It happened one December Music Season

A Happy New Year to all of you!

Today being January 1, the Music Academy’s Sadas will take place this evening. This oriental convocation, with all its traditions including compulsory Indian dress, is a very pleasant event. I always enjoy it and it always takes me back to my childhood, when I used to accompany my grandmother to it. To her, attending the Sadas was sacrosanct.

Last year, on becoming Convenor-Secretary of the Music Academy’s Annual Conference, it became my responsibility to conduct the Sadas. I was understandably nervous but the Academy staff, which is experienced by handling several such events had the matter well in hand. I was handed a detailed cue sheet and told not to deviate from it. I followed it faithfully and the event went off without many hitches. Of the few that happened I will relate but one –

The evening previous to the Sadas is when the Executive Committee of the Academy will meet to tabulate the markings of the judges for the various concerts and decide on the prizewinners. The Academy will then contact the winners and inform them and also ascertain their availability for attending the Sadas. In case they cannot come in person, they can send in a representative. This list is key and will be thrust into the hand of the Convenor-Secretary before getting on to stage for the Sadas. It will carry details of who can come and who cannot, and in case of the latter who is standing in. And so it was last year.

Matters proceeded accordingly with me announcing names of prizewinners and each coming on to receive their certificates from the Chief Guest. I got into the swing of announcing the names of the donors of various prizes – I love the sound of the sonorous names of the donors- MD Brothers, Something Gomatam Something, Ganapatigal somebody, Her Highness the Maharani of Somewhere Endowment and so on – it is almost like reading a list of trophies from some Racing Club.

I had reached the Junior categories and had just got on to a name where the artiste was unable to make it person and was represented by his mother – or so the list said. I had not yet looked up after reading the name when I heard the whole audience dissolving into laughter. I looked up to see a hulking big man, complete with beard, striding up to receive the prize. The artiste had decided to come in person at the last minute and the office did not know of it. It took me a couple of minutes to regain my composure at the sight of this so-not-a-mother. On seeing my mouth hang open the audience burst out laughing again.

These things happen.

This article is part of a series I write during the Season titled It Happened During The December Music Season. You can read the earlier parts by clicking on to this link