Jun 27, 2009

Part of a Guinness Record!

Last month, i was fortunate to be part of a an extra ordinary event organized by Silicon Andhra, an event that pulled in a hundred sixty thousand people to sing the popular songs of a sixteenth century poet-saint Annamayya, on his 601st birthday. Annamayya occupies a unique place in Telugu history and literature - he had composed 32,000 songs devoted to Lord Venkateswara (Balaji). Each of these songs is a gem, and i had the good fortune of growing up listening to the LP records of MS Subbu Lakshmi singing them in her mesmerising voice. One of the most unforgettable experiences of my life was her live concert in 1994 (just the night before i had a big exam).

Now the artist/singing fraternity is fairly politicized (which fraternity is not?) and fragmented. However it was impressive to see many of them come together onto one platform and pull off this event. There was a grassroots movement too, by people in many villages, towns, schools and corporates to learn the songs. Since some Good Samaritans at my work place (Rambabu Kaipa - a CSR champion, Srinivas Prabhala - an accomplished artist) took the lead, it was easy for me to venture slightly beyond bathroom singing. On the big day, my eighty year old grand mother and I made it to the venue, amongst the milling crowds and savoured the occasion. There was a spring in my grandma's step despite a nagging knee injury, and she handled the crowds like a charm! The only thing amiss was the real sound of 160k voices which was drowned out by the blaring loudspeakers relaying the artists on stage (G Balakrishna Prasad and his son).

The event clearly brought out, the deep hunger people have to learn and enjoy Telugu classical music. Hope music in the state get a big boost with this Guinness record making event!

Jun 9, 2009

The Last Eleven Years

Yesterday I completed eleven years of my work life. I have evolved a lot as an individual, yet in many ways I still remain the same 'old guy'. Incidentally over the last weekend, two of my companions on a long bike ride were trying to guess my age!

What caught my eye on the first day of the twelfth year, was this article by Ramachandra Guha on his reflections about the India of the last eleven years! He talks about how India is experimenting on various dimensions all at once - nationalistic, democratic, industrial, urban and social. I somehow remain utterly optimistic about how this evolution will culminate!