The Music Academy’s annual music Season had wound to a close. It was January 1st and the Sadas was to take place that evening. All the committee members had as is the custom, turned up in Indian attire. The prize winning artistes had been contacted over the phone and those that could make it had landed up. Of course, the principal awardees – the Kalanidhi, the Kala Acharyas, the TTK Awardees and the Musicologist of the year – were present. The Chief Guest presently rolled up and as per custom was duly introduced to the Committee Members by the President. Everyone then went in and took their seats on stage. The audience was already in the auditorium.
Even as the prize winning artistes filed on to the stage and took their seats, there was some confusion. The artistes outnumbered the seats by two. This was rather unusual as in the Academy such details were taken care of very well. Anyway, as time was short,two extra chairs were brought in and everyone was seated.
Up in the balcony there was a buzz. The aerial view from there enabled people to note that the shortage of seats on stage was caused by a duo from upcountry. Nobody knew how or why they were seated on stage when they were not due to receive any prize. By that process of osmosis that is a feature in any audience this matter soon percolated to the ground floor and even the stiffs in the patron rows were smiling. The info somehow reached the stage and one of the hardworking secretaries went up to the duo and whispered into their ear. By then the prayer had been sung and the event was well in progress. But the duo did manage to sneak out, not before the balcony had burst into evil mirth.
Later enquiries revealed that the duo had never sat anywhere in the Academy other than on stage and so had decided to sit there during the Sadas as well. This was surprising as the duo were not newcomers to the Academy and had performed there several times before. A wag suggested that they had done so in the hope that if they sat there long enough someone would have handed them an award anyway. The incident has gone down as one of those unfathomable mysteries of all time, on the lines of the Man in the Iron Mask,the Zamindar Of Bhawal and Jack the Ripper.
This article is part of an irregular series on happenings during the December Music Seasons of earlier years. You can read the other stories in the links below:
Abdul Kalam at the Academy
The Mridangist has a Malady
A Hairy Tale
The Tambura Man Vanishes
Double Crossing Violinist
How Kannan entered the Academy
How Pattammal trumped the Jeer
Trouble at Tamil Isai Sangam