Chennai is very special to many people, whether they were born here or they have come here for a visit. Chennai’s December Season is very popular that people from other parts of the country, as well as the world, come here and stay and attend concerts at various Sabhas in the city. There are many popular and age-old Sabhas like The Music Academy, Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, Krishna Gana Sabha, Narada Gana Sabha and so on and so forth. Most of these Sabhas have special caterers attached to them like Arusuvai Arasu, Gnanambika, etc which serve delicious food, snacks and degree coffee.
I started going to concerts when I was in my first year of M.Sc.(Statistics). I had two friends, Srivi and Viji, who were of my same wavelength. Added to that, Srivi’s dad and Viji’s Mom were also eager to hear concerts. Deep in my heart, stays the memories of Srivi and myself, walking hand in hand, changing buses, running from one Sabha to another, longing to get a seat for the free Kutcheris that happens in the afternoons. Those were the days(1995- 1997), when today’s stars like Nithyasree Mahadevan, Unnikrishnan, Sowmya, Bombay Jayshree, Priya Sisters and the like were budding artists, and were given the 2:00 p.m. slot at The Music Academy. I remember, rushing from my college soon after the morning session ended. I would catch the train at Tambaram, meet Srivi, at the Chromepet station, and we both used to go to Guindy, catch the bus, 45B, get down at Alwarpet Signal and walk towards Music Academy. At those times, we weren’t given much cash as pocket money. We used to spend the meagre money given to us, very carefully.
Once, Viji, her mom and myself had gone to hear Sudha Raghunathan, at a Sabha in the city. While coming back, it was already 8 or 8:30 p.m. and added to our woes, the bus broke down at Pallavaram. We waited impatiently and reached home very late to earn the wrath of our family members.
Hey!! Forgot to mention the month end season that starts at the famous Nanganallur Anjaneya Swamy Temple. There the concert starts at 7 p.m. and goes on upto 10:30 p.m. So, Srivi’s father used to come along with me and Srivi. Usually, 31st December used to be M.S. Subbulakshmi and 1st Jan used to be Sudha Raghunathan’s concerts. We never used to miss any concert there. I remember my mom waiting at the end of the road, where my house is, looking at every train that comes from Beach to Tambaram, to see whether her dear daughter has at least come in that train. Many mamis who used to put Kolams at that late night(instead of putting it the next day early morning!!)used to enquire my mom, why she left her daughter to come home that late? My mother, would promptly reply them back, stating that she had faith in me and she left me to enjoy whatever I was interested in, as long as it was good.
Those lovely days are still green in my heart!! After my wedding, kids came in and I was engrossed in my own world. Now, that the kids have grown, I have made up my mind to attend concerts. What more, my husband and kids, are equally enthusiastic, to attend them too. We all heard the Heart Ensemble concert, by Dr. S. Karthik, popularly known as Ghatam Karthik, and his group last year on Christmas day. It so coincides that Sri. Poongulam Subramaniam, in that troupe, is my younger kid Karthik’s Mridangam master.
This year, I have plans to go to at least 3 to 5 concerts. Hope, I am able to…