Friday, August 13, 2010

Dance, Music and Beloved Chennai

I retire from the humid afternoon heat here at Chennai, which seems to be getting unbearable. Several tumblers of water that I have downed have sparingly quenched my thirst. I contemplate turning on the air conditioning, and then reject the idea for fear of my increasing dependence on luxury. My hair is partly wet from the oil bath that I have indulged in, on the Friday of the auspicious Aadi month, and partly from the salty sweating that is indispensable to this coastal city.

This is the tamil month of Aadi, and Tuesdays and Fridays are considered auspicious. Married women pray for their husband's well being and longevity. At temples, the deity is adorned with the best of ornaments and the alankarams for the Gods and Goddesses are simply spectacular. It is a month of food and festivals.

But this apart, the Metro Plus supplement that accompanies The Hindu ( a newspaper of wide circulation) is filled, flooded and flowing with events held and to be held at the city. The Chennai edition of The Hindu's Friday Metroplus (earlier Friday Review) is always an art connoisseur's delight. More so, today.

There is a review of the recent 3- day dance festival of the IDA- pictures et al. And there has been ballets and solo recital of almost every top notch Bharatanatyam dancer from Vyjayanti Mala to the Dhananjayans; Padma Subramanyam to A.Lakshmanan. Then there was the brain child of T.M.Krishna and Bombay Jayashri - Svanubhava - a platform for the doyens of music, dance and cinema. There is also an ongoing play fest sponsored by the Hindu Metro Plus involving theatre groups from as far as Korea. The paper also carries an announcement of Bombay Jayashri's Bhaire Baanvari, a musical representation of the saint Mira Bai that is going to be staged tomorrow's at the city's quintessential auditorium - The Music Academy. There is also DAMA's (Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association) exhibition of handloom textiles from Andhra Pradesh at the Lalit Kala Academy. This apart there is the routine list of special pujas at the various temples, many with a significant mythological background.

Sigh!!! Add to this is the Aadi sale at almost every shop in the city.Who could be bored in a city like this? All this and it's not even the Marghazi month (december-january) which is famous for the dance and music festival, where every sangeeth sabha in the city organises kutcheris (music performances) and upanyasams (religious discourses).

It seems like Chennai is oozing with culture and has one or other offering for the creative mind, and a haven for the culturally inclined. The city is sizzling under the heat of the sun, but its people are dancing to fine tunes and humored by great stage plays. I hope things just get better from here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear Ma

I wrote this long-long ago and it was lying in my drafts. In fact, it's time now to write a sequel to this. Still, I thought I'll put it up:

Dear Ma,

I want to write this once,

Just once and it will be end,

Of gossip stories – so many by the ounce.

I thought I was your friend,

I thought I knew you well,

I thought you will stand,

By me as I fell.

But I know there is another side,

The other side of you,

That went through pain like hell,

I have taken cue.

But there did come a time,

When I was about to become,

A big girl, and marry,

which was no big crime.

But you suddenly changed,

And went the opposite way,

And I was suddenly framed,

As dirty as wet clay.

He was the one you chose,

As I promised it would be that way,

Yet like my enemy you rose,

Much to my dismay.

Now some time has passed,

And my anger is wearing away,

I think I’ve healed very fast,

Exactly as you may.

I still love you Ma,

Love you like never before,

I still love you Ma,

Love you like never before.

And that I realise,

Is because I have decided that’s how it is,

I’ve decided, and that’s final,

And that won’t go amiss.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Doing Nothing....

I have been hopping between windows peering at people's facebook profiles, contemplating finishing the book I've been reading, and also finding new reasons to evade the text book on direct and indirect taxes. It's a week day, I'm on long leave of absence from work, and therefore have the luxury of complaining about the boredom, the unrelenting sun and the extra-soft mattress.

Some time back I was pondering over the possibility of my next blog post being a book-review - "The Better Man" by Anita Nair. I have not particularly enjoyed the read so far. I wonder if that is another sign of having grown up. The previous book authored by her that I had read when I was back in early college was "Ladies Coupe" and I was truly in love with her. So much so that I prided living in Bangalore, the same city that the author lives in. But with this book it's vastly different. Some characters are well sculpted, but there is some shallowness I find with the rest. I have grown up, I tell myself. My taste has matured. I decide upon Vikram Seth's title when I go book shopping next.

And then the face-book profiles distract me. Mostly my class mates from school. People I have not heard of in ages - ever since class 12. We are now in the mid twenties. And it seems uniform. The girls mostly have sultry pictures of themselves with peers from their work or university. Its quite typical - Black/red tops, heavily kohl lined eyes, painted nails, dangling earrings. Something felt silly. As if they have stayed at 18. Or it's possibly just me. May be I'm the one who is strange.

I have the time to make these indulgences now. And I miss those days I spent by myself in the later days of college, when it appeared that I was the only one in that whole city who chose to stay single. Sometimes I felt alone. I chided myself for being unattractive. But now, I've been married a year now. I've lost that grouse as well. I certainly don't miss being single. I'm not alone any more. But I miss being on my own. Taking off on a stroll just like that. Long naps. Doing nothing. No questions. No answers. A single room, I kept straightening time and again was my pastime. And thoughts. That was then - some four years back. It all looked so disdainful then. But now, looking back there was colour. And I'm happy with the way it was.

Even now, between typing this, sneak peeking into other peoples face book profiles, missing my husband and my old life, thinking about how much my life will have turned in a month from now, thinking of the air conditioning in which to enjoy my noonly siesta, my head nods, and I stop right here.