21.12.05

An evening in Beasant Nagar

Wrote this a day after experiencing something out of the world. An evening I'll remember forever...

“How was the evening?”, Srikanth asked me. His Unicorn was speeding along the Beasant nagar road. I was speechless… it had been just minutes since we had experienced bliss!

Classes, null pointers, deliveries… we decided to take a break. The air carried music even as we entered the Beasant nagar Pillaiyar Koil at roughly 7:15 PM yesterday. A Thyagarajar Keerthanai invited us into the premises where hundred or more rasikas were witnessing a magician in full swing. O.S.Arun it was… Srikanth took a place in the floor and I made myself comfortable in a bench along with some old mamas. Arun was having a superb time with a perfect accompaniment. Music was flowing like silk. “Yamuna…” was touching. The situation - a group of Bhaktas inquiring River Yamuna about Lord Krishna’s whereabouts. The way in which he weaved the raga was stupendous. The unparalleled expressionism in his voice made sure that he captured the various emotions to near perfection.

I have never listened to a better version of “Jagadhodhaarana…”. His deployment of “Yashodha…” , “Kesava…”, “Hari…” in myriad hues made this rendition an outstanding one. He was not a mere artist. He was a creator, a sorcerer who conjured up a bagful of tricks ever now and then. As he gave a touching completion to this work, a tear fell from my eye…

Some peppy numbers ensued. “Premi Hari…” was a foot-tapper. The Mridangist and the Tablist gave prefect orchestration to Arun. It was as hot as any bangra number. Arun has caught the pulse of the gen-X which was evident with the good number of youngsters he had enticed for the evening. Each of his songs carried a mix of genres - carnatic, Hindustani and Bhajans – all converging so beautifully as to give pure nectar for the connoisseur’s ears. I looked at Srikanth. He looked back at me. No words. Just amazement in our eyes… And… Goose bumps all over…

“Koovi azhaithaal…” – the next. As I kept listening, I felt at that instant that there were not enough words in Oxford or Webber to describe this performance. It can only be felt. I told Srikanth, “ippadi koovi azhaithal yen kural kodukka mattaan kumaran?”. Taking your audience to a high plane of divinity is not too easy. Arun made it look too easy!

The entire Kacheri was dotted with improvisation, innovation and skilful usage of swaras and raagas. A refresher from the conventional “Aalabanai - Keerthanai” concerts, I’ve to say. I don’t know too much about Raagas and their nuances. Srikanth might narrate that part of it better. But I strongly feel that, to relish such a performance, it is not necessary to understand the technicalities too much. All you need is what they call ‘aesthetic sense’. As Arun signed off with “Pavamaana…”, I felt like wailing aloud (like those teenage girls in Enrique concerts) . Man he was simply superb!

The ambience, the quality of music, the mellifluous voice… everything about yesterday evening was perfect… including that girl in the yellow saree. What say Srikanth?

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