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Notes from a violin concert

May 22, 2010

I have this habit of suddenly launching into a scribbling spree when I am actively experiencing something that catches my attention. The latest happened at the ‘Best of Indian music’ festival. I started writing down my random impressions during the break out of an impulse. Have tried to copy down from my notebook, from the last page backwards.

The first one to come on stage was Ambi Subramaniam. It was ‘curious’ (I cannot say interesting, weird, strange or anything else, it was really ‘curious’ however wrong this usage may be) to watch that polite(-looking) young man play with such ease and concentration matching the beats of the veterans at his side. The piece presented was beautiful. From that to the lovelorn ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Bindu S. to Kavitha Krishnamoorthy’s Bollywood songs. ‘pyar hua chupke se’, ‘raah nihaaroon piya’ and ‘kya janoo sajan’… a sitting up and watching experience to begin with. It suddenly strikes me how difficult it has become to hold a pen, to pen Hindi. Suddenly, I am reminded of when I last wrote Hindi and it startles me to a sad mood. It was when I wrote down the Gayatri Mantra for our little friend’s last rites not too long ago. Unpredictable are the mind’s workings, what it decides to bring back at moments seemingly unrelated.The stage is getting filled up by the Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra. The violins, Cellos, Drums, Piano, Harp… I actually am watching a Harp being played live today. I always wondered how they reach the other end of a Harp. I am about to find out. The lady playing the Harp seems rather nervous. I would think that she is really good at it to play with this Orchestra, then why is she continuously ‘practising’ without a sound during the break ? Hmm… she is pretending to play it while others are taking a break.

In the second part of the program, L Subramaniam starts ‘Shanthi priya’. My heart skips a beat. My brain seems to get heated up. There is a panicky rush in the mind. It makes me want to cry ! It makes me want to smile, it scares me, it makes me want to hold my beloved’s hand… such sad sad music. Mesmerizing. It makes me remember all the sad things in life and weep. It’s cleansing. At some moments I fear my heart would burst. What is it that music does to mind ? I wish I could ‘see’ the emotional havoc music creates. I am sitting here and listening to ‘the God of Indian Violin’!

As if he heard me writing this, he suddenly starts a jumpy composition. It’s what I like to call ‘twinkle toes’ music. Makes you want to get up swirl and dance, round and round. With the highs and the lows. With the falls and crescendos. With joy and abandon. True endless bliss. I am actually grinning.

Kavitha Krishnamoorthy and Bindu S. sing the Freedom Symphony. It’s grand, to say the least. It pounds away at your heart. They sing ‘Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram’, ‘vande mataram’… Gives me goosebumps. Reminds me of the Radio Akashavani Vande mataram mornings. (I) Used to get up early just to listen to it.

By now I am getting a hang of holding the pen and my handwriting is getting better. They decide to end the Shanthi priya. It’s a humbling experience. They say, when you play music, you feel God. That’s true for when you listen to it too. And when you listen to God himself, it’s truly divine.

PS: My palms burnt for 2 days from the standing ovation I joined in with others that night.

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