Spammed inboxes? Spammed message boards? And now spammed blog comments !!What is the world coming to !!!

You wake up,and log on. And just when your fingers get numb from deleting all your bulk mails,you rush to blogdom for a healthy respite. But what do you see ? More investments, houses,mortgage and cars !! Makes you want to beat the shit out of those little bots sitting on the etherworld, and strangle 'em to death. And maybe spearhead an all-out attack on these creatures, a la "War of the Worlds", only , I would be the cool geek who can do it all from a dark,gadget filled room full of junk food and nerdy CDs.

Naa, who am I kidding, let me get back to my comfy chair and continue to surf the net. Someone, somewhere, is engaged in a feirce spam-fight, right now. I dont want to deprive them of their glory in the geekdom.

Until then , Oh ye Dark Spam Gods, spareth me !!

Picture Composition ...


Before you starting cursing me from your already maxed-out-on-software-jargon computers, NO, I am not geeky enough to talk about large binary objects. Not here atleast.

BLOB, is an awesome, cool new idea.Please spare a moment to check this out, and leave your comments.

Love ya !

Mother tongue!!

அம்மா !!! மிக்க நாட்களுக்கு பின் தமிழில் எழுதுகின்றேன்.மெய் சிலிற்கின்றது.

Tamil is considered by many to be one of the toughest Indian languages to learn.With more than 200 alphabets,and their numerous variants,reading and writing good Tamil is still a challenge to me.(Which is ironic, given that it is my mother tongue, and that lived in a state that sleeps,eats, walks, and swears by Tamizh for atleast 16 years!)

So anyway, found this cool tool that helps you write in Tamil, thanks to Piggy. The words above, roughly translated means I am glad to write tamil after a long time.Here is one more try I hope I got right ;)

செந்தமிழ் நாடென்னும் போதினிலே இன்ப தேன் வந்து பாயுது காதினிலே!!! :))
Exactly this day, one year ago... I landed in this country.

I am fully functional and I exist.

I rest my case.
"But then Maadhu Uncle's twins sing so well, maybe you should try going to this music teacher yourself!!"

The three of us , were very excited. We had our new bicycles and couldn't wait to ride to Mrs. M , who lived a whole 15 minutes away.We waited, as she taught a set of "senior" students in her class.

" Veenabheri venuvadhyathi vinodhini..."

She looked stern, almost cold.Five feet eight, she towered over the average south Indian female, and in some cases, the male too. Hair neatly tied into a bun,she wore glasses,and a set of false teeth that fitted so well, you couldn't tell.

"How about Shankarabharanam varnam?You guys sing well. Sangeetha, you should take care of your Talam,Jay your Shruti, and Gowri, you sing like you have no life. Music, is as much an art , as it is a science, as it is tedious Math.Oh! There comes my grandkid.Look, she is three years old, and she is mouthing swara patterns from Suddha Dhanyasi varnam already!" She beamed with pride.


"I have two daughters, I dont regret that I have no sons. I was born into a musical family in Calcutta. I grew up wearing skirts and chasing squirrels. We were brave, we didn't know guys treated us differently.I learnt carnatic music since I was five, from a descendant of Sri.Muthuswamy Dikshitar.I used to live for those music classes.We used to long for those occasions when the december music season concerts were broadcast. I used to walk thirty minutes to my wealthy uncle, who owned a radio, and listen to Semmangudi in concert.Those were some days!" She sighed.

We all listened,some wondering when this old lady would end the nostalgia session, and get on with the varnam.R walked in. Mrs.M was so proud of her.She was the only one,among all her students,who chose carnatic music as a profession.She accompanied Mrs.M on her concerts, and occasionally taught Geethams to kids on their sunday classses. And of course, she was the "Varali"* girl.


"I was hardly sixteen when I came to Srirangam. It was a rude awakening for me. I never belonged to this place and these narrow-minded people. I still dont". R smiles knowingly. She must have heard it many times over. "Music is not something you do mindlessly in this class for an hour. It should be a part of your whole being. Did anyone notice how blatantly the newbie hearthrob singer murdered Ranjani yesterday? Vakra swaras add beauty to the raga, but thats a different story..."


We had graduated to almost the middle tier of students in her class. Sometimes she let us lead the Sunday voice classes.She even boldly let us learn "Sri Maha ganapathi ravathumam" and patiently suffered, as we blundered out way through Mishra Chapu.
"They didn't let me sing, my husband, my in-laws, no one understood.I sang at a cousin's marriage in Srirangam. People began to take notice. One kind Gentleman, came to my house, and offered me a teaching job at the prestigious RR Sabha. I was chastised, and badmouthed. My music was more important to me than all these people put together. I was determined to find a way out."


"There is a Sadhasiva Bramhendrar Aradhana coming up in Nerur. It is a beautiful village near the Cauvery river.And it is a wonderful chance for you to sing on stage"."Manasa Sancharare..." filled everyone's ears for the next few days. We were around thirteen years at that time, and this was a fun trip away from home more than anything else.Our imagination was working overtime. After class huddles turned to a to-do list of sleuthing activities a la Nancy Drew - torchlights,candles, the extra pair of shoes ,cassette players - it took a lot of effort from R before we resigned to the fact that we had to do some serious practising and singing.


"They took whatever money I had. I was stuck. They did not let me write letters to my family in Calcutta. The only time I ever came out of the house, was when the milkman came with huge cans and bells to deliver milk. Do you see this neighbor Aunty? She took pity on me. When I came out to get milk daily, she stood there pretending to draw "kolams". I wrote one line of my family's address per day , in pen and showed my hands to her. She memorized it and wrote to them."


"That was a good show. I am very happy with you people. What did I say? Hard work pays off" She said, holding up the back pages of my music note which said " 16/4/96 - My daughter sang for 1 hour today" - signed by my mom. She really tried hard, to get us sing well. I looked forward to my singing classes. The cycle ride, the company, and more importantly the teacher, who treated us like a friend, on whom she could confide anything.As we entered the class one day, we saw R sitting with the shruti box."Sit down" Mrs.M said. And smiled broadly. "Jagadha nandhaka.." The first pancharatna krithi.The ultimate dream. The single phrase that said , "Yes, I think it is time".I smiled back.


"They found out that I was trying to get help, my in-laws. I was pregnant , and weak. I was made to sit in this place,"she pointed to a dark dungeon in her single dimensional agraharam house. "I miscarried, and I was left to haemorrhage for two whole days" .That night,resting my head on mom's lap, I cried softly. Yes, the world is a harsh place to live in, I tried telling myself. But at that particular instant, mom's cuddle made it feel otherwise.


It was a very important competition. We were touted as rivals, and this was the culmination. I had to do better.It was about the teacher as much as it was about me. We sat for hours practising kalyani and saveri. "Raaga Alapana is easy.. just close your eyes and go with the flow" she said. I tried.


" My brother came down,and stayed with us for a few days. Yes, there were bitter arguments. It was difficult. But music is its own reward. My concerts and practise sessions took me to a whole different world, away from these people. My daughters grew up, and they became my best friends. We used to sit until late night, as Indu played the Mridangam, and me and Chandra practised neravals. It was my own little heaven, away from abuse, and malice.I took specialised swara singing lessons, and expanded my concert base to Tanjore,Madurai, Chennai and later Bangalore."


I looked at the unfinished "Sadhinchene.." - and my world that slowly changed into World Cup finals,crushes, public exams ,classes,late nights, applications,entrance exams and cutoffs. It gradually took me away from her,and music.She never once complained.

I walked in, a few years later, the cute ladybird replaced by a 60 cc "Trendy" - To tell her that I was going away, far away to the land of camels and sand dunes and that I was excited. I saw the old competitor, coolly sitting in front of her, singing "Bajare manasa .." For a minute I thought "How!!". The conversation eased, and turned to different things.And she resumed teaching. "No thats not the way, it needs to meander up the scale for a split second before reaching the lower octave" she said. They tried it for what seemed like eternity as I sat there, watching them. "No, this is how its done" she said, and motioned me to sing. I hesitated for a second. I hadnt sung in almost a year now.And then "Vrijina vidhooram vishwadharam...".She smiled. I smiled too. I hadn't let her down.


Her daughter was in Germany now. She told me how technology fascinates her. She gave me her email id, and told me how she can surf the net, send and recieve emails and even print invites off the web in the local net cafe. She told me how her Germany trip was a big hit, she told me about the temples, the cars, the concerts, the autobahn, and the euro conversion.


I walked in, to find a group of young people sitting. "Voice culture is a very important technique , it helps in learning difficult keerthanas", she said. And smiled at me. I waited. We chatted about my applications, my job offers, salaries and Visas. She looked at her students and told them how they should practise "Sadhinchene.." in her absence. Or...she smiled at me. She let me sit by the shruti box, as she walked away."Kanakanaruchira .." in Varali, as the others followed.My twin cousins smiled. I was happy.I am pretty sure she was too.

*PS : Varali is a Raagam,which when taught by a teacher to a student, is supposed to bring discord between them. So the fifth Pancharatna Krithi in Varali, is usually not taught, face to face, and is either learnt through cassettes or through other (senior)students.
The following concert is an important one in the history of female artists in carnatic music. Why?

Venue : Sastri Hall
Date : Exact date unknown. Believed to be in the late 60's.
Vocal : Smt. D K Pattammal
Supporting Vocal : Sri. D K Jayaraman
Violin : Sri Thirupparkadal Veeraraghavan
Mridangam : Sri Palghat Mani Iyer

Please feel free to jump in !!!
I turned 22 yesterday.

I have grown up.

No more dirty floors and hurting cheeks.

I got to actually have home made payasam on my birthday, after years!!! Yesterday was awesome!!!