Monday, September 17, 2007

hastivadanAya namastubhyam

Ever since I read Dr. V. Raghavan's rapturous account of this kriti in the NCPA red book I had nurtured a wish to learn it. It wasn't until 1987 that I had the opportunity to learn it from Kalpakam mAmi. I still remember the thrill of taking the book - a new year gift from Appa and Amma - to veena class, going through the index of kritis in that book with her, and checking the ones she knew. Pretty soon every page was plastered with check-marks...

This kriti has been with mAmi for the past seventy years or more, and with me for a mere twenty. It's one of my favorites, and has been a staple inclusion in most concerts we've played together.

The impromptu recording above was made during my most recent class, a month after mAmi turned 85.
Lyrics of this and other gaNESha kritis of MD are available here in dEvanAgari from thanks to Dr. PPN. Also check out Dr. PPN and Vidya Jayaraman's English translation of Subburama Dikshitar's sangIta sampradAya pradarshinI, available on the ibiblio site. The correspondence between the notation (see page 321 of volume 2) and mAmi's version is uncannily close...


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the feet

chintitArtha prada charaNAravindam mukundam

The baby feet which would originate in the maakkolam at the front door and lead inward into the home.

While most such representations were impressionistic at best - essentially triangles with squiggles for soles on one side and tiny circles for toes on the other - the ones Amma would draw were much more realistic, down to the relative size of the child's toes. Gokulashtami was easily one of my favorite festivals, and the day would invariably find the entire family singing or playing kritis on kRShNa.

nalina patra nayanam vaTa patra shayanam
nava champaka nAsikam atisIsumabhAsakam
natEndrAdi lOka pAlakam mRgamada tilakam

Tuesday was a busy day at work, with unplanned events such as a meeting with an officer from the IAS who was kind enough invite us over to a work-discussion on the holiday, and last-minute editing and cheque-signing in preparation for our trip to Salem/Yercaud.

Just before leaving the office, I recalled that the lady from the house next door - our office is located in a residential area - had sought a donation for the kumbhAbhiShEka of the little Pillaiyar who sits on the wall separating the two gates.

So I went over with my donation, only to be greeted by the sight of exquisite feet leading into all the rooms of their home. The lady was very nice, and offered me sweet and savory seedais, and showed me the puja shelves in her kitchen.

navatulasi vanamAlam nAradAdi munijAlam
kuvalayAdi paripAlam guruguhanuti gOpAlam

Then, back home and in the midst of preparations for my five-day trip to Yercaud, I went over to my neighbour's apartment to leave some money for the flower-seller whose monthly wages I haven't yet managed to give as our timings haven't overlapped in the last month. There too, lovely kolams, leading up to a nice kRShNa idol in the living room. Aunty (Sujatha's mom) gave me some paayasam, and walked me to the door. There she remarked nostalgically "I remember your Amma's kolams on all festival days".

So someone else did remember, too...

chEtas shrI bAlakRShNam bhaja rE rE

- blogging from Yercaud express
- many thanks to Sangeetha Jambunathan for allowing me to link to photos of her mom's kolam