The balcony of the Music Academy

I promise not to make this a daily feature but then I am remembering so many stories of Seasons past. This incident happened at the Music Academy (gosh I realise I have spent a number of hours there).

It was a TV Sanakaranarayanan concert and the rows in the ground floor were quite full. He was singing something in Purvikalyani when one of society’s toasts decided to get up and leave. (That by the way is acceptable Carnatic music behaviour – we can leave or enter a concert as and when we like it). The gaps between the rows are not exactly super wide and when you walk through you are constantly brushing against those seated in rows to your left and right. Your stomach rubs the people in front and your rear the people at the back. It is best you contain your flatulence as you struggle in or out, in the interests of the people behind.

And so society’s toast sashayed along swinging her handbag and it rubbed the hair of everyone in the front row. But since most Academy members or for that matter any Carnatic music audience are bald it just did not affect anyone except for those bar-coded mamas who grow their hair long on one side and paste it on their scalp. But then came a seat where there was a matron with an elaborate hairdo and what should happen but the handbag of society toast got caught in the coif of the matron. TV Sankaranarayanan sang on.

There ensued a tug of war between society toast and matron with the hairdo much to the combined amusement/excitement of those in the surrounding seats. TVS sang on. The matter could have gone on endlessly had not old Parimala Srinivasan, my dear friend, whisked out a small but serviceable pair of scissors from her handbag and cut the offending lock asunder. (Heaven knows what Parimala Mami did not have in her handbag). The two – toast and matron, parted and went their ways, toast’s handbag still having some strands of hair in it, just as TVS’ Kalpana swarams reached a crescendo which were received with thunderous applause. The two rows involved in this hairy tale clapped extra hard and I patted Parimala Mami on her shoulder and said they were clapping for her. She beamed back.

Matron did not look too upset for having lost a curly lock or two. “It is all artificial,” hissed a lady sitting next to me. Fortunately Carnatic music is all real.