January 04, 2010

Visible but invisible - Festivity, Fun and Frolic Season in Tamilnadu

Tamilnadu and Winter Season – festive mood around!
Some cynics will say, let the winter season actually come to Tamilnadu…ignore them, am referring to the generic time of Nov, Dec and Jan – when it houses the traditional winter month of “MARGAZHI”…Chennai and Tamilnadu wears a distinctive face and becomes a complete festive cauldron, which no other city in the world has.
You do have carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Glastonbury festival, Christmas season and celebrations in every city in the world, and the boat race season of Kerala…but not anywhere at the scale and variety as in Chennai and in Tamilnadu, and for catering to different aspects of people moods.
It is a pity the tourism ministry or cultural ministry or the tweeting ministry of internal 'external affairs ministry' affairs (ahem...) takes no care…maybe because of the usual biasness all has towards anything Tamil or Tamilnadu or Chennai! But it is sad even the culturals ambassadors, fiats, marutis and hyundais of Chennai fail to recognize, and promote this.
Anyway, laments apart, let me make a laundry list of camaraderie items…
Actually, the camaraderie in Tamilnadu starts right in month of October with the GOLU season. It is in this Tamilnadu, where people are ok to live like they live on the earth …30% moving space, 70% water – except that here, instead of water, it is all Golu Padikkatu and Golu Bommai. While Dashara is celebrated, with Devi Pujas in all the other states of India, it is only here in Tamilnadu, where one gets sundal and gets to see the creativity at its best (and sometimes worst) in almost each and every household with decorated dolls
Of course, this is a national festival, and the festive mood prevails in TN as well. But what follows is…

Karthigai Deepam
The Deepam day dots almost every household with beautiful diyas; it is a sight to watch
All these serve as a prelude to the stream of cultural events to an otherwise boring, chilly Margazhi month (mostly mid-December to early-Jan)
Cutchery Season
Much has been written about the uniqueness of 25 day long carnatic music season, where a huge congregation of musical talent present their musical prowess to every nook and corner of Chennai. Can any other city, boast of any such unique musical event?
Chennai Open
Sports is not left far behind…Chennai Open Tennis happens during this time. Home to many Davis Cup players like Amritraj Family and Krishnan family, it is a unique event of Chennai where many foreign players participate. It is one of the reputed sporting events of India
Pongal Cricket
This used to be another traditional fare until about a decade back…no one knows why less and less International Cricket Matches, that too played by India, is being hosted at the Stadium, which has distinctly earned the laurels of many country players alike. Never one would see such a sporting crowd, who would applaud a true cricket game regardless of the country excelling in it. No trampoline pitches like KOTLA, nor unruly crowd like EDEN, where hooligans hide behind the name of fanatics...But no one knows why no more matches anymore, and no one seems to care too, including the “Mountroad Mahavishnu”, the BCCI Selector Chief and the IPL T20 team owner(also BCCI secretary, in a very powerful position)…but the tradition had it, Chepauk stadium will necessarily host a test cricket match during the Pongal season – mid January. It used to be as much a tradition as a Boxing Day match in Australia!!!
BAPASI Book Fair
This is another traditional fare of Chennai. After having the food for ears, with beautiful lilting carnatic music, it is time soothe your reading senses…the BAPASI Book Fair is an annual affair, with so many bookstalls. The crowd to this year’s bookfair is a proof of people’s love for books in Tamilnadu, which has always nurtured the literati. No TV, no internet could keep people away from books
The bull-fighting feat of Tamilnadu is no less than the bull-fighting feat of Spain. In fact, the Jallikattu (bull-fighting) takes a very humane approach, and with care for animals (Thanks to Government intervention), this courageous sport happens during the Pongal season – early Jan to mid Jan timeframe – in Tamilnadu
Thanks to Kanimozhi….despite her political intonations and her political opposers’ chidings, she has managed to bring the folklore of Tamilnadu back into the hearts of Tamil people… all Tamil folk dances, theater (koothu, poikaalkuthirai) and traditional Tamil music in the form of 7-day event, staged at the public assembly points is a huge boost to otherwise disappearing Tamil culture
And for gluttons like me…
The other good side of Sangamam is to make available in street corners many specialty Tamil dishes….while the carnatic music festivals in sabhas, have canteens to present traditional Brahmin fare, otherwise available to you only in Marriages or other big functions.
So, there you go – feast for your eyes, ears and mouth. Add to this, stimulation to intellectual senses, and to the sporting buffs…everything culminates Post-Pongal with the...
Republic Day Parade and Tradefair
This is yet another feature of Tamilnadu, which is topped only by the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi. In Tamilnadu, the parade happens in the beach road. The various “alangaara oorthigal” – decorated vehicle floats – showcasing several schemes of Tamilnadu, go and get
parked at the Tradefair at Island Grounds. This tradefair continues almost till March-end.
There you go…so much fodder and so much cultural, sports and intellectual extravaganza!
Unfortunately, not being promoted internationally, or even nationally…
I sure would feel proud to showcase my tamilnadu’s specialty through any ruling party, despite them stealing the credit for the entire season…the idea is the word should spread around!
And what a traditional season of stress-busting in Tamilnadu!

[Am posting the actual draft in my blog and as a guest post in my wife’s blog, and as a request post in a couple of blogs like idlyvadai, my friend chakra's blog, dubukku's blog etc...for people to read…and spread the word about Tamilnadu...as is being said by people it is not a "NOT HAPPENING PLACE" but the "most HAPPENING PLACE"]


Subhashree said...

I'll link this post. I think this will be too complicated to cut and paste.

I didn't know you were this busy today. Wonderful collection. Actually so many things are happening in the city and its vicinity, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

rqsx v & tz 07

milon said...

Very Nice Site