It is THAT time of the Season Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan Margazhi comes calling early these days. Beginning on 1st December itself and stretching up to Jan 1st. Today is 2nd Dec,2022, Friday, promptly I am in my chosen seat in Narada Gana Sabha. After a two or three year hiatus, katcheris are back on the physical mode. No Covid protocols in place. Surely, not insisted upon . Of course, I removed my mask to have my first cuppa of coffee in the make shift canteen.
It is THAT time of the Season
It is THAT time of the Season
Margazhi comes calling early these days. Beginning on 1st December itself and stretching up to Jan 1st. Today is 2nd Dec,2022, Friday, promptly I am in my chosen seat in Narada Gana Sabha. After a two or three year hiatus, katcheris are back on the physical mode. No Covid protocols in place. Surely, not insisted upon . Of course, I removed my mask to have my first cuppa of coffee in the make shift canteen.
You see, the formal season begins only on 16th Dec,2022 when the band gala is sounded in the Academy a.k.a. Music Academy. Not to miss my canteen cum katcheri visits to the Academy, I have promptly pocketed by season ticket which is issued,like clock work on 2nd December, of every year.
The usual buzz and mad rush to queue from midnight (as if buying applications for LKG in DAV schools-that is some sight to behold-this despite the schools’ posting multiple notices, allotment of seats were not on first cum first reserved basis, unlike Academy seats). You could walk in at 11.00 am and casually pick up more than two tickets ( contrary to the threat in advertisement in The Hindu) and without any Aadhaar or Id. It was easy this time. What has changed? Can’t say.
In any case, once the performer goes on stage at the Academy barring the top notch ‘celebrities’ ( not more than four or five, why name them,for each his own), it would be business as usual , ‘cold and scary’ with empty chairs beating butts by more than three to one. Believe me you,THAT would not change.No matter, how popular Carnatic music was or is. And the pandemic spread of virus has afflicted the rasika to park himself more at home. Except for the odd katcheri, he may choose to mark his attendance.
Is there a vaccine to this viral impact? Subbudu ( when will there be another adorable and lovely rascal like him- remember the prominent Display Board once, outside Music Academy- Subbudu and Dogs Not Allowed). How we miss his likes as Chennai is today UNESCO recognized and in the Creative Cities Network, since 2016. Madras was Margazhi. Margazhi is Chennai.
Just count the number of sabhas and institutions hosting Carnatic music and dance festivals. Who says the cultural connects are floundering? They do not seem to be. Though the ‘running around for commercials is reaching begging bowl status syndrome’ as a Sabha officianado messaged me .
The contest for places is on. It is unlike Qutar World Cup Fever. But there are no upsets here like Germany or Spain. It may be upset tummies if you gobble too much too early, after a starved belly for three years with this cultural cuisine. Excuse me, would Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo make it inside of these canteens, to let me have my Kasi Halva and Rava Dosa at home with a home made coffee, in my favourite dabara tumbler. Just asking! It is sure to happen.Mountbattens, Padmanabhans and even Pattappas may be in for overwork in overtime , to go smiling all the way to the banks. There are far too many rasikas eager and willing to please the palate than for….Watch this space.
The Margazhi Musings I read are boring. They read so dull, drab and pedestrian. There is no sizzle like in a strong Kumbakonam coffee? It seems mere reportage. Not that I do. Anecdotal, episodal style and challenging commentaries are shunned. They are far too deferential and diplomatic.
Subbudu was a maestro. He knew what he ‘heard’. A ‘sampling would do’ he said. And he tore into the performances along with the performers with scathing sarcasm. He had his ‘favourites’ and ‘ ?????”. But he entertained the reader who looked forward to his column in English and vernacular , with even more expectation than the concert itself. He was sensationally Cardusian in construct.
Incidentally, there was a performer on stage. He gave a good performance. Youngster who has made the grade to evening platform on the Academy too. THAT was incidental for my opening salvo or appetizer. I am no Subbudu to tear into any performance or performer. I religiously tear into my food on the plate. Let’s leave it at that.
Sorry for this invasion of your private space. It is a compulsive streak. Have pen. Have ear. Will hear. Will write, affliction.
Of course, like a rasika who can walk out of a concert, any time he /she ( to be respectfully inclusive) chose- you have the powerful weapon- sitting wherever are- to furiously DELETE.
( Author is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)