The Season for Music is gathering steam and The Man from Madras Musings is bracing himself for an onslaught – not of music but of invitations to attend concerts. These come from what is known as the band of ‘young and upcoming musicians’ which, in Carnatic music, can mean those up to the age of sixty or so, after which they are labelled veterans.

MMM, being of a sympathetic nature, tries to oblige as many as possible. But of late, the number of invitations has grown to unmanageable numbers. This is because the methods of sending invitations have also multiplied. There was a time when these would come by mail and MMM could get away by saying that he never received them and put the blame on the postal system. Then came the e-mail wave and MMM could still get by saying that somehow these never reached him and could the sender have perhaps sent the invites to a wrong ID? But nowadays many put up event notices on Facebook and occasionally Tweet or use Whatsapp to publicise them. These are a little less possible to avoid. But what can never be missed, and which MMM has come to dread, are the MMS – Mother Mail Service and GPS – Grandfather Plaguing Service.

MMS is where the mom of the musician is tech-savvy, phone-savvy, personal-contact savvy, post-savvy and is savvy enough to use all these to get you to receive an invitation in some form or the other. If all these fail, then MMM would not be surprised if even the pigeon post were employed. The GPS believes in direct attack. It lurks in places where MMM and others of his kind, known to be culture vultures flock, and waits for a suitable moment. Then, having identified its prey, the old GPS advances, fixing its victim with a paralysing gaze. Having arrived up close, it then begins digging deep into the innards of its costume, all the while holding its prey by sheer eye-power. Then it coos like a dove, beams like a searchlight courtesy the latest in denture technology and holds out a printed invitation. The apple of its eye, says the GPS, is performing at such and such location and it would be good if MMM attended. It does not mention it, but its tone of voice indicates that since it had uncomplainingly changed MMM’s diapers when MMM was young and also stood MMM the occasional bar of chocolate, it is time MMM paid back. And so MMM capitulates, grits his teeth and attends the concert of the apple.

The reward is another invitation for yet another performance by apple. And thus it is that MMM becomes wary and shifty eyed as he goes from sabha to sabha. Watching out for MMS/GPS is tough work. The season has its drawbacks.