Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cud chewing ...

Concert began with  Varmaji ..getting tuned ..Sa ..Pa ..Sa ..and Violinist Shri Vinu giving repartee to that ! Puzzled , packed hall ..was wondering what is in this package ..

Saakaara  -  a rare varnam constructed around Sa  in raga “Swarashtram”  . 
No that’s not a typo ..Swarashtram it is ..which was created by Dr BMK  to mark 25 years of India’s Independence !  Varmaji went on to explain  its nuances and how it compares with Sourashtram – with alien notes . Such a subtle  and sincere  guru vandanam , I thought to myself.  Saakaara
A liberating start indeed !
Quote – Clever people  bring about rains when singing this raga ..and very clever people sing this when it is already pouring –Unquote . That was Varmaji's  usual light hearted banter which took us to the  Oh, so beautiful !  Sudha mayee ..befitting the Bangalore weather .

Time for expressing gratitude to Nadam , samaveda ..and Shankaram . Nada thanum anisham ..shankaram in citta ranjani was so appropriate .

Then came a lovely Yadhukulakhambhoji composed by Shri MDR . Neevalle Daivame irezhu lokamu .. Heard this one for the first time and instantly fell in love with it .  Here is a rendition of the same by none other than the composer .himself ! This is my takeaway from this concert .
That was like a lullaby which had brought about pin drop  silence by now only to be  jolted ( atleast I was !) by an unexpected "Hodi "..from Varmaji ..LOL ! hodi nagaari mela kaiya ..a folksy Dasar krithi in Anandha Bhairavi .  Here is a lesson video of the same .

Time up for the main piece .Lavangi a four note raga , yet another proof of Dr BMk's  creative genius . S..R ..M..D.. Varmaji educated the audience on the intricacies and nuances of this raga without making it into a lec-dem  The mastery in handling this raga and sticking to just the four notes made the audience sit up . The alaap was lovely and so were the rounds of swarams woven into an interesting pattern ..before he burst into the powerful sounding song in praise of Devi-Omkaarakarini . While I enjoyed this main piece immensely really wished  I could understand the technical aspects and grammar of Carnatic music to delve deeper into it . Wonder if skimmers ever become divers .

The " thani " by Dr Ghatam S Karthik and Shri B Harikumar was superb . Their onstage chemistry and vibes adds more music ! Shri Avaneeswaram Vinu's violin accompaniment was impressive too.
Here again lack of technical knowledge  about the laya quotient limits my expression to this simple impression .

It was amazing to see 20 -25 kids in various sizes sitting in rapt attention on the jamakalam with note pads and pencils . (I was not alone for once  !)  The last half hour of the concert was dedicated to the children there . It sure did appeal to the child in all of us with peppy numbers ..Deekshitar's western notes Pankhaja mukha , Chandamamanu joosi vadhama , Sree rama nee namamu jigva gurinji , vara leela gana lola ..and then it was Maharaja Swathi thirunal's Neelambari -Kantha nodu .The concert ended with the lilting thillana in kunthalavarali composed by Dr BMK .
Ah! That was a well spent Saturday evening .



Monday, June 24, 2013

Cookery - "Shows" !

Blame it on my friend who shared her lunch menu casually . " Parangikai Puli Pacahadi " . It Had all the ingredients that suits a "amirthavarshini"  awaiting Bangalore weather .

Ingredients :

Camera . ( Er ..isn't it only fair that a rare event  gets documented ?)
Big lemon sized Imli
8 green chillies
2 red chillies
Mustard seeds
Grated coconut
coconut oil
Diced Yellow ripe pumpkin
Curry leaves
Jaggery ..

Don't forget to add Hing ! ( that was my friend , who sent an SOS msg when she knew I was gonna try her recipe .) My friend who holds the IPR , Patent and copy rights to this recipe coerced me into using jaggery and 8 green chillies .

Boil diced pumpkins in Tamarind juice with Turmeric , salt .
Grind coconut , green chillies , 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds , curry leaves into a fine paste .
Add to the now boiling Tamarind + pumpkin concoction .
Salt to taste .
Temper with Coconut oil - mustard seeds ,curry leaves and red chillies .
Add rice flour in a sauce form for better consistency .
Add jaggery .

Goes well with Rice and  Adai . Predictably, I tried it with both .

The raw ground mustard which when added to the boiling tamarind gives a heady aroma and a tangy taste .

That was  Parangikai puli Pachadi .

If and When I cook , it shows .


Friday, June 21, 2013

A day in the life of a Music Maniac .

Always wake up to a Bihag . Be it An  irakkam varamal with a strong south Indian flavour or a blissful Ajoy Chakraborthy's version which is more like a "Be-hug" ..or a refreshing blend of south and north by Prince Rama Varma - a sweet sounding Smara janaka by the Maharaja of Bihag !

Bihag ..apparently means "walk in the sky " .  Back to  earth only to be with a Lata Mangeshkar's tere sur aur  mere geeth 

This abundance ironically does not satiate ..leaves me  longing for more of  "Ni sa ga ma pa ma ga ma ga" ...So I follow it up with a prescription 1-1-1 ( after and before food , 3 times a day , many times !)

While Behug ( that's what I call her .I know Bihag  is a she ) is my best friend ..I am smitten by Sindu bhairavi  , agitated by Atana and mesmerized by the meends of Maand in   jaathi malli poocharame ..can actually smell it !

That was all for breakfast rounded up with a gm gm " kapi !

Mid morning . More friends from the raga clan turn up to gossip , unwind , crib ...DKP's   Sahana   touches my  soul while MMI's  Kapi narayani  makes me  tap my feet .

Cook, clean , Eat , Nap, Shop , chop, Chat , Gossip , Gallavant , giggle , freelance , BLOG ! , follow bloggers who religiously follow mine , argue  with mom , patch up with sis , HW , projects , bond with in-laws .....where do you think is the time to listen to music ? Sigh.

Am from Venus and exaggeration is my birth right .

That is the list of well intended things that get quarter done , half-done .(Some of them never-done )Wish intentions would magically produce the same results as action .

Tired by now . A veena recital by Prince Rama Varma - Kantha nodu chennu in  Neelambhari being the need of the hour which unwarrantedly pulls me towards so ja Raj kumara  in Jhinjhoti by Saigal Saab  . Cant give up my teenage loyalties enters Mohd Rafi..with his teri aankhon mein  ( is that possible ? LOL given the ,by -now drooping eyelids with sacs below !) And  end up  wishing for a pulsating thaanam in   Panthuvarali  or a Neda nuri Krishnamurthy garu's Appa rama Bhakthi ...for no "appa"rent reason .

How  and when did vasanta kaalam varumo, nilai maarumo  get into my head . OMG !

Reminded of a  Vasanta ..and her cousin Lalitha ( ragas , you silly !) One raga leads to another and I end up listening to Pandit Chaurasia's  Lalit . Topped  it up with Ek shahenshah ne banwaa ke hasin Taj mahal .

This Lalit makes me  so numb and inactive that I  rummage for a nourishingVijay Siva's rendition of   Hamir kalyani with generous "ma'" sprinkled ..  both variety and in succession ! Leaves me  feeling abundant. How did this raga suit a pathos song like beqas pe karam kijiye ? Wonder.

By now it does get a little overwhelming even for "maniacally yours "...So seek salvation in more muzak ! Saranga  .

Sigh. How can I skip Saranga teri yaad mein   Totally get lost in this song is an out of the world experience listening to this .

Thank god for small mercies (a.k.a  Iron wala )which  bring me  back to earth from eternal realms with that calling bell which always plays "ek do teen" .( NO. I am not going to link up that song. ) which touches a very wrong nerve in me . Agitated now .

Calling   a Khambhoji  -to  calm me ..While one of my friends says it jolts her up ! Never you mind to each his / her own rainbow ! Walks in a  Kanada conjuring  up a myriad feelings tagging along a kaleidoscopic Kalyani thru the strains of "Ambarame Thaneere"  ..Who wouldn't wake up to a Kalyani like that !

Chai time .. calls for some Rabindra Sangeeth with no stress of scalar searches .As , Ustaad Vilayaat Khan says , " Aankh bandh karke , Kaan se dekhna " ! No scrambling to find the ragas /scales . Tension free ! So tuned in to the recently learned "Maya Bono biharini " and "Ami chini go chini" ( A Kishore da number ).

Raga, ithi ranjayathi rakthi .. realized that the 'whole' is  much much more than the sum of its parts , so to speak ..The scales did not lead to a known raga ..but had their leanings towards some known ragas ..After all there are only seven notes to infinity !

Aw ! These non raga based songs like so many other in our Indian cinema evoke so much emotion in me and a distinct and varied one at that ..

Serious thought process about Rakhti now ..

While some ragas are classified as rakthi ragas definition it  means "that which pleases and engages the mind " according to Dr Vedavalli . What can we  say about these equally pleasing and engaging tunes ,which however are not based on any raga /scale ?

Isnt this what rakthi is all about ? Should rakthi be associated with ragas with a defined scalar format alone ? What do you call the visceral effect a song or tune creates - if not  rakthi ?
Sigh. Never understood what rakthi was all about ... took solace in my best friend Bihag again.

The intellectual anxiety and urge to pin a song down to its scale /  raga  has been putting so much pressure on listening and enjoying the moment . It is like trying to catch a memorable moment on camera for posterity that one fails to enjoy the moment NOW and HERE.

This understanding of rakthi my own way ..however contrived it may be, hope  will lead to an  intellectual inertia in  guessing ( guessing it is !lol !) the ragas and let me enjoy  the 'whole ' without trying to figure out the sum of its parts !

Because the whole is more than the sum of its parts ! what 's in a name after all ...a Bihag is a Behug is a Behag by whatever name you call it !

Enter kids . This greedy mind doesn't let  switch off the player ..And says "billy billy bayou watch where you go , walking on the quick sand walk slow !" Pat comes the reply ..."but you love me daddy ..." You scatter your toys , make much noise ..but you love me daddy !"

Evening chores drain me of all rakthi and shakthi .Mind wanders towards a meditative Madhuvanthi - Basavanna Vachana -ullavaru shivalaya maduvaru  and meanders to kanda naal mudalai  by TSK who  compels you to listen to his Valaji ..kshana Mathuna  !

Blame it on the Bangalore weather which makes you sneak in a Beethovan or Mozart classic in between the moon rises along with the strains of Chaurasia's Moon Magic....

Game over you think ? Nay , as I  hear the dedicated music group friends  ping me  for a vintage classic concert ! It is lets start at the very beginning !

GN .Thankyou . All said . Back to "Behug" with renewed bonhomie with kids tucked in bed work staring at me scornfully .So More music.. Reason enough to get thru the daily drudgery .Sangatamana samayala vittu sangeetham paada poren !

oru naal podhuma  , I quiz myself ..ofcourse with Balu mama's BGM.. as I make up my mind "just this one song " wondering how I will go about the cutchery of the boiled over milk , the dosas which took a brownie avatar , the once upon a time brass stove tops , the loadful of laundry,and updating the ever growing Hanuman's Tail like -List of things to do .

Thani avarthanam ..Wondering how to make some time for practice to please my ever-so-patient guru ..who says I need to work on my "pa " and "ma" .(  apart from my 'sa', 'ri', 'ga', 'dha' and 'ni', that is !) Though I have a solution to that problem too ! Raag Niroshta without "pa" and "ma" ! I dare say that though !

So much to do little time ..feeling low ..lethargic ..lazy ..need my musical Prozac .

 So back to Bihag !!!!!

Maniacally yours !

PS :  My sample to do list :

google eka krithi ragas
look for SJR lec -dem on vivadi ragas
Songs in Pasupathipriya
Listen to Bhairavi by MDR
TRS pallavis ..
read up posts on navaavarnams
Rafi songs in jhinjhoti
Khamas ...pada varnam.

And so on and so forth !