Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Photo Blog on Mylapore Civic Issues

I have created a new photo-blog to address the civic issues in and around Mylapore.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Madras Quiz-01

Yesterday (22nd Aug) Chennai that is Madras celebrated its 370th birthday. Week-long celebrations as part of the "Madras Week" is coming to an end by today.

I participated in a Heritage Walk into St.George Fort last Sunday. Yesterday it was the lecture of Dr.Chitra Madhavan on four popular Temples of Chennai at Rain Tree. Today I will be participating in the much awaited Madras Quiz. Many quiz lovers are eagar to particpate in this event.

My 2 cents for the Madras Quiz which focuses on the etymology of names of localities in Chennai.

1. Saidapet - Syed Khan Pettai - named after Syed Sha (Sayyid Musalman Sahib) a high ranking official of court of Nawab.

2. Avadi - AVADI is an acronym which goeslike this. Armoured Vehicles and Ammunition Depot of India.

3. Aminjikkarai - Amaindha Karai - A delta formed from the deposition of sediment carried by riven Coovam.

4. Perambur - Place where Perabu/Ratan/cane/ florished.

5. Porur - Place where fierce battles (Por) have been held during Pallava times.

6. Velachery - Veda Shreni - Abode of Vedas

7. Egmore - named after near by Elumbur river

8. Chetpet - Chettiar Pettai - could not recollect the name of the Chettiar

9. Teynampet - Thennam Pettai - place where Coconut (thennam) groves were there.

10. Royapuram - Royappar Puram - Town of Peter - Royappan is the Tamil equivalent of Peter

Please add more, if you want...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Walk inside the Fort St. George

Yesterday I participated in a Heritage walk inside St.George Fort organized as part of Madras Week celebrations.

View of St.George Fort and India's tallest flag mast

Vincent Desouza and Dr.Suresh guiding the tour
One of the canons of the fort
No one could explain this. Is it a Sivalinga?
York Street within the fort campus
Seagate Street
View of the St.Mary's Church. This is where Robert Clive got married.
Clive House, where Robert Clive lived.
Proof of Clive's living.
Multi-storied building in a place of Archelogical importance!
Me, before the cupola.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Swaraksharm is another dimension of Carnatic Music. If you closely observe the word "Swaraksharam", it is a combination of 2 words namely Swaram and Aksharam.
Every one of us are aware that the Sapthasawaras Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni are the basic notes for any raga. Aksharam is nothing but the meaning words of a compostion. If the composer is able to coin the Aksharam with the help of Swaras, it is nothing but Swaraksharam. This is a delightful jugglery of words.

Thirvarur Ramasami Pillai composed the poular song "Jagadheeswari, Kribai puri..." in Mohana raga. The composer has played with the Dhaivahdam (Dha) in several aksharms of the following lines.

"THArukkuthavi seyyum aduTHAarukuthavi seyyum THAi unaivida verulaTHA?
THAmadhaminri vedhapuri THAsanukkurundhan enbathariTHA? PeriTHA? varam THA?"

GNB has also used Swaraksharam in "SADHAPAlaya". Another example for Swaraksharam would be in the phrase "PADHASAroja" of the Navaragamaliga Varnam. "SAMAGAna Lola" in Hindholam and another "SAMAGAna" in Anandha Bhairavi are further examples of Swaraksharam.

Swaraksharm is also beautifully used by te Tamil Film world. It find a place in the movie "Agathiyar". The song "Vendriduven. Endha Naattaiyum Naathaththaal Venriduven" has couple of words like "Manitha. Padhaka Mnitha, Sagasama" aptly embedded with Swaraksharms. Mastero Ilayaraja has nicely used Swaraksharm in "Enna Samayalo" in the movie
"Unnal Mudiyum Thambi" If you wish to hear the song and identify the Swaraksharsm, please visit:-


Friday, January 16, 2009

Music Season 2008-09

*Most Enjoyed Auditorium:* The Sivagaami Pethachi Auditorium, which is devoid of parking issues and is located in the midst of tall grown trees. It
had been rented by Bhrahmagana Sabha for this music season.

*Marvellous Auditorium:* Music Academy's Kasthuri Srinivasan Hall which attracts the rasikas and the vidhwans time and again. The Value Added
Services such as volunteers helping the aged rasikas by holding their hands
and helping them to get their seats and also by providing excellent parking
facility deserve a special note.

*Homely Auditorium:* After buying old books from Mylpaore Luz's renowned "thatha kadai", one can enter the Srinivas Sastri hall with ease. If bored,
one can immediately enter the library in the ground floor to check out the
newspapers. Thatha kadai is a famous second hand book shop with excellent
books located at Mylapore Luz corner's pedestrian and is run by an old man
since ages.

*Place to visit again and again:*The digital audio library in the Music Academy premises. Thanks to the TAG Company for building this library.

*The thing which was missed:* Gnanambika catering's excellent canteen at Naradha Gana Sabha, which has an excellent menu and a warm hospitality.

*Most Enjoyed canteen:*Parthasarathy Swami Sabha's canteen and their hot mouth watering bondas.

*New and Appreciable Service:*The Carnatica Express, a free shuttle service between the Sabhas which has been introduced by Fortune group of companies.
Actually they've brought into practice what was once published as a joke in
Anada Vikatan a few years ago.

*Marghazi Bhajans:*One can witness around half a dozen of bhajans group within half an hour's gap in the early mornings of marghazi around Mylapore
Kapaleeswarar Temple's Maada Veedhis (The four streets surrounding the
temple). Papanasam Sivan's daughter Rukmani Ramani was seen on her group
only for one day.

*Most Enjoyed Young Male Singer:*Abhishek Raghuram, whose concert was interesting even after listening to three of his concerts on a row. The
"Kaapi" raga sung at Music Academy made us to applaud with the words "Bhesh
Bhesh, Romba Nanna Irukku" (A jingle for Narasu's Coffee Powder). A slight
discomfort was seen among the rasikas when the singer said, "I dedicate this
song to my friend who has come from Bangalore" in the middle of a song.* *

*Most Enjoyed Young Female Singer:*Sriranjani Santhanagopalan, daughter of Neyveli Santhanagopalan who impressed the audience at Sivagami Pethachi

*Best Duo:*Trichur Brothers Srikrishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan, is being accompanied by the same vidhwan on mridhangam in all their concerts. Later,
it was surprising to know that the mridhangam vidhwan is none other than Mr..
Mohan, the father of the duo guys. It was soothing to see the involvement
and mutual understanding which existed between the brothers during alapanas
especially, when they interleaved the alapanas between them. When asked
about the details of their college, they say in a unison that they've
completed their Chartered Accountant exams and are practicing as Chartered
Accountants. The elder of the two is married too. I followed their concerts
in all the Sabhas namely Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Bhrahmagana Sabha,
Kapali Fine Arts, etc. When the kathak dance program which was scheduled to
begin on 6pm at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium was delayed, the Bhrahmagana
Sabha secretary Mr. Balu extended the duo's concert time. They made use of
this excellent opportunity by rendering a Ragam Thaanam Pallavi (RTP) in the
Raga Jog. This was a New Year treat for the rasikas who enjoyed the concert
to their heart's content.

*Most Enjoyed Lecdem:*Sriram Parasuram's Lec-dem at Music Academy about "The role of Hindustani Ragas in Carnatic Music". What a vocabulary does
this man possess!!!

*Most Enjoyed LecCon:*Rasikapriya, * *the group which* *owns the website* *www.sangeethapriya. org and which gets 81000+ web hits per day, conducted an award felicitation function for the top contributors to the website, at Raga
Sudha Hall, Mylapore. The Lec-Con on "Mallari" was performed by Nadhaswara
Vidhwan Injikudi. M. Subramaniam and party. It was excellent. We were able
to experience Ustad Bismillah Khan's expertise when Vidhwan Subramaniam
played Subha Panthuvarali Raga at the end.

*Most Enjoyed Dance Drama:*"Man with Iron Mask", a dance drama based on the famous French novel "The Three Musketeers" was performed by Kalakshethra
Fame Srijith Krishna. Male dancers clad in French costume performed
bharathanatyam in an excellent manner. On the whole, costumes, Stage
arrangements, choreography, etc had a perfect chemistry, physics and math
and worked together well. Everybody remained on their seats till the end of
the concert at Naradha Gana Sabha till the end of the programme which ended
only by 10.30 in the night. Srijith's programmes never fail.

*Most Enjoyed Music Ensemble: "*Heart Beat", performed by Embar Kannan on violin as lead, accompanied by Ghatam Karthik, Keyboard Sathya, Kanjeera
Purushothaman, and Rhythm Pad Arun Kumar. Vocal Accompaniment was performed
by Dr. Karthik who has made a research in North Indian Languages. He sang
mostly in tamil. Embar Kannan for his Jog Raga and all the artists who
exceeded each other in their performances need a special round of applause.

*Recent Article: *An article written by me which is titled "Do away with Thematic Concerts!" was published in KutcherryBuzz newsletter and
kutcherrybuzzonline .com

*Recent Delight:*I won the second prize in the last year's "Mudhra Quiz" with my son in my team. This year I was determined to get first prize. Out
of 50 participants in the preliminary round, 12 got selected. When picking
lots, I was surprised to have my wife in my own team. Prize money of Rs.
1000 perhead was won by us after answering the challenging questions asked
by Musician Dr. Radha Bhaskar, Dancer Roja Kannan, Doordharshan fame
Quizmaster Subramanian.

*Disturbing event:*The elderly musicologists, who sang in their own voice during their Lec-Dems. It was not pleasing. They never had the heart to have
their students sing the songs, though many had such capable students.

*Amazing Person: *A young Japanese citizen named Akira. Akira, who lives in the vicinity of Naradha Gana Sabha, can be met at almost all the Sabhas in
Chennai. He's an excellent photographer. His most liked hobby is to
photograph Indian Musicians. Though he said a wrong answer as
"karaharapriya" in the audience round in Mudhra quiz, he won the hearts of
others and a round of applause with his toddler's accent.

*Recent Friendship:*Since I came to Naradha Gana Sabha early by 10 minutes, I was able to have a pep talk with Charuhaasan. My father in law who was
with me recounted his experiences with Chandrahassan as his colleague. I was
able to get his friendship due to his simplicity and friendliness. Since his
car did not come on time to pick him up, I got the chance drop him at
Suhasini Maniratnam's home located at eldam's road. While travelling from
TTK road to eldams road which is just a 5-10 min drive, he spoke so simply
and asked some questions like "why do nobody sing Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar's
Thillana set in Kaapi Raga" and chuckled. This exposed his immense musical
interest. Reply assured if he is contacted by mail.

The above post is an english version of my earlier Tamil post at

http://simulationpa daippugal. blogspot. com/2009/ 01/2008-09. html

When I shared the above link in Sanggethapriya yahoo group, some of the members could not read the contents as it was in Tamil. One, Shri.Balasubramanian helped to translate this content in English. Let me thank him at this moment.


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