Yesterday was the JYG concert, at Spaces, No.1 Elliots Beach Road. Let me just take a second off to thank everyone who came… the event was a HUGE success. The show on the whole went off without a hitch.

The show itself started about half an hour or so late, but the initial trio+Sid (JYG) on guitars was spectacular. Goosebump-inducing harmonies, and voices. The mood was pretty much set when these guys dimmed the lights, and started crooning.

After they finished their set, Ameet & co. walked on stage, to thunderous applause, and proceeded to matter of factly blow everyone away, proving again, why they are where they are.

We had about 400, 450 people attending the event, and managed to fit all of them into the arena/auditorium. The sound was fantastic, and the band even better.

There was a little side-entertainment, by way of NDTV Hindu holding up everyone in the door, while the camera man was desperately trying to get his journalist in the frame, and get her heard, all while trying to communicate with the big shots in the studio over the sound of Junkyard nailing their songs. Both reporter and camera-man were red in the face and puffing at the end of the whole ordeal, and gave up, just taking a bit of video of the band playing.

The band also graciously agreed to sing a song about the beaches, with Ameet singing tongue-in-cheek ‘Save the bee-ches’.

On the whole, an absolutely rocking evening. Both for the us (organisers) and audience, and band and everything.

Finally, a big thanks to Sadanand for letting us use this space, yet again, for absolutely no cost, and bearing with all the annoyances of everything.

Krishna, ROB

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Thank you!

December 21, 2009

We needed to drop in and say a HUGE thank you to everyone who came. It was absolutely brilliant. The auditorium was packed, as must have been obvious, and we actually had to send some people away due to lack of space.

Thanks a million everyone and do respond similarly on the 30th and 31st of Jan.!

Till next time….

The ROB manifesto

December 20, 2009

“Reclaim Our Beaches” is a campaign by Chennaiites to reclaim our
public spaces beginning with the beaches — one of the last remaining
truly public spaces where people go for fresh air, fun, exercise,
livelihood, some private moments with a loved one, for the elderly to
sit around talking to their peers, a romp on the sands with our little
ones, for peanuts and the merry-go-round, for a game of frisbee or
cricket, a walk on the waterline to protect the Olive Ridleys. The
campaign is aimed at reviving our responsibility over this public
space, as the only way of preventing this space from being
commandeered to suit the designs of vested interests — real estate
lobby, politician-contractor mafia.

Reclaim Our Beaches is an initiative that is triggered by the sorry
state of our most cherished public space, and the fact that as users,
the lot of us named above have done little to prevent the beach from
being run over by trash — plastic spoons, water sachets, balloon
pieces, broken glass, beverage containers. From time to time, the
Government orders our school children to clean-up the trash on the
beach, and calls that an environmental activity. Why our children are
called in to clean up after somebody else is never really explained.
Neither is there any explanation of what steps are being taken to
prevent littering on the beach, or the use of unsustainable material,
or of why all the waste that is collected from the beaches are dumped
on the unsuspecting communities living near Perungudi and
Pallikaranai. Through this aimless deployment of our children as
labour to clean up after somebody else, we are conveying that it is ok
to mindlessly use and throw trash, including plastics, that those who
dirty the place need not clean up, and that the only way to clean up
the beach is to dirty someone else’s neighbourhood.

The Right Clean-up: Reclaim Our Beaches Initiative proposes to engage
Chennai residents, beach users and visitors in an effort to clean up
the beaches and keep it clean — not by periodic clean-ups by unpaid
child labour; nor by engaging in periodic clean-ups by paid adult
labour;  but by potty training our society. The Clean-up Campaign that
begins in November will converge to a massive clean-up on January 30,
2010, and a celebration on January 31.

Spearheaded by 350me, a youth initiative, and the Save Chennai Beaches
Campaign which is a collective of residents opposing the Elevated
Expressway on the beach, Reclaim Our Beaches is an initiative to
reclaim democracy.

A groovy night!

December 20, 2009

Tonight Junkyard groove’s rocking the north end of Elliot’s Beach. At SPACES, #1 Elliot’s Beach road.

This evening will be the culmination of weeks of planning and excitement and continuing calm chaos. The agony over when to have the concert (because Madras’ versatile crowd attends rock concerts and goes sabha-hopping with a gusto!), the ecstasy over JyG’s willingness to help. The designing of posters, deciding ticket prices…it was all fun, fun and (I being an out of action bystander for most of it) tiring and bewildering.

But now, with our first (quite successful) press conference behind us and this noteworthy concert tonight, we’re gaining confidence and ground. Our first concert- and it includes big names: Junkyard Groove (a huge name all over the country) along with Ranjini, Kavitha and Priyanka (who city band followers will recognise).

Tonight we hope to sensitise people to what ROB is. Tonight we hope people will come forward to be a part of ROB. But above all, tonight we hope people will have a completely awesome and memorable experience- one that they will look back on delightedly for days to come. And one that will remind them anew just what a good time along the beach can be!

For an idea of what ROB is, go to the manifesto.

Inside A Newsroom

December 19, 2009

Yesterday was the first time I’ve been in a TV newsroom, ever.

It’s totally worth the experience.

To elaborate :

The car from the TV channel first came and picked us up, and 6 :45, for an 8: 30 live broadcast, although it was about twenty something minutes away. Once we get there, we’re driven into this HUGE area, with several corporations/businesses in it, and NDTV Hindu being just one of them. At the gate, the driver lets us go, and someone else takes over, taking us to NDTV’s office, where someone else takes over, and guides us to the head honcho’s lair. Incidentally, she was extremely sweet to us, asking us about our campaign, and what we found on the beach.

Back to the story.

We got a really fast guided tour of the office, who does what and all that, and then were made to wait in these two chairs, right in the middle of the hall, where we had a glorious view of everyone rushing around, looking in a hurry, and really busy. Sid, unsurprisingly, happened to meet a couple of people he knew.

The way these poor journalists were running around, was quite like they were on fire. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it wouldn’t seem out of place, if one of them barged into your office, looked at you with these large, bulging eyes, and said

“AAAAAAAARGH!”

and then turned around and left.

I found out four things there:

A) The banter that the news readers do, is completely a show. They start about six seconds before they go on air.

B) Reading a teleprompter is hard. They’ve got this little knob thingummy, under their table, which they turn to move the teleprompter forward or backward, so they can read it easily. And the chap who types out the stuff on the prompter, has a heck of a job. Spelling mistakes would be quite hilarious.

C) The news readers also find reading some stuff from the prompter either funny/stressing. There were times when both the readers were sighing sighs of relief when they went into breaks. And another when one of them could just about hide her smile at the news.

D) Being a journalist would be fun. Stressful, though.

—–

Krishna, ROB

We’re Everywhere!

December 18, 2009

Yesterday, (17th December, 2009), we had a press release, officially launching our beloved campaign, and I’m very happy to say that it was quite a success.

Four of the major English dailies (The Times, Hindu, Indian Express, and Deccan Chronicle) have given us reasonably good coverage, and some nice articles. NDTV Hindu was extremely generous, and interviewed Siddharth Hande and Srikrishna Sekhar from our campaign for about twenty minutes… at primetime no less!

We also released our transect data, about the garbage on Besant Nagar beach. Turns out that’s it’s a scientific study, and it generated quite a bit of interest.

On the whole, a good day’s work for the team.

Now we’ve got to finish organising the Junkyard Groove concert on Sunday, please do come.