yet another edition of Mylapore Festival, which continues to be funded by Sundaram Finance. The Fest this year is on from January 8 to 11 with about 30 events across 10 venues.

Every year, we the curators have to juggle two jobs in December - since we also manage a web site which focuses on Carnatic music and classical dance. December is the time for the world's biggest music fest of its kind and KutcheriBuzz covers it closely (

And we must draw up plans for this Festival.  This year we had to face a few hard hiccups but now, we are ready to roll out.

The Fest website - - has the details of all events. Do tell your relatives and friends across the city to mark the Fest dates. Be there!