Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dec 31st and New Year 2007 eve

Had a tranquil Dec 31st. My friend Chandra Balachandran (who's visiting from Bangalore) and I had breakfast at Saravana Bhavan on Radhakrishnan Salai. There we were entertained by the antics of what-we-were-sure-was an NRI family visiting Chennai for the music season. The NRI hypothesis was hastily and unequivocally rejected when we observed the dad slap the kid for some unknown transgression.

In the evening, Chandra, Ram, and I tried to attend a harikatha on Parvati Kalyanam by Smt. Vishakha Hari at PS Higher Secondary School in Mylapore. The Dakshinamurthy Auditorium was packed, so after some 10-15 minutes of listening from the courtyard, we conceded defeat to the marauding mosquitoes and went over to Coffee on Greenways Road for some South Indian filter coffee and adda.

Later at night Chandra and I attended about an hour of the New Year's Eve musical celebrations organized by and the Madras Music Academy. We walked in to a soulful Tukaram abhang by Dr. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, and then got to listen to the Mambalam Sisters, Gayathri Girish, and Gayathri Venkataraghavan, before the New Year lamp was lit by Academy's Murali, and a whole goshti joined in with MSS' rendition of Maitreem bhajata and then sang Endaro mahAnubhAvulu on stage. Following this was a song in kalAvatI by the Malladi brothers and their father. We left after RK Shriram Kumar's vocal rendition of shrI rAmam in nArAyaNagauLa.

In the Academy lobby I ran into my friends Uma and Ramdas from Austin. We reminisced about the music scene 'back home', the scene of which I had been a part from 1993-2003.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

kAmAkShI: yk swarajati

I learned this swarajati in yadukula kAmbhOji in 2003 in preparation for Shyama Shastri Day 2003 in Austin. The mp3 is from Sundar Subramaniam's archive at UT Austin, with DB Aswin singing and me on the veena - we had fun learning from Smt. Vidya Shankar's book and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer's recording, and then teaching it to the rest of the gang - ranging from UT students to a smattering of Austin maamis and everyone in between.

Listened to TM Krishna's CD recently, and then discovered to my dismay that I had forgotten large chunks of the composition.

Monday, December 25, 2006

music returns

My Carnatic music dry spell ended yesterday as I met up with my friend Sriraman Padmanabhan (visiting from Austin) and we sat in for about 15-20 minutes of Gayathri Venkataraghavan's concert at the Music Academy. We entered during the Dhanyasi AlApanA, and left during the bhairavI. Also ran into Dr. Bhamathi Sudarshan from Austin, Dr. KG Vijayakrishnan from Hyderabad, and test-drove one of Radel's electronic veenas while at it.

This morning (Christmas, Dec 25 2006) I got to attend Professor SR Janakiraman's lec-dem comparing themes of Annamacharya and Tyagaraja. He was also awarded the title Naada Yogi by Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha and was felicitated by Nalli KC, the sabha secretary, and PSN, among others.

A couple of clips from the felicitation, truncated by camera battery running out:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

be careful what you (don't) wish for

Just three weeks ago, I had blogged on my techno/geeky obsessions, indicating, however, that the USB beverage chiller was not one of them.

Well, guess what Subha gave me yesterday...

I suppose I should start denouncing any interest whatsoever in the MacBook Pro, after all ;)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 14, 2006

My first birthday without either parent. Feels quite strange.

For the last two years I had been with Amma here in India, and she had been able to wish me, even though in Dec 2005 she was so weak she was having difficulty writing.

I found one of her hand-painted cards, and would like to think she would have given it to me with birthday wishes this year.

It was incredibly sweet of Aniruddh's mother to gift me her fabric painting of Ganesh last week, perhaps the best gift I could have had.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Karthigai Deepam: Dec 03, 2006

One of our all-time favorite festivals. Mrs. Sujatha from next door was kind enough to place a couple of lamps at our door, and Esther - who was one of the people who had taken care of Amma when she had been ailing - brought and stuck a kOlam sticker at our doorstep.

Inaugurated the Canon.

Then, went to Marundeeshwarar kovil in Tiruvanmiyur, met up with Ram, and observed the last set of evening pujas culminating in the diety being taken over to Tripurasundari's chamber.

Dinner at Eden with Ram, short walk to Besant Nagar beach, and some time at Tiruvanmiyur.

Back at midnight.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

techno/geeky obsessions

Topping my wish-list is the MacBook Pro, though I'd feel guilty abandoning my faithful ol' jyeshta, G4 Powerbook. Not to mention that one could get two PC laptops for the price of one Apple, should one be in the market for a new laptop to begin with. Cousin Manohar has finally seen the light and gone in for an MBP, kaLappifying my vayaththeruchchal in the process...

My obsessions with technology notwithstanding, I don't think I'll be acquiring this USB beverage chiller anytime soon.

And in the not-techno-but-geeky-nevertheless department, one was momentarily (sensu stricto, not sensu americano) distracted by the Periodic Table shower curtain...

Oh, and I almost forgot: procured by Rohit in Austin, lugged over to Bangalore by Kiran, brought to Chennai from Bangalore by Vijaykrishna: the smoky black Canon S3 IS :