Madras Day 2014: Chennai Turns 375

I just learned about Madras Day. I’ve been in the city a little more than 2 years and this is the first I’ve heard of it. It certainly feels like I live the life of a hermit in the midst of a sea of people. Oh well, live and learn.

The celebrations have been going on for over a week and there have been a number of events that I’ve already missed. But the weekend starts tomorrow and I’m going to try and take in some local culture. Before I get accused of sounding like some outsider yobbo, I didn’t grow up in Chennai. So, it’s not home for me and I feel like a bit of an outsider here. I listen to Carnatic and Tamil film music, speak Tamil fairly fluently and that’s about it. I don’t usually watch Tamil movies or keep up with pop culture – neither is interesting to me. I usually get dragged to Tamil movies or the ones I watch come very highly recommended.

Anyhoo, I’m looking forward to a weekend of expanding my horizons. Here’s a rough cut of the events I want to catch:

  1. Musical Tree Walk: Trees and Melody in Carnatic Music. Conducted by Vidwan R K Shriramkumar and Ms.Latha Nathan at Kotturpuram Tree Park.
  2. Stone Gallery tour at Madras Museum: Conducted by Chithra Madhavan, organized by Namma Mylapore.
  3. Exhibition – Brush with Madras: Paintings by Anand Kumar in Teynampet.
  4. Talk – Madras 375: Stories, Facts & Mindsets by Pradeep Chakravarthy at IIT-M.
  5. Old Madras Vintage Photo Exhibition in Kodambakkam.
  6. Exhibition: Buckingham Canal – Maps Pictures & Notes at Fort St. George.
  7. Film Screening – Karan Bali’s An American in Madras: feature length documentary film An American in Madras which is on the life of Ellis R Dungan at Savera Hotel.
  8. Exhibition – Magic of the Muse: Madras – Paintings by Daine de Valou at Apparao Galleries on Mount Road.
  9. Film Screening – Bhowani Junction: at Ambassador Pallava Hotel in Egmore.
  10. Exhibition – Once upon a Time in Madras: Old photos of Madras in Teynampet.
  11. Exhibition – Madras Jasmine – Exhibition of paintings, sculptures & installations by women artists: in Alwarpet.
  12. MADras! – Exhibition of 375 cartoons on Chennai by Biswajit Balasubramanian: in Adyar.

I’ll catch some the exhibitions and Bhowani Junction during the coming week. In addition to the above, I plan to go for a photo walk organized by Chennai Trekking Club to Thirukazhukundram on Sunday from 4 am to around noon. Let’s see how things pan out.

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