India · learning · life

Madras …

Today’s The Hindu  Metro Plus carried two articles which captured my attention. One was on whether Madras is conservative? and another on kolams in the personality column titled L’Affaire Kolam.

Both articles are well written. Just enjoyed them both; hence this entry.

Since I cannot find the link to the Kolam article…will give a gist. It is about a French visual artist Severine Bourguignon whose views are written. She takes photographs of the kolams going in and around Chennai. She calls it a fragile art form with remnants definitely being washed off the next day.Artform without ego! She calls it 🙂 and quotes how it reinforces Indian belief in the Gita – the detachment and peace that accompany doing things without pride or possessiveness about the deed or its fruit. The journalist says that Severine’s focus daws our gaze into our ingenuity of our ancestors who developed this practice – as combination of aesthetics, physical exercise, concentration, math concepts, communication, spirituality and detachment!

Well…after reading both articles I was more proud to call myself a Madrasi 🙂 and one who knows the art of kolam to an extent 🙂 In my mind, Madras is a bit conservative in its thoughts though it is progressing otherwise. I feel that the basic values form the core of the society. Madrasis would embrace modern stuff with elan; but when it comes to certain things, atleast when it comes to their personal life; they do get very conservative. I remember seeing a programme on TV about marriages and how everywhere else, it is the couple who decides entirely about the marriage and even pitch in to pay whereas in good old Madras; majority is where the parents do everything – including deciding the future daughter-in-law or son-in-law. Now do we call that conservatism or tradition?? Am confused 😀 as usual. I agree though with the journalist Madhurika Sankar that it piques me when someone says Madras is boring and have asked people what is it that they can do elsewhere that they cannot here?!

The kolam bit…I used to feel sad when the kolam I took sometimes hours to finish gets washed off by rain within minutes wishing it had stayed till the next day when we can work our brains all over again – I never thought of all the deep stuff that had been written; detachment, Gita and stuff. Guess I just did what our ancestors have been doing without giving any more thought to it. The article atleast has put some fodder to my idle brain 😀

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4 thoughts on “Madras …

  1. Hi! I was clearig out my old mails (you know, just want to keep one copy of each article ive written) when i came upon your blog.
    Thank you!-)

    But- I have to say, its not ‘tradition’ to impose your choice of man/woman on your child…but yes,I THINK it still seems to be an acceptable norm in Madras. I dont care that mygood friends have suddnly decided to plant port back in home-town chennai…but they also expect parents to give them …what they couldnt find on their own…i Suppose, its not the same thing in mumbai or N Delhi, but i suspect not too different. Madas Rocks.-) Cheers and thanks!

  2. oh…my previous entry got ..obliterated. ‘m very computer-unsavvy….-( Bt i lost my whole response to you…so let me just say, yup it’s conservative here from familial perspective, but you can manouvre around that. i think-) Take care,

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