We are coming to Chennai for the music season, read the mail my cousin sent. My husband who was nearby heard my reading it aloud.
Which cousin of yours is so interested in music? asked he.
It’s my cousin Geetha who lives in Hyderabad, I said.
I never knew your family appreciated any of the fine arts, probably your cousin wants to come here on an errand, he said.
Just because I cannot sing, it does not mean no one else can do so in my family, I shot back.
O.k. Does your cousin want you to purchase a season ticket for some sabha? he wanted to know.
No, she doesn’t say anything about tickets, probably she’ll decide after she arrives, I said.
By the way, she says “we” are coming, which means she is not coming alone, I said reading the mail again.
May be she is coming with her husband, said my husband.
Can’t be, because she is not married. May be she is bringing a friend along, I said.
Even before we could guess who that “we” meant, Geetha arrived with bag and baggage along with a young thing, probably in her early teens.
Hey Meera, she greeted, meet my friend’s daughter, Sruthi. Her mother wants her to learn music. She feels if the girl attends a couple of concerts she may develop a liking for the art.
Not being a connoisseur of music myself, I sought my friend’s help for suggesting the names of a few artistes and where they would be performing.
Armed with a big list, I chose the most popular sabhas within proximity of our house. I acted as a guide to the duo since they were not familiar with the city and quite reluctantly sat through the long drawn out concerts. I envied the audience who appeared very knowledgeable and the way they were nodding their heads and humming the songs I thought they were more involved in the performance than the artistes themselves. Since my knowledge of music did not go beyond identifying the Pancharatna kritis (I found nobody sang them) I made no pretense in trying to guess the ragas or the songs rendered.
As we were half way through the season I asked the youngster when she would be commencing her music lessons. Not bothering to answer my question she said, Aunty, I have already decided to come here every year, as I am thoroughly enjoying myself . Her happiness was evident from her expression.
That’s wonderful, did you like any particular artiste’s performance? I said.
I really can’t differentiate one from the other or one song from another, but certainly I can’t forget the delicious masala dosai, and medu vadas we have been eating in the Sabha canteens. I think the best was…
I was sure she would end up as a connoisseur alright, though not of music!
N Meera Raghavendra Rao