O Chief, you just do not know what you have unleashed- you, and the other people who first came up with this idea of Madras Week, to be precise. The Man from Madras Musings was privileged to attend the curtain raiser press conference this year and came away with some fairly firm conclusions:
1. People are unable to understand that Madras Week is a free for all, open to all kind of an event, just as Chennai is a free for all, open to all kind of a city. And so despite some of the speakers at the press conference going on and on about how there is no organising committee for Madras Week, many news reports the next day began with the lines – “The organising committee of Madras Week has announced…”
2. The absence of sponsors of any kind is another mystery, comparable to that of the man in the iron mask. People are unable to understand that the organisers (oops, sorry Chief, MMM realises that there are none), are actually able to put together set of events (sorry once again Chief, MMM knows that nobody actually puts together things for Madras Week, it just happens) without what in Chennai are known as ‘sponsorers’. Apparently no event in the city is complete without these people and when the event happens, they demand their due share of ‘bublicity’.
3. That no matter how much is said that this is actually a celebration of the city, past, present and future, there are bound to be some people who will say the event is commemorative of a colonial past alone. You Chief, and others who are NOT an organising committee but who can loosely be called the founding fathers (with a mother or two also thrown in) have time and again asked these people to look at the list of events that have been put up in earlier years to judge for themselves whether the programmes are exclusively a celebration of our colonial past but all of that has fallen on deaf ears. MMM guesses that it is much easier for such protestors to continue saying what they are saying. They do get their due share of ‘bublicity’ and perhaps that is what they are after.
4. Also, for some reason, the idea seems to persist that we are celebrating the founding of our city in 1639. That may have been the way Madras Week started several years ago, but it has long since given up on that claim. It has moved on to becoming a celebration of what the metropolis stands for, period. And yet, this is the time when articles, never to be seen at any other time of the year, keep getting published to the effect that the town is 2000 years plus (good for it says MMM) and that a group of self styled historians are insisting on creating a new history by declaring that the city was founded in 1639. The funny thing is that Madras Week organisers too recognise the 2000 years plus history of the area (how can anyone deny it, for it stares everyone in the face) and have included these aspects in all celebratory events. So what is there to disagree or complain about anyway?
To MMM it is all rather strange that what ought to be a simple and straightforward thanksgiving to a metropolis that has given its residents so much has become a matter of debate.