Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sangamam highlight

A friend had his Facebook status message last Wednesday saying that he was "...surprised at the number of perisus out on Venktanarayana Road at 1 am". That's saying a lot about the pull of the Chennai Sangamam, or at least those events where people were part of the festival itself. Last Tuesday was when the Sangamam lived up to its tagline of being a 'street festival'. It does take a leap of faith - and several deep breaths - before shutting off traffic from a road such as Venkatanarayana Road; that it was the start of the Pongal holiday definitely helped.

It was certainly a wonderful evening; the performances at Natesan Park were only part of the show, because much more was happening on the road itself. The performers went up and down the road, allowing onlookers to join in and shake a leg to the karagam or the paraiyattam, or to pace the beats of the panchavadhyam if they so wished. And then, all along one side of the road were the food counters. Chefs from almost every hotel in the city worth its name - the Park and Chola Sheratons, Taj Coromandel, The Park, Radisson, GRT, Raintree - and several from other parts of the state, were dishing out various cuisines of Tamil Nadu, both current and historical. Some of the more exotic - or at least exotic-sounding - stuff (like jil jil jigardanda) was sold out within a couple of hours.

The street fest lasted until about 2 am; of course the street was brilliantly lit and packed for most of the time from 7 pm till well past midnight. And yes, it was not just the youngsters, but also the perisus (big ones, literally, but indicating the senior-citizen category) who were rocking this street party!


moochhi said...

this is a nice piece. the chennai sangamam has really been a hit. it is perhaps the first festival of a widespread nature which seems to have people of all sorts involved. may it grow larger as the years roll by.....

Shantaram said...

@ Moochhi: Oh, yes. One hears about next year's Sangamam being sought after by several small businesses that would like to sponsor events within their localities!