And when you celebrate nothing, the celebrations are grander - not by grandiosity of things, but of the souls. People just came in and contributed in more ways than anybody thought. There were no posters, no 'SPONSORED BY' boards, no one knew who brought the meat and who brought the garbage bags and who did what, unless they asked who made this wonderful cake or similar questions to know who did what.
The theme was clear - don't expect to be fed, don't come ravenously hungry. You are going for a walk on the beach and you meet friends who end up sharing their food with you. It made life so much easier!
There was some amazing cooking happening on one end.
And there were people who were busy eating.
And then there were people who were pretending to eat.
Or trying to help.
Some of our guest had more than two feet.
And some needed to be carried around.
While others tried to see the real person behind the Facebook Avatar.
And one person was a complete train wreck.
And then there were photographers
And wannabe photographers too......
Some old friends met....
When there is BBQ, there should be some music too.....
And the man who started this community movement.
Yes, there was lots of food.
There were somethings that made this cookout a great success - not the fact that over 70 people made it to an event that was not one that had 'CREATE EVENT' on FB as no such event was created, not the fact that there was so much food that people brought in to share with others, not that there were a bunch of us playing music and singing and having fun, none of these. What made this event special was that we left the beach cleaner than it was when we came. There were 8 garbage bags placed and everyone, I MEAN EVERYONE, used the garbage bags to put the garbage. Because of the generosity of the people, there was so much food and so there was so much food left. One of the good souls gave away the food to people who deserved it and they were happy to get a good meal.
So, yeah, sometime celebrating nothing is grander than celebrating something. And we hope and pray that we have these community events for as long as there are people to meet and greet and help without expecting anything in return. And in the end, as far as I could see, EVERY SINGLE soul went back happy!!!
And when Harsha Bogle and Ravi Shastri applauded Chennai a decade back, when the Chennai crowd gave Pakistan a standing ovation - in spite of India being the losing side, it showed the true character of Chennai. And Chennai reminded us as to why it is special - the people here are special! While politics, religion and anything else that divides people always seems to attack Chennai slower than the rest of the country, we hope the Chennai we know stays this way for ever!
*The photographs without the ChennaiFoodie watermark are a copyright of PHOTOSTROPHE - Thanks for letting me use them.
* Thanks to Chinna Win Photography for letting me use the Black and White Music Photo!