Margazhi Memories

Etched in my mind

We are in the midst of the Margazhi Utsavam and my earliest memories of the season come to mind; one such memory is that of an unforgettable concert of the 80s.

I had travelled from Bombay to Madras just for the season.

The Krishna Gana Sabha, at that time, was a koorai mandapam and I had purchased a ticket for Rs. 5 for a last row seat. I remember sitting crouched in that seat, with a notebook and a pencil, trying to jot down every fragment of the concert. The concert began with ‘Viriboni’, the varnam in Bhairavi, followed by ‘Deva Deva Kalayaamithe’ in Mayamalavagoulai. I remember the ‘Dinamani Vamsha’ in Harikamboji, with kalpanaswarams that were as explosive as firecrackers.’Biraanavara’ in Kalyani, followed by ‘Divakarathanujam’ in Yadhukula Kamboji. And building the Raja Margam of the concert was ‘Chakkani Raja’, in Karaharpriya, that I can still hear with my eyes closed. Nobody in the audience left their seats, and there was not a murmur from them, except for their applause, of course. The Margazhi dew and fervour filled the atmosphere. An occasional poke from the koorai on my back added to that experience, notwithstanding the fragrance of the koorai.

When I left the venue at the end, to take the 12B back home, it was with a heart full of music, a book full of notes and deep gratitude for being able to appreciate music.

December 1982, at the Krishna Gana Sabha – Semmangudi Mama with my guru, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman sir on the violin, Shri Umayalapuram Sivaraman on the Mridangam, and Shri Harishankar on the Kanjira. Etched in my mind.

(Image Courtesy : KGS Website Archives)