Sunday, April 27, 2008

T.M. Krishna Concert

I am writing this post in a pleasant, food-induced stupor (Vegetable pulao + raitha). I have to say that I've surpassed myself this time with the pulao! Yummmm..Of course, my pulao has nothing to do with T.M. Krishna's brilliant concert last week in Cincinnati..:-)

Frankly, I didn't go to the concert expecting too much. I like T.M. Krishna and own a couple of his CDs but I've never been raving fan of his. But he managed to convert me into a believer in the span of 3 hours and 45 minutes! It was a classic, traditional Carnatic concert replete with Ragam Tanam Pallavi. W
hat really attracted me in this concert was the refreshingly off-beat krithis that were chosen in very common Ragas. The ragas he chose for the evening were quite crowd-friendly -- Ananda Bhairavi, Kamas, Sankarabharanam, Atana, Riti Gowlai, Hamsanandi and Salaga Bhairavi. When he started on Atana, I thought he'd sing Tyagaraja's "Yela Nee Dayaradu" or Sivan's "Nee Iranga Enil". Surprisingly, he embarked on "Kumaralaya Nagara.." by Swathi Thirunal. For the main piece of the evening in Sankarabharanam, he chose "Dakshinamurthe.." in Misra Jhampa talam.

The Ragam Tanam pallavi was also quite an interesting piece demonstrating his mastery over intricate talams and ragas. He started off in Ritigowlai in a 10-beat cycle. In the pallavi section ("Dasaratha Bala Rama Chandraiyya"), he cascaded onto Mohanam, Dhanyasi, Kalyani before coming back to Riti Gowlai.

I think T.M. Krishna is half-way there on his way to greatness. I'd have loved to seen a bit more bhavam in his singing along with technical flourishes. This week its Aruna Sairam in Cincinnati. More on that concert next week....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random rant to vent and make me feel better

Yesterday morning, I found out that a first cousin of mine has cancer. It was diagnosed recently and she had to go through surgery. I am quite fond of this cousin and it hurt me that she had to go through this trauma. We share a lot of similarities of personality and I see part of myself in her. That's why it hit home.

If she can get it, I can too (someday) because we share the same genes.

The worst thing is that she came to my wedding and she was already silently suffering.

News like this sends me into the "Why us, Dear God?" mode first. As I drive to work, all failures/frustrations in the extended family flash through my mind's eye -- failed marriages, cases of black magic, illnesses, heartbroken parents, fatherless children, shattered dreams. I don't talk with all my family members all the time but I think about them often. And each time some tragedy strikes, its like a wound in the collective consciousness. I feel it as much as the affected people do.

And of course, on days such as these, the universe tests one's patience by sending other irritants. I almost got hit by stupid drivers twice on my way to work -- once on the freeway and once on the exit from the freeway. Both these drivers decided to cut across lanes without indicators. For the first time in my life, I gave vent to road rage. Then, I had to end up reading about the Congo war and that caused even more misery.

Anyways, end of rant. Hopefully the sun will smile from the clouds soon enough..:)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In my random afternoon browsing , I ran across this article about the war in Congo. Incidentally, NPR ran a feature about the same war yesterday in their "All Things Considered" program. I suppose I should be used to these kinds of brutalities now after hearing about Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan etc...But I am not and I felt an overwhelming physical urge to just throw up after reading this article..:( Having to hang your own baby with your hands?! Jeez.

But the maturity of this woman is stunning. Hats off to her!

Zawadi has one big wish. She wants the Interahamwe, the Rwandan Hutu
militia, driven from the forests of Congo. "Do you also," I ask her,
"want these men, the ones who destroyed your family, to be punished,
tracked down and killed for what they did?"
Her answer is the same as a year ago: "No I don't. I still feel
that I don't want those people to be killed. I know that God will judge