Pt Venkateshkumar at the Academy
Pt Venkateshkumar at the Academy

Went in the morning to attend a lec dem by TK Murthy on rare talas. Came away without understanding anything. Had the feeling of having attended an extended tani avartanam. The Experts Committee was fulsome in its praise.

Came back in the evening to attend a performance by P Unnikrishnan. varALi, kharaharapriya and riShabhapriya were the main pieces. Pangs of hunger drove me to the canteen and I had vegetable sevai, bonda and coffee. Lived to regret all of them. On the brighter side, was handed two diaries for 2013. Have been flooded with them this year. But these two are special. It appears that old TK Balasubramaniam (son of Tiruppugazh Mani TM Krishnaswami Aiyyar) had completed seventy years as an Academy member and was giving this to all on the Committee. TKB is an uncle by marriage and a delight and long may he continue remaining fit as a fiddle.

Had tamboolam duty for the Hindustani performance and tried my best to get someone else to stand in.Failed and so attended. And by god, am I glad I attended. Pt Venkateshkumar was awesome. He held the small audience which included PS Narayanaswami enthralled. What voice, what melody and what power. What sruti shuddham. Ayyo, where had he been for so long?

At 9.20 I stole to the rear of the stage so as to be ready with tamboolam. There was a bhajan that followed. How could I thank God for having ensured that I attended so that I would know that at the end of a tough year there is always hope and the promise of greater things to come? Standing in the hushed atmosphere of the wings I mentally thanked visionaries like S Satyamurti, V Raghavan, KV Krishnaswami Aiyyar and TTK for having given us the Academy and this concept of a music season. A small group of avid listeners were seated in the wings and I joined them. The bhajan went on till 9.40 pm, ten minutes beyond closing time but who could say anything in the face of such virtuosity?

In a haze of tears I walked across and thanked the artiste and handed everyone the tamboolam. Behind me in the hall, I could sense a standing ovation in progress. It was a perfect end to 2012.

In the lobby the joy that had been created by the performance overflowed. Everyone was wishing everyone else. I shook hands with old Sundaram who has been an Academy staff for God knows how long. Then a quick wishing of all the watch and ward staff. Perhaps like Lutyens did to Rashtrapathi Bhavan I should have kissed the Academy wall as well, but I desisted. Good old Academy, long may it survive, grow and flourish.

Then it was homewards to pick up Sarada and be off to a quiet dinner with friends to ring in the New Year. That ends the Season for me. A Happy New Year to everyone.