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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Musical Concerts!


Last week was special; full of art; full of music; full of concerts. Vidyaranya Yuvaka Sangha conducted several musical concerts for 10 days on the occasion of Ganesh habba in APS college grounds, Basvangudi which is at a walk able distance from my house. To an art lover like me, it was a treat which I could not effort to miss at any cost.

Memorable moments at the concerts –

A beautiful fusion of different instruments – Ghatam by Giridhar udupa, Flute by Ravichandra Kullur, Mouth organ, Tabla and mrudanga gave a perfect start to the festival.

Giridhar Udupa At Ghatam
M D Pallavi (My favorite singer) on demand sang a mesmerizing song – Neenu illade during the climax of the second day show. This was only one from the long list of beautiful songs she sang that evening, including Arabic and latin. Her husband Arun complimanted her on the drums.

Santoor at its best, in the hands of Maestro Shivkumar sharma and his son Rahul sharma.


Hariharan’s semi classical movie songs and of course – Krishan Nee begane baro, attracted the highest crowd.

The compatibility and coordination between Ganesh & Kumuresh’s violins was truly appreciable. The music acted like medicine to my tiring mind.

Shiva mani’s music through his band set, suitcase, plates and every other folk instruments used in villages which collaborated to provide excellent music and blended with the music from Ghatam by Giridhar udupa and mandolin by Rajesh.

A new perspective of Ramayana, from Ravana’s point of view; a dance drama by actress Shobhana called Maya Ravana. The expressions that her eyes communicated as Kaike, Surpankai and Ravana were truly amazing and impressive.



Legendary carnatic music vocalist Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna garlanded the final event of the habba with few of his own created raga's.


All pictures taken from the internet... not mine. :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ganesha!



Since several years, I have wanted to capture the images of Ganesha idols sold at RV road and during this Ganesh Chaturthi, I got that opportunity. It was a beautiful sight to watch various forms of the elephant headed God and the excitement in the people and kids to select one for their home. I have a hobby of collecting different types of Ganesha idols. The count is now 20.

Several nostalgic moments appeared; thinking of the childhood days when my mother would prepare around 6 varieties of Ladoo, Chakuli, Modka, Yellow coloured dosa and several other dishes.



Unlike in Bangalore, In Mangalore Ganesha is not placed in every house, since it is believed that doing so needs a very proper ritual to be followed. Only few families who have been doing this since generations follow it and are not supposed to stop it. At my cousin’s house, which is at a walk able distance from ours, they place Ganesha idol every year and we would go there for the pooja. My main excitement as a kid was to meet my two cousins Anp and Krish. Sitting by the road we would invent new games. Each person would choose a type of vehicle and while it passes by gets a point. With money received as dakshina during lunch, we would buy ice candy or chocolates. After lunch my cousins would come to our house or we would go to the beach.



This Ganesha festival, I was lucky to attend the pooja at one of my cousin’s house in Bangalore.

Every festival has a memory attached that makes it even more special....It is now I realize how much the festivals are part of we Indians; they are not just another ritual we perform but a pool of emotions, special, joyous moments we have lived and will continue living; it is a celebration of life.

No matter how much ever western we get, the festivals will bind us to our roots; our identity.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Kemmangundi

I am bored of the usual travelogue style I always write in. So I thought of experimenting this time, by writing the whole experience backwards… :-)

The bus was driving back to Bangalore and for the first time in a trip, while returning home, I wasn’t sitting by the window and sleeping. The bus was racing towards the city and I cursed the driver – what is the hurry? The music played – Bachna Ae haseeno, Singh is King, Geela Geela…and more. I danced to the tunes with my friends as one of my friends waved the flash light to create disco effect. Our Boss’s 13 year old son jumped at us to match the spirit. It was the most fun filled climax for another wonderful trip. This trip had been special for its wonderful group and more for the fun we had as a team rather than the place itself.


Few hours back, before watching – Johnny Gadar & Kung fu panda in bus we were at Badra dam reservoir. Watching the backwaters and speaking to the Muslim shopkeeper women, who travel 3.5 miles to set up the shops. We had admired the Jungle resorts which is very neatly maintained and reminded me of the wood homes they show in Discovery Travel & Living. I strongly considered recommending this place for a quite peaceful environment; watching the Badra dam backwaters and at the same time, view the different bird species that the management boasts about. Before Badra dam, we had been to Kallahati falls. There was a marriage and special pooja happening at a small temple across the waterfall. I disliked the sight of villagers using soap and shampoos to take bath in the waterfall.

Eternal Kannada movie, Ganeshna Maduve, has always been everyone’s favorite. The comedy drew away all the tiredness of the day. The beautiful memories of Kemangundi were still afresh as we carried them back on our way to Kallahati falls.

On my way out of Kemmangundi, I recalled the wonderful sunrise we had watched from Z point; the orange sunrays merged into the hills turning them brighter and green. A dog from the resort had accompanied us till the top. It showed us shortcuts and waited for us. Shanthi falls was beautiful sweet falls on the way and we could not stop from experiencing its coldness.




Our walk to Z point had started at 5:15 Am. Only 7 of 18 had been ready for the mission as they slept tired from the eventful previous day. An hour’s (5Km) rigorous, continuous walk had taken us to the hill top following a road and then a tiny path uphill across a water fall. A silent moment on a hill top cannot be matched with anything, I guess.

But it was tough waking up that early from the eventful campfire we had had the previous night. The resort guys set up a camp fire on demand and we played Antakshari until we got tired and hungry.
We were not much lucky with the sunset though, as we were with the sunrise. Sunday evening, we had been to the Rajbhavan (Sunset point) but unfortunately the cloud hid the sun and set with it. So we walked around the park; watched few boys gamble by betting over tossed coins; clicked several pictures; teased one another and waited till dark to see if the clouds would clear the sky and hoped for a better sunrise.

This was indeed a nice time to relax after that hectic and mind-blowing experience we had just had at the Hebbe falls. Previously we had booked 2 jeeps which take us the Hebbe falls (13Km). The bumpy roads needed lot of skilled driving. The view along the way was amazing. The pictures can explain better.


From the jeep stop, we had to walk another 2.5 Km, through an estate; crossing streams; and escaping from leeches. But all that was more than worth for the magnificent waterfall, which falls from 200 odd ft. I recall as I watched the droplets fall loose from that height, it filled me with several emotions – Happiness, fear and lighteness. The water hit me with force, as I stood near it on a slippery rock and drenched in its freshness. Taking bath in a water fall always gives a cleansed feeling.



The college stories of my friend which only come out when drunk, were a good starter for all this fun that followed. We had enjoyed the back seat in the bus on Saturday night and accompanied the drinkers in their conversations as we made our way to Kemmangundi.

I had expected fewer wildernesses & reserved behavior in this trip due to presence of ladies, but it wasn’t so. The ladies were a sport and joined the group with matching spirit. The kids were energetic and kept the environment lively. Kemmangundi will be a trip memorable for all the fun we had had as a group.