Just when I started to whine about missed flights and poor wifi today,I learnt that my friend's father is battling stage four pancreatic cancer and her mom is undergoing a heart surgery at the same time. My heart goes out to her. Life has a funny way of putting things in perspective for you sometimes.
In the words of Gilda Radner - "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity."
It's amazing how a single small act, somewhere in the world can be so life-affirming to soo many.
(Part II)
Ok, now that I got that out of my system, let me get down to a serious concert review.

But before that I feel like I need to say something. Summing up my feelings after-concert, one word – ecstasy. And when I use that word to describe a concert that featured Thodi as the main piece it’s safe to say I am either plain baked or something must have gone right :)

The concert started with a Varnam in the ragam mandhari. It sounded somewhat like panthuvarali , it was swift and set the pace for the evening.This was followed by a song in raagam Bahudari called "Sadanadha thandavam" set to Aadi thalam. It is very interesting to observe how the "Kutcheri Panthadhi" (Geez, did I just sound like Subbudu!) is changing with times. Krishnan took the time to announce every song - the raagam, thaalam and composer and sometimes any special connotations associated. Definitely made the experience more worthwhile as well as educational.

My friend and I talk about this sometimes. Although I am not a big fan of the raga Kharaharapriya itself, I am absolutely enthralled with it’s Janya raagams. Really – Think about it , with an impressive Janya raagam list like Abheri, Bagesri, Brindavanasaranga, Dharbar, Huseni, Kaanada, Madhyamavathi, Manirangu, Rithigowlai, Shri, Shriranjani, Sudda dhanyasi, Kaapi and Sahana you are easy the best Melakartha mom raga ever. So much so that if I were Kharaharapriya, I would voluntarily retire from contention, and would not let myself in the spotlight (main piece) of any concert. I’d just lean back on my easy chair, and proudly watch as my children mesmerize millions of fans with their subtle notes. But I digress.

(To be continued..)

New Jersey has the highest tamil speaking population in the U.S.according to some guy I heard on T.V. the other day. So what do these tams like to do on a weekend afternoon? That’s right, listen to carnatic music concert and shout “Besh Besh”, doing the Thaalam so loudly, my dear friends , that an innocent onlooker would mistake it for swatting flies.

But I digress. Back to the “Besh Besh” phenomenon - Anyone who has ever been to a carnatic concert has seen this guy in action. He, ladies and gentleman is Mr.Besh Besh, sitting in the second row..Well, only because the first row is reserved for really old maamas clad in pattu salwais with hearing-aids – their vocal cords have decided to take a rest after years of screaming “Bale ba !”

Anyway so this guy is usually middle aged, bespectacled and with a moustache. Don’t ask me why the moustache matters, but it does, and it has to preferably adhere to the “Mike Mogan” style of the ‘80s. Our guy ,a fervent fan of carnatic music is usually found sitting in the attention position, craning his neck hoping to catch a glimpse of his favorite artistes. His hands are placed in the “go” position, ready to beat the crap out his poor thighs as soon as he hears the shruti.

Did I mention he has the uncanny knack of deciphering the raaga based on one or two notes? And feels the need to loudly announce the same to his embarrassed son/daughter who suddenly feels the need to turn away and look at their Nintendos in rapt attention. Anyway, if you are really lucky, you will see a very seasoned Mr.Besh Besh in display. And how do you find out, you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple.

It’s a three step formula – the rookies start off looking furtively at the audience, sizing up other potential candidates, even following the other guy’s thaalam on occasion. The good ones have their eyes glued to the artistes and will close their eyes on occassion - bliss, I tell you. They generally adhere the "paani" mentioned above with the Mike Mogans.

With the very best though, what you will see is a loud “Sabash” at the end of each kalpanaswaram, and as the Mridangist and Ghatam vidhwan launch into the thaniavardhanam, you will see violent head shaking, very loud thalams (poor thighs!) and for the theatric climax - a loud recital of the korvais themselves.. “Thangina thom thakka thathinginathom… Sabhashhh !”.

(To be continued…)

A long journey. But change is inevitable. And here it is , new avatar and everything ! I definitely need to take screenshots of my old minima black and post it here - sort of like the mandatory before-and-after shots after a makeover.

There is still a bit of a way to go before the new template becomes my version of "not-so-perfect" but I am almost there.

On an unrelated note, I was listening to carnatic music today and the following verse from St. Manikkavasagar's Thiruvasagam caught my fancy.In case you haven't noticed yet, I am just completely fascinated by this instrument "Yaazh". This instrument seems to have been in vogue in the ancient days, going by the number of references in many, many tamil verses. That's a post for another day though.

இன்னிசை வீணையர் யாழினர் ஒரு பால்
இருக்கொடு தோத்திரம் இயம்பினர் ஒரு பால்
துன்ண்ணிய பிணை மலர் கையினர் ஒரு பால்
தொழுகையர் அழுகையர் துவள்கையர் ஒரு பால்
சென்னியில் அஞ்சலி கூப்பினர் ஒரு பால்
திருபெரும்துறை உரை சிவ பெருமானே
என்னையும் ஆண்டு கொண்டு இன்னருள் புரியும்
எம் பெருமான் பள்ளி எழுந்து அருளையே

In Search of a not-so-perfect blog template..

I am not a perfectionist, no sir. I am not those anal Monica types who need to have life in perfect order before they give themselves permission to be happy. I have a method in my madness. And as long as the method and madness complement each other, my life is peaceful.

I've had this blog for almost five years now. Gosh ! Time flies. And the blog has come a long way. But the one thing that has stayed near constant is the template. Yes, minima black with a few alterations. I am beginning to feel the need for a blog makeover. Something that says "cheery disposition" akin to what I've been feeling lately. Or atleast what I hope people will feel when they chance upon this blog.

And hence my search begins. Watch this space for more to come :)