Thursday, 12 January 2017

Margazhi in today's smart phone era!

Month of Marghazhi was marked with early morning fog. Namasankeerthanams and Bhajana mandalis woke us up with their early morning chanting of mellifluous bhajans and Thiruppavai/Thiruvembavai.

The curiosity to just have a look at the Ghoshti walking past our home, made us wake up and walk to the main entrance.  Greeted with huge Kolams/Rangolis with yellow pumpkin flower in the middle, what a refreshing morning it used to be.

It was so inspiring, that even the not so artistic girls used to try their hand in doing the kolams. Just  an appreciating pause of the passerby, leave alone a gesture or word or two of real appreciation.... That gave a high and made us do better the next day.

Topping this was the Ven Pongal, mothers and grannies made for prasadham.
Evenings were meant for temple visit or concert visit.
All those pattu veshtis and pattu sarees locked up in the Godrej almirahs used to come out of their slumber.
The Todis and Kalyanis, Bairavis and Kambhojis were discussed at length.
A rare case of rushing, to have a word with the maestro or max get an autograph was seen.

Today, in the era of smartphones, namasankeerthanams happen only in remote villages and staunch agraharams. Ven pongal is only famous in Saravana Bhavan and rare brahmin families.

Kacheris are more, with the exhaustive number of sabhas and cultural organisations.
Youngsters and maestros alike, perform to cater to the young and old.
Its good news. Feels great to see many youngsters as part of performers and audience.

Beyond all this... its really heart wrenching to see the use of smartphones in the concert.
Every minute some person raises his hand with the cell phone to click a picture of the artist.
Other minute a Tab or Ipad raises to shoot a video... all this, only to post in their respective whatsapp or FB profile. To tell the world that he or she was there and attended the concert.

Yes attended is the right word.
As we look around, we see so many  disinterested faces, lost in their own world, with their cell phones or in small chatter with their accompanying friends, relatives etc.

I agree every concert cannot be engaging. There could be dull moments and bright moments.
When uninterested, we can  avoid attending concerts. If forced by family or friends or social obligations, kindly stay out in the lobby to freshen up and then get in. That way one would feel connected.

The artist can perform best only when he has an engaging audience.
Every moment, if he or she were to see a smart phone or Ipad rising up on their face, they tend to get distracted.

I remember a concert of the past, 30 years ago, Sri Chittibabu, was in his world, playing his famous Kuyil paattu on his veena.
Audience were mesmerised by his koos and kaavs. They were so tempted to applaud him between.
He gestured "wait" to the audience, till he completed the song and then smiled at them. He was given a standing ovation.

When, even an applause could disturb the harmony of the artist, singing or playing or dancing, these kind of bad ethics would naturally put them off.

Recent personal experience - Bharathanatyam by Shobana, the smart phone clicks were so annoying to us audience and worse more to her. She being a maestro of her bhavas and mudhras, she stepped aside on the stage and in the same language of mudhras, she gestured to the crowd, requesting not to use smart phones and then stepped back to continue dancing. Just think, how difficult it must have been for her to concentrate on what she was trying to enact.

In another recent show in a famous hall, the volunteers were too many in number. Once the dance show started many of them lined up behind the last row. Some sat in vacant seats.
The varied dance forms were enthralling and here I hear the non stop chatter behind, by these men in uniform.
They could not say between kathak or kuchipudi, not their fault. There should have been a minimum decency to enjoy it in silence, if they did come in, to really do that.

Non stop chatter on phone or with neighbour is another annoying factor. Blessed are those who get to occupy the front few rows, where not much of such botheration happens. They are left to enjoy the concert in peace.
The back row audience are not so unfortunate I guess.

Time and again many people, artists and including the famous K Balachander ( Sindhu Bhairavi) have brought forth this nuisance but its pathetic to see not much has changed.

Adieu Marghazhi... Happy Bogi, Pongal to all!


  1. Quite Interesting, Revealing the Passion You all 've for Chords!! Within a Matter of few mts, I found that Very Soothing; Very Happy & Cheerful.

    Highly Commendable.. Superb Like Sudd.. Happy Pongal :)

    - Karti

    1. Thank you Kartiii for leaving a comment here. Happy you liked it. Happy Pongal to you.