I missed out on an excellent demo because of "Paapi pet ka sawaal".
Revisiting the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana this year after a break of many years ( couple of decades, almost), I took the chance to see if I could land a ticket to the much-anticipated 'rock star' of Carnatic music Sudha Raghunathan's concert at the end of March. It was preceded by a 'Melharmonic' symphony of young Carnatic singers accompanied by both Indian and Western style orchestral ensembles, punctuated by rather stiffly-played cadenzas in the Western style. This ensured a full auditorium even as I entered to find a spot before the main event following.
The organizers insisted on everyone exiting the theater, waiting in the lobby in typical disorganized Indian-crowd style, to show our tickets as proof we had paid to enter for the concert. Things were getting a bit heated as a crowd about 1000 strong gathered in an area too small to hold them safely. But luckily, reason prevailed and they started permitting re-entry.
The concert itself was very good. Sudha Raghunathan was in blazing form, dazzling with lightning fast korvais, a good mix of mostly familiar songs and the occasional unfamiliars (to yours truly, if not the aficionado audience that included the inevitable gentleman in front who insisted on marking taalam for every song, except the one in Khanda chaapu which had most baffled for more than few minutes.)
Here is a sample of the lighter fare (thukkadas) that she presented at the end, following a rather tediously predictable plea for generous donations to the festival.
After all the razzle-dazzle, coming at the end of three and half hours, I was desperate for sustenance of the non-musical kind, being gifted with a stomach that demands its dues at frequent intervals through the day. I high-tailed it to the Comfort Inn across the street, hoping to get my dose of thayir saadam and pickle before it vanished entirely into the maws of the hungry crowds. It took about an hour to reach the food counter, after standing in line. I gulped down the food and rushed back as soon as decently possible, hoping that the usual IST applied to the start of a demo of a new musical instrument of which I had heard directly from the inventor. Alas, it was down to the final two minutes of the demo, and all that I heard was a brief thukkada, too short to make a determination of the full capabilities of the instrument.
Here, however, is restitution of sorts to the missed opportunity. Enjoy the sounds of the Chitravenu!
Now that is Food for Thought, indeed.