Monday, 21 August 2017

Madras Day 2017: Happy 378th Birthday … Peace and Prosperity Always

My city, Madras a.k.a. Chennai celebrates 378 years today, as the founding day of Madras is considered to be August 22, 1639!
Way back in 2014 I outlined why Chennai is so dear to me the many things that made it a happening city and put it on multiple must-see lists.  
 Napier's Bridge and the Buckingham canal
Travel blogs and sites list many must see, must do and must eat things but the city is more than what you can do, experience, and eat there. There is a spirit of the city that makes it unique and despite the high population density, manic traffic and easily flooded infrastructure makes it a great place to live.

 View from The Leela Palace, Adyar Seafront; The Broken Bridge
The city in just the past three years has seen floods, the Cyclone Vardah, political turmoil and the power of the community especially youth power [Jallikattu movement] to come together for a cause.
The city and its citizens have demonstrated phenomenal resilience and people’s power while facing natural disasters in Nov-Dec 2015, Dec 2016, and since. We lost lakhs of trees but so many replanting initiatives have since worked to restore the green cover. The kitchen/terrace garden movement, highlighted in 36 Vayadhinile has caught the imagination of many of Chennai’s citizens and doing  lot to improve nutrition and reduce waste.
While interacting with women visitors to the cities the feeling of safety and security is emphasized….the Swati murder and others being the exception. 
 View from St Thomas Mount
I also had the chance to view my hometown through the eyes of visitors as I took my friends from Vadodara (it being the most live-able, followed by Chennai in a 2015 India Today list!!!) around. The beaches, lighthouse, Dakshina Chitra, boating in Muthukadu, the Velacherry-Beach station train journey, the metro, the Kathipara flyover, art/culture installations at Chennai Airport, Madras Boat Club, the temple architecture and carvings, the view from St Thomas Mount, movies at Sathyam Cinemas’ Palazzo and Escape,  and shopping at T Nagar Ranganathan street and Saravana Stores were all big hits. 

 Displays at Dakshina Chitra: The Heritage Museum
 We have a wonderful legacy, history and heritage associated with the city that many are celebrating and highlighting this Madras week (Aug 20-26, 2017). We have come a long way, we have a lot to be proud of, but there is a lot more to be done to make this city better.
So happy 378th Birthday Madras and may you be peaceful and prosper. 
 Sunset from Madras Boat Club/Stroke Side

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