25 Sep

Issue 180 - Editorial

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Issue 180 - Editorial


There used to be a time when Madras was this sleepy city that woke up early to go to the temples and went to bed at 8 PM. This was its universal reputation until in the last decades of the 20th century, the city shook itself out of its torpor and metamorphed into this hustling, bustling metropolis that has literally become Chennai—a city that never sleeps.


If you ask any old timer about this city, the few events that come to their mind would be the Cutcheri season for 15 days in December, the Margazhi early morning bhajan and religious icons processions, the Mylapore temple Arubathimoovar festival and the Theosophical society annual convention. Political jamborees did happen on Marina Beach but was not considered part of the celebrations in the city. The happiest outing for visitors and families was a tram ride to the beach and a dekko at the harbour especially for people to whom the sea was a novelty.


At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, Chennai is in a celebratory mood right through the year. It begins with the New Year on Januray 1st when all of Chennai is on the roads, blaring horns, bursting balloons and bingeing on food and liquor. The Cuthcheri season spills over into this month as well and dance and drama take centre stage. Mid January the city comes to a halt with the three to four day Pongal celebrations that segues into Chennai Sangamam, a colourful festival of folk art and dances and Tamil Nadu food and culture.


February to April festivals such as the Tourist Fair, Thyagaraja Festival, Arubathimoovar and the Mylapore Festival, Siva Rathri, Ugadhi the Telugu festival, and the recycled Tamil New Year’s day now called Chitirai Thirunaal keeps the city busy and in a festive mood. The summer months, though hot and sweltering, keeps everybody happy and festive with family visitors and weddings and tourist promotions.


Mid July the city enters into a feverish SALE mood and every shop and mall is busy ringing in the cash counters. Adi also sees roadside celebrations of Amman temples with lights, music and community feeding done on a mass scale. August is time to celebrate Madras Day and week, a new festival spread over a week with a slew of activities covering food, culture, talks, tours and competitions. Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated in so many different ways with ten day music and art performances and exhibitions of Krishna’s life and leelas. Ganesh Chathurthi is a huge event and everybody joins in as it goes beyond religion and unites communities.


The shifting date of Ramzan and Id keeps the city busy at various times throughout the year feasting with sheera and Biriyani. The September Velankanni Festival finds resonance in the Besant Nagar church and the merriment goes for ten days. Navaratri is again a multi-cultural celebration time with the doll’s exhibition Kolu, both private and public, the Bengali Durga Puja celebrations, Gujrathi Garba and pre Diwali shopping bonanza. Deepavali is cracker time all through the city and people exchange sweets and good wishes and the city gets decked up like a bride with lamps shining all over. The eponomous Halloween is getting recognition in the festival diary as expatriates are introducing their culture to Chennai and the citizens are willing to add one more to their quiver full festivals. Karthigai Deepam and Music Festival combine with Christmas to make December a rollicking and joyous glee time and bringing the calendar year to a close.


Runs, Races and Rallies, Tennis and Cricket Tournaments also happen dotting the landscape of Chennai with colour and commitment. National celebrations of Republic Day and Independence day brings the government machinery into focus with flag hoisting and parades to help people be proud of being Indian. This past week, all of us joined together to make Chennai Week a memorable one. From now onwards anytime, any month, any season... Chennai will celebrate something or the other!


It'sthat time of the year, when all of us need to stop and think of those people who made us capable of achieving what we have achieved and are continuing to achieve. They held our hands as we stumbled through mixed up alphabets and confusing numbers. The Chinese have a wonderful way of summing up their contribution in our life. If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people. I am sure you Readers by now would have guessed whom I am speaking about. Right! About our Teachers who have given us the best years of their life, to get the best out of us.


In India, September 5 is celebrated as Teachers' day as a tribute to Teachers. Incidentally, it also happens to be the birthday of a great teacher Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, President of India. In fact it was his suggestion that the day be celebrated as Teachers’ Day.  

Thank you Teachers for making us what we are.

The Shopping express wishes every teacher-


A Happy Teacher's Day