Sanjay’s Meditative Shivashakti!

Sanjay Subrahmanyan at Bharat Kalachar

Violin: M. Rajeev
Mridangam: Palladam Ravi
Khanjira: Alathur Rajaganesh

Duration: 3 hours

List of Songs:

1. Sariyo (varnam) – Begada – Raga Outline
2. Tulasi daLa – Mayamalava Gowlai – Brief Alapana – Neraval and swarams at sarasiruha punnaga
3. Bhahudhari – Alapana – Unnadiye gati enradaindhen – swarams at unnadiye
4. Kumaraswaminam – Asaveri – Alapana
5. Kallu sakkare – Kalyani – Alapana – swarams at kallu – tani
6. Jaya Jaya Padmanabha – Manirangu
7. Shivashakti RTP – Shri Chakra Raja Nilaye Sivasakti Roopini – Triputa 2 Kalai – Swarams in Ananda Bhairavi, Manorama (a ragam created by Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna), Durga, Sivaranjani, Behag, Sururtti
8. Sollavallayo Kiliye – Ragamalika – Surutti, ?, Atana, Shanmukhapriya
9. Karpooram Narumo – Khamas – Raga Outline
10. Mangalam

The best part was, of course, the ragam taanam pallavi in Shivashakti! The entire piece had a meditative touch to it with the violinist too playing really well. The ragamalika swarams, as always, left a lasting impact of the ragams even though only a few minutes of it were performed. The Manorama swarams were absolutely moving!

Other highlights of this concert were the Mayamalava Gowlai neraval and swarams and Asaveri alapana. Bhahudhari alapana, though very nice, wasn’t as engrossing as the earlier Bhahudhari elaborations Sanjay has sung.

Going Gaga over Sanjay’s Brahma Gana Sabha Kutcheri!

If you were to ask me for one venue where you shouldn’t miss Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s concert during the December Season, my instant reply would be ‘Brahma Gana Sabha kutcheri happening at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium’. Sanjay’s Brahma Gana Sabha kutcheris have always been one of his best kutcheris of the Season with it being filled with several elaborate raaga expositions aided by the lengthy duration of the concert. It has always been for at least 3 hours 15 minutes duration. Yesterday’s went on for 3 hours 30 minutes! And what a memorable musical experience did it turn out to be!

About a decade or so back, I remember how Sanjay’s voice used to have slight problems during the first couple of songs of the concert and then went on to improve as the concert proceeded, finally delivering such a great performance that you would soon have forgotten about those voice issues. Cut back to 2009 or so when Sanjay’s voice didn’t have those voice problems anymore. The results of his hard work and training has since then only reflected in his performances becoming better and better with each day.
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The Share Auto Woes

Come to think of it, I have always hated travelling by share autos. Right from my college days when the share autos started becoming popular, it was never my preferred mode of transport since it meant sitting squeezed next to strangers. Later on, with the introduction of those white Tata Magic share autos, there was a lot more space, the vehicles themselves were in a much better condition and the rides were much more better. The few times I travelled so far were only during off-peak hours.

The last week saw me taking these share autos from Vani Mahal to T. Nagar bus stand at 6 in the evening. With autos coming every two minutes and charging only Rs. 10 for the travel, this is a great commuting option for shopping in T. Nagar without parking woes.

However, the problem arises only when 10th person wants to board the share auto. This is when everyone in the middle compartment which can accommodate only 6 persons has to move and get crushed and give space to that person. The situation further worsened during yesterday’s ride when eleventh person wanted to board the auto too!!!

I was the lone soul asking the tenth and eleventh persons why they wanted to board the share auto when it was already full and why they couldn’t wait for another two-three minutes more to board the next auto. Neither the passengers nor the driver opened their mouth leaving me wondering whom I was talking to.

I, for one, am done with travelling by share autos during peak hours.

The Last Minute Rush of Energy

Right from the very first time I travelled to India from Singapore, a whole range of thoughts, emotions, ponderings and what-nots take over me just a few days before I leave, with it all reaching the max on the day of leaving. Among all the thoughts, apart from the cliched ‘How did so many months pass by so soon?’ or ‘Did I do at least one note-worthy thing in all these days?’, one dominant feeling that takes over me is guilt at not keeping the house in a state that I like.

Am neither a perfectionist at all instances nor am I at my brisk max at all times. I often hear others around me justifying the level of disorganization my house is in, attributing it to me being totally tied up with my children all day everyday. Yes the days are crazy yet filled with several fun-filled and cherishable, cute moments. But I definitely wouldn’t say that I can use that as an excuse, at least not anymore.

When I am about to pack up a few dresses, it strikes me how better they will all look if only I had ironed them. When I sit to search for something inside a cupboard, all those well-organized Ikea catalog photos and all those Apartment Therapy and Houzz houses come to mind. Forget about all those online world, my own home in Madras has always been very clean and very well-organized.

A look around the kitchen reminds me of how I am still not able to organize it all in a much better way all thanks to frequent visits by cockroaches. As I see the toys strewn around, I tell myself that I should find out how to teach my children how to keep it all organized.

And in the midst of all this guilt comes the sudden burst of energy that always comes when a deadline is fast approaching and I set out to organize all the cupboards, leaving them behind in a much better state than it was. That was what I had been doing today. Thus, I feel good and contented, despite realizing that minimalism will never be something that I can embrace. We have way too many things and toys at home.

It’s Vacation!

At 11 in the night, that too after a long, tiring day and the alarm already set for the ungodly hour of 4 in the morning, I know that I should already be fast asleep. But, when the reason you have to wake up early is to catch a morning flight to Madras,  how will the excitement evenet you sleep?!

School holidays. A break from routine. December season. Family. Friends. Relatives. Children fully lost in the company and world of their own friends. Yummy, tasty food made by my mother. Driving my car – did I tell you I am tired of running to the bus stop to catch the public transport bus to school every morning?. The impending Margazhi kuLuru. Shopping at Cotton Street, Max, Pantaloons, Westside, Lifestyle and the one and only Saravana Stores. Kapaleswarar kovil visit. The very joy of being in Madras!

Oh the visits to pediatrician, ophthalmologist, dentist – Forget about the cost, do you know how difficult it is to see a specialist in Singapore? – I really hate how the Madras trips have become synonymous with all the routine doctor visits,  but the comfort of visiting your family physician is a different thing anyway.

To say that I am excited is an understatement! Here’s hoping that the next one month gets filled with loads and loads of happy memories! Madras, here I come!

Self-Worth Lessons from Childhood

My daughter had her school Annual Day recently. An English teacher of the school who was the hostess of the evening talked about how kids love to think of themselves as heroes in any stories they might like reading/watching/listening and how, as an English teacher, she often gets to read stories which are the creations of children themselves in which they portray themselves as the heroes. It is then that she pondered about how during our journey from childhood to adulthood, we forget about being our own heroes and start questioning our self-worth in itself at several instances of life. How true!

Children indeed are great teachers and it is up to us adults to pause, take a look at things from their perspective and learn a few life lessons along the way.

Reveling in the comforts of a developed country? Not me!

Me: Are you going to India for vacation?
X: No.
Me: Will you go during June holidays?
X: No, it will be too hot there. There will be power cuts and my child isn’t used to power cuts!

It is conversations like these that always reminds me how even after moving away from India, my views and wishes have just not changed and how my husband and I continue to let our children remain strongly rooted in our Indian values, culture and lifestyle and want them to be exposed to what others perceive as ‘hardships’ in a developing country like ours. Strangely, these others are people from our very own country. These are the people who have not just lost themselves in the comforts offered by a developed nation and are absolutely enjoying it, but they don’t even want to expose their children to the current status in our country.

I will not deny that I am not enjoying all the comforts from clean drinking water which you can drink straight from the tap to uninterrupted power supply to high-speed uninterrupted Internet (How essential has this become!). Yes, the city is super clean at all times. But, in the larger scheme of life, these just don’t matter. It is the people who surround us who make our life what it is. It doesn’t matter whether there is a power failure or not when you have the strength and support of your family and friends with you and you are in the comfort zone in your own native.

Before you start reminding me that I also don’t stay in my country anymore, yes, I don’t stay there now. Work, career, studies and marriage have brought so many of us away from our country. But, my heart remains deep-rooted in India or, to be precise, in Madras and I, for one, will never really miss these comforts of a developed nation which are still a luxury in our own country, if and when I move back to India for good.

Rides at AMK Hub & Play Areas at Blk 564, Ang Mo Ave 3

Stepping out of Cathay Cineplex at AMK Hub, I felt that the children deserved a good play time after the movie experience. So I took the escalator to the floor below hoping to see any toy ride-on vehicle which are usually a part of malls. A series of 7-8 different rides like this one below was enough to grab the attraction of both my children and before we knew it, it was already more than half an hour and they both still wanted to play for some more time.

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My Little Pony – Afterthoughts

So, we successfully managed to sit through the entire ‘My Little Pony’ movie! My son kept crying and running towards the exit on and off and when there was just fifteen more minutes of the movie left, he gave the biggest cry scared of the monster on screen. This was his first time in a theatre and he kept saying he doesn’t want the big TV and wants only his small TV at home! But he enjoyed all the songs and said those were happy. I started watching the movie with him paying full attention and asking him not to be scared and telling him princess pony will be rescued. I realized that he was just not used to seeing real villains in his Nick Jr shows and that was the reason he was scared.

Though I kept debating if I should just leave, my daughter wanted to see the movie fully. She enjoyed the songs and got herself interested in the movie after a while.

When the movie finally ended and we came out of the theatre, my son said pony was happy and he wanted to watch it again! Fascinating how a child’s mind is!