I had been lucky enough to see this "Mylapore Festival" this time during my one day visit to Chennai last week. This is one event which has been happening for the past 4 years and this event is to showcase the cult of Mylapore and its varied heritage. There would be lots of exhibitions and food stalls around all the four mada streets and it would be lit up as bright as day and cultural events like dance, singing, drama would be staged during this four day celebration. A big stage has been setup right opposite to the main entrance of Sri Kabaaleeswarar Temple and various cultural activities were staged there. I was stunned to see the brathanatiyam dance performance by 14 girls who were just 6 years old, my GOD, what a show, the entire Mylapore stood up and gave those little angels a standing ovation and they truly deserve it. I happened to overhear a conversation by two sets of folks and that literally shook me for once and made me to once again thank GOD for the kind of life he has given me / us...
My main attraction during this festival was the variety of food stalls which were setup right opposite to Ladies Sivaswami School and unfortunately I could not eat any of them as I am going to "Shabarimalai", but it was fun to watch people coming out in large numbers and then having a blast of time with their loved ones and enjoying the food that was served there without thinking much about hygiene or calories. There was one particular menu which attracted almost all the visitors and that is called as "Vennai Veechu" (Butter Roll, to be more precise), it is a piece of fried vegetable roll, which was completely made out of butter, and for folks who have high cholesterol should not even see that. I was keener in watching how they prepare that and it sounded to be very simple. They take rice flour which is mixed with some spicy chilly and its prepared in the consistency of how we make "Bhajji". They have already prepared the curry of mixed vegetables and the guy takes a ball of that mixture, dip it in that rice flour, fry it and once it attains golden brown color, he plunges that hottie into a tin of white butter, and serves it hot for us and the butter just melts inside your mouth and gives you a heavenly taste.
There was an art exhibition which was held in the nearby school and me being a person who has no connection to any forms art, just skipped that, in a way to do justice to the art that was kept inside. I enjoyed the "Anthaakshari" by class 3 students, and they literally blew me away with the way they pronounced the lyrics, kids these days are super smart. During that show one of the team member got the word "Jhaa" as the starting word and he does not know what to sing, immediately he sang "Ja Na Gha Na Mana ...." and the entire crowd could not even burst into laughter as that being our National Anthem and everyone stood up from their chairs and I could still hear loud giggles all around. There was an "Idly" eating competition where "Fat" maama's were busy stuffing hot Idly's into their mouth, I was praying that no one should get hurt and run into breathing related problems.
Coming to the part of me over hearing two piece of dialogues from two sets of people, one was from a dad who was holding his 30+ old daughter's hand, and the first sight at that girl would clearly say that she is mentally not stable, she was having her saliva drooling all over her chin and her dad has to keep wiping that with his kerchief, when I was crossing them, I overheard he saying "You don't have to eat anything, you living itself is a burden to me and you still want me to spend money for you". I could read this statement as a reaction to his emotional frustration, and the fear that he has in his mind of who will take care of her after his period. Similar to these lines, I saw a mother (75+) who was holding the hands of her 50+ old daughter who is half blind and a spinster and that half blind girl was telling "I don't know what I will do after you die, who will bring me to such festivals ??" Not sure why these two incidents shook me so badly, and made me to re-think of what exactly we mean by "happiness" in life ? One thing for sure is, we are truly blessed for the way we are today and never ever crib in life for more.
Being born and brought up in Mylapore, I just enjoyed being there every minute and my heart simply refused to come back to Bangalore. I wish I get a chance to attend this festival every year and I also wish those two sets of people to be given the strength to attend this festival for many more years.