Happy New Year!
I grew up at the Railway Quarters, Madurai where we have a ‘Sidhdhi Vinayagar’ Temple inside our colony.
It was Navarathri of 1978. I was very upset on one of those days.
During that Navarathri, my uncle was visiting us. He was a very close friend of the (late) Sheik Chinna Moulana Sahib and is a concert freak. We went to this Temple along with my parents. Little did I realize that I was going to attend a concert. I was so upset that my favorite playtime had been snatched away.
Incidentally, this Sidhdhi Vinayagar Tmple has been the ‘arangetram’ stage for many stalwarts we know of, such as Nadaswaram vidwan-brothers MPN Sethuraman, MPN Ponnuswamy, Madurai Somu to name a few.
Walking to the Temple, I learnt from my uncle that the concert was by T.N.Seshagopalan. I was still upset, and pretended to be a good boy. Suddenly, for reasons unknown, I was so fascinated by one Kirthana he sang…
“Hālāsya nāthaṃ smarāmi kōlāhala mīnākṣī samētam” in Raga Darbar. Truly complicated debut indeed for a young lad such as me, who had no such prior exposure!!! After I clapped at the completion of the Krithi, I felt different wondering whether there is perhaps something more to delve into… This spark had already set me into a music lover. I then asked several questions of my uncle. My music appreciation journey started thus…I started learning from my mother (many of us know how it goes while learning from parents) and later from one of the disciples of Sri.A.S.Panchapakesa Iyer (who wrote music books).
For the very next season, I had even skipped homework to attend these concerts. MPN brothers were regular performers at this Temple. By virtue of being a Railway Divisional Headquarters, the IRTS officers made no mistake in expanding the activities of this Temple. Other frequent performers prominent at this Temple were Chittibabu, Sudha Raghunathan, AKC Natarajan, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Dr.M.Balamurali, Valayapatti, Haridwaramangalam Shanmugasundaram, Mali, Ramani.......
I started enjoying…