Monday, January 30, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Radha Kalyanam

This weekend, we celebrated The “Radha Kalyanam” in our colony. It is actually based on *Jaydevar’s lyrical compositions – Geeta Govindam. The function is conducted over two days just like a real wedding, of course minus the extravagant paraphernalia. This is more of a devotional endeavour comprising of songs from the Geeta Govindam interspersed with abhangs, Bhajans and Keerthans. Devotees may or may not participate/contribute- anyway, the residents of our colony all worked together in harmony…and it felt like one family.

While I’m not specifically into rituals and stuff, I enjoyed the music and singing to the utmost. There are several professional toupes who conduct the Radha Krishna Kalyanam repertoire - and since the last three years we have had different troupes performing this for us. The devotional fervor is mainly built up by the tempo of the music and rhythm and it is difficult to remain unmoved.

On the previous day, the songs from the Ashtapadi are sung, and the proceedings stretch well into the night- there is much dancing- along with the singing- and the steps are fast paced, very graceful while the melody is lilting and moving- the dance is usually just clapping and fast footwork- then Kummi/Kolattom ( very similar to the dandiya/garba) - and only the male devotees usually join the troupe members- the entire atmosphere is charged – this year they invited the women folk to also come forward and dance- and they left the centrestage entirely at our disposal- though we were all a bit reluctant in the beginning, soon most of us were up there dancing for all that we were worth-

Just the previous day, I had lamented on my blog space that Destiny/Almighty had perhaps erased Dance from my life , and the very next evening there I was dancing after a gap of about 20 years- it was like I had never stopped. I just cannot find words to express the euphoria of those magical moments- I was totally disconnected from this world and my feet had found wings- It was an amazing experience for which I’m extremely grateful…

*(From the pages of The Hindu on the web)
The theme of Gita Govindam is the love of Radha Devi and Sri Krishna, symbolizing the longing and striving of the individual, for communion with God, culminating in their blissful union.

Composed by the Orissa poet Jayadeva of the 12th century A.D., it is a richly orchestrated symphony of songs in various ragas set in linked situations featuring the spring-time love-play (vasanta vilaasa) of Lord Krishna, which Raasa Panchaadhyaayi (five chapters on the Raasa dances of Krishna with the Gopis) in the Bhagavatam also speak about, without the character of Radha probably unknown in its time.

Jayadeva was a dedicated devotee of Lord Jagannath, the Deity of Puri, and a disciple of Nimbarka, who founded the Radhavallabha sect, giving prominence to Radha as the loving Consort of the Lord (distinguishable from Lakshmi the Consort of His Omnipotence). The Gita-Govinda arose as a stotra, an offering of devotional music to Lord Jagannath. It is sung as part of the worship-ritual before the Deity and it has also been staged many times as a lyrical dance-drama before interested audiences all over India.

The poem is divided into 12 sargas (marking movements in the love-play of Radha and Madhava) with 24 songs including the first two invocatory stotras of noble praise of Krishna's 10 incarnations. There are only three characters - Krishna, Radha and the girl-friend and messenger between them - figuring in the poem; the songs are distributed between them as their speeches, and the links of the story are provided by slokas (verses) introducing each sarga. The songs form a musical sequence of various ragas of unparalleled sweetness. Their cadences based on alliterations, rhymes, and assonances of words that trip on the tongue delight the lover of poetry, the rasika, as nowhere else. )

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Kenjum Salangai....

When I heard that a new teacher had shifted to our colony and she was teaching Bharathanatyam, I thought that perhaps, finally I would get the oppurtunity to dance wear the salangai/ghunghroo aftera long time...

After much hesitation, I summoned the courage to visit her and make enquiries about the classes- and she asked me who was the student- I smiled apologetically said that I was making enquiries for enrolling myself! She was not taken aback, but she said she was taking classes only for school children and would not be able to accomodate me- because she had other classes- Yoga,Craft and she was also working as a choreographer for someTV channel- I came away crestfallen-

I had believed myself to have overcome many disappointments and am mostly contented with what Life has offered me- but as I returned home that day, I realized that I had expected to be able to learn dancing yet again…It did occur to me that wasn’t I too old to still nurture hopes of dancing again? But then where Art is concerned is age a factor? I just want to let go and dance away uninhibitedly to awesome lyrics like “Krishna Nee begane baaro, “enna thavam seythene Yashoda..

I was not keen on going on stage- I only wanted to indulge in my intense passion for Dance…may be Dance has been erased from my Destiny… OK fine, if You’ve not intended it for me anymore…what choice do I have in the matter…May be I’m asking for too much?? I submit myself to Your will…

ennatavam seydanai yasOda (
22 kharaharapriya janya
Aa: S R2 M1 P N3 S
Av: S N2 D2 N2 P M1 G2 R2 S
taaLam: aadiComposer:
Paapanaasam Shivan
Language: Tamil

enna tavam sheidanai yasOdA
engum nirai parabhrammam
ammAvenr-azhaikka(enna tavam)

IrEzu bhuvanangaL paDaittavanaik-kaiyil Endi
shIrATTi pAlUTi tAlATTa nI (enna tavam)

caraNam 1
bhramanum indranum manadil porAmai koLLa
uralil kaTTi vAi pottik-kenjavaittAi tAyE(enna tavam)

caraNam 2
sanakAdiyar tava yOgam sheidu varundi
sAdhittadai punita mAdE eLidil pera (enna tavam)

What penance was it that Yashoda performed..
That she was destined to be your Mother?
That He who is the Lord of The Universe called her "amma"

she who was the chosen One to
hold You, caress You, feed You
You who created the Universe...

If Even Lord Brahma, Lord Indra envies her...
She who tied Him to the mortar,
She who bid Him to silence
She who had Him beg for mercy..
Then what can one say about you and me?
Indeed what penance did She perform- she Yashoda...

Saints and Rishis have undergone severe penances
to get a glimpse of Him...
And she a simple, pious woman attained this Supreme Blessing so easily?
What penance is it that Yashoda performed
That he called her "amma"....

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I've been tagged....

Ok, the plus is that this time I don’t have to think abt “what" to write abt in my blog space- becos sometimes I don’t have anything to write and yet I ‘want' to…

Hmm... so
has tagged me- and this one seems “hatke” from the usual tags that I’ve seen floating in cyberspace…

Am supposed to :

1. Come up with 8 different points of my idea of a perfect lover.

2. Need to mention the sex of the target.

3. Tag 8 victims to join this game and leave a comment on their comments saying they’ve been tagged.

4. If tagged the 2nd time, there’s no need to post again.

Perfect “Lover” Target “Male”

“lover”…hmmm…”hemm…haw…errrr- now what is the exact connotation of this word in this context?

1. The first thing that occurs to me is the eyes! Not exactly the physical shape/colour- but the look in the eyes that come at certain moments!

2.Sense of Humour- pulling my legs- teasing me- all in fun- making me blush-
And also guffawing at my wit- nice loud, rich, full throated laughter..

3.Kindness, compassion, fun - when interacting with people, Respect and care when interacting with elders, Mischief and affection while with children.

4.Singing for /to me…

5.Pampering me when I’m unwell, sad…and revelling, enjoying my fussing and pampering too …

6.Spontaineity in expressions

7.Absolutely forgiving with no retention and revision of pending accounts.

8. And of course integrity, sincerity and honesty of character would be very important because for me to love completely and wholly, I need to be able to respect too…

Hey that was easy- I was not sure what I could come up with when I started with this…easy perhaps because I happen to know someone who is exactly like this:-)

And abt tagging- well, I’m inviting anybody to go ahead who feels like doing this- becaue I can't make up my mind abt whom to tag!! But do let me know…why? Obviously because I’d love to read their idea abt a perfect lover!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hear me please...

some lines that I scribbled on an impulse after seeing the raging waves of The Kaveri when we had floods here where we live- Hear me Please

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Smart BUT Stupid...

Had always pondered as to how smart or stupid I was...finally the suspense is over- I discovered that i was smart but stupid...phew- now i can sleep easy...thanks to Punds from whose page I stumbled into the test page!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ardra Darshanam

The last 2 days were busy- it was Annual day functions at the puttars' school- elder one was a volunteer helping with the seating arrangements, vehicle parking and welcoming guests- it's his last year in this school- he'll be appearing for his Xth board exams this March...

The younger one was acting in a drama- in which he had to wear "panchgajam"- a dhoti worn like pyjamas- sport a "kudumi"- tuft of hair at the back- the play was good and all the children did well-

Today is "Thiruvathira"- "Ardra Darshanam"- sighting the star Ardra - a festival for ladies.

In Kerala, the ladies on this day undertake a special fast/diet - avoiding all rice items- only wheat/semolina is taken -I think it is actually something similar to "karva chauth"of the north.
In traditional households, the women ( all hear say only- no direct experience) go together at midnite to the temple tanks to have their bath-singing folk songs- they literally splash the water ( thudikkuka) as a part of the ritual- partake of abt 108 betel leaves- wear the "dashapushpam" or "paathirappovu"- a set of ten herbs and flowers on their hair- then dance the "Thiruvathirakkali"- in the "sunken courtyard"- the nadumittom -a folk dance form- similar to the Gujrati garba and Kolaattom/kummi of Tamilnadu - very lilting and rhythmic- the footwork is graceful and simple- there are clockwise and anti clockwise movements, clapping of hands . The songs are rustic and simple based on folk tales and mythology.

They stay awake the whole night -look out for the star "ardra"-The idea is praying for the health and long life of the husbands!

One legend goes something like this: Godess Parvathi's dear friend becomes a widow on her wedding night and she goes to Parvathy to bemoan her fate- Parvathy coerces Lord Shiva to resurrect her friend's husband- and Shiva has no choice but to give in – so it kind of celebrates victory over Death-

Another Legend says that Parvati performed severe penance to win Shiva as her husband. Very much pleased with her penance, Shiva appeared before her and promises to take her as his wife. This promise was made on the day of Thiruvathira star of the month of Dhanu- which is also said to be the birth star of Lord Shiva. . Therefore on this day, married and unmarried woman perform dance as a ritual. The married, for the well being of their husband and the unmarried, for acquiring a good husband.

While I've never been one for rituals as such- I did not take rice today -made semiya upma in the morning- wheat semolina for lunch- with roots, pulses and tubers prepared with coconut for the side dish -and delicious arrow root halwa- DH who had taken leave for studying for an exam he has to appear on sunday- helped me with the cooking-it turned out great- we gave generous shares to our friends in the colony- and I have no compunctions in praying for my husband's health and long life- I do that daily anyway :-)

Farewell to Kalamandalam Hyderali...

A singer who succeeded in carving a niche in a predominantly temple/Hindu Classical art form- He had to surmount several hurdles to emerge successful- he had to face numerous obstacles and prohibitions in his chosen profession but eventually he was appreciated, admired by his listeners and Kathakali art lovers…

And when on Jan 5th 2006, he met with a fatal accident- all Kathakali art lovers all over the world were shocked-

When amma called me to tell abt Kalamandalam Hyderali’s accident, I couldn’t and didn’t want to believe it- the scenes they showed on TV- snaps shots of his interviews, singing- it was shocking!
While my uncles knew him personally, I had only heard and seen him sing on the dais during my annual vacations when I went to Kottakkal for the Ulsavam- and to think next year- he wouldn’t be there- it is a loss for his fans, Kathakali Music- and those who knew him personally….

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wayside Views...

Another creative yarn woven from distant memories


warning: this one is a translation of my first full length blogging attempt in Malayalam, and perhaps a handful of those who come here have already read that one...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Borrowing Inspiration

waiting to get inspired...
its very rare that i get down to write something purely out of inspiration from within.. the words usually flow only as a spill out after reading somebody else's composition- I've no idea as to metre- verse- its just more of a haphazard flow of emotions that have been evoked from reading someone else's thoughts...and hence its possible that my words deviate onto a track of their own different from what the original writer/poet intended- some words, images create a response within me depending on my attitude/perception/ mood of the moment...and then I feel like jotting the resultant thoughts...hope its not illegal! let me know if it is... :-)