Thursday, 19 December 2013

Speeches and sambar vada in T. Nagar

We like to get to the Bala Mandir Hall in T. Nagar. Its openess, its space and the old world charm needs some patronage. As does the music that plays here at this time of the year.

Weeks ago, a citywide choir contest for school kids had the place in swirls of choral music.

On Wednesday evening Venus' snacks greeted us squarely as we got here for the Indian Fine Arts Society Fest - it isn't a wise thing to pitch the canteen near the entry gate - as word spreads, there could be more people at Venus' tables than inside the auditorium and no organiser wants that to happen.

We chose the wooden chairs - the front rows sport them and they cure tired backs. As the speech drones floated inside, we couldn't take out eyes off the spectcular designed roof, part of the design for good accoustics we assumed.

There were awards for Kadri Gopalnath and Alarmel Valli, given by actor Sacchu, now Head of the TN Iyal Isai Nataka Manram. There was also a award for mridangist Srimushnam Raja Rao. Justice Prabha Sridevan was also here asa guest and she made a stirring speech.

Prabha focused on the fact that it is the arts that makes our lives and that it can even address war and violence. A rare speech for the season that went beyond cliches and was in pure Thamizh.

Raja Rao was the loud speaker of the evening. He sang, he shouted and gestured and did all he can to earn minus marks from the audience.

T. Nagar;s face changed many years ago. The local sabhas have lost their devoted rasikas. So IFAS may be nice in carrying on a December tradition it held high decades ago but it has to rejig its strategy if its fest is to be on a rasika's diary.

P. S. : Venus' sambar vadai and rava dosa scored on Day One. Coffee was hot waterish. And the nadaswaram folks led by a vidwan from Adyar did not find a mention in the IFAS brochure. Sad.

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