Sunday, November 26, 2006

India Together article on HIV

The HIV epidemic has brought into focus multiple public health issues facing rural India today. In this respect, it presents us with an opportunity to deal with issues that have been neglected and even been actively ignored for too long, writes Supriya Kumar in her India Together article of November 2006, titled An opportunity to end health care slumber

Monday, November 20, 2006

Art and Amma

My friend Rohit Dhamankar sent me a message from Europe, where he is currently travelling: "I very much remembered auntie while seeing a museum in Florence. The museum had gorgeous mosaics of colored stone fron 16th and 17th centuries. The birds with all the shades showing were simply wonderful."

As coincidence would have it, I had gone today to buy some blank CDs from the stationery+art store located on the first floor of the Vitaan building at the intersection of Lloyds and Royapettah High Road. Looking at the rows of acrylic and oil paints, brushes and easels, I relived some of the excitement she (and I, vicariously) would feel on entering an art store, either this one or Michaels in Austin. The void was physically painful today.

Art, nature, music, and writing remained Amma's passions till the very end. The pic above is of her last painting, completed in August 2005, about five months before she passed away. Lavanya wrote a moving piece about this on her blog some months ago.

Barbara Ehrenreich's piece on the breast cancer culture in America brought back painful memories of Amma's struggles over a period of 2.5 years. Watching her deteriorate before my eyes, and being unable to do anything about it - other than try to convince her to go in for more chemotherapy (she had twelve sessions in all) - was an agonizing experience that's been haunting me today as I look at her art all around me: the kolam-like work on our veenas, the baby Krishnas on the wall, the sketches I discover tucked in between pages of her favorite books...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dikshitar concert, November 12, 2006

I guess time, tide, and the Hindu will not wait for me to update my
blog with October 2006, for the review of last Sunday's concert has already come out, see here:

The concert of Kalpakam mami, for which I was fortunate to be
able to accompany her, was organized by students of the Kolkata-based
music school established by her guru Kallidaikurichi Ananthakrishna
Iyer in the 1940s. Ananthakrishna Iyer and his brother Sundaram
Iyer (of Dikshita Kirtana Mala fame) had studied with Ambi
Dikshitar, and had managed to hand down many rare kritis through
their branches of the Dikshitar shishya parampara.

It was nice to meet this group of n-th generation Kolkata-settled
Tamilians, speaking chaste Bengali, and all obviously so
dedicated to preserving and rendering Dikshitar's compositions.

Click here for a 12.4mb mp3 file, or here for a 128kbps streaming version of the kRti AnandEshwarENa samrakShitO'ham in Anandabhairavi.