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Happy Deepavali!

Wish you all a very Happy and Musical Deepavali!! For years Deepavali has been celebrated musically as Dikshitar day. After all it was this day that Dikshitar made his students sing Meenakshi me mudam and passed away. Invariably my grandmother would come up to me on the morning of every Deepavali and ask if there was any Diskhitar day concert in the city! This Deepavali is of a special kind to me because I gave a special concert at the AIR studios a couple of days back and it will be relayed on the radio this morning.

Moving away from music just a bit, the first thing noticeable this morning is the very very limited amount of crackers being burst. The noise is just picking up but it really is nothing compared to the days we were growing up. Yesterday a group of over 40s at my son’s swimming pool were recalling the cracker types like the unpredictable aeroplane, the train that moved on a piece of string, the paper snake that swirled ahead on the ground, the ‘vengaya vedi’ that you could smash on the floor and that ugly black tablet called a snake that when lit up grew in some obscene shape with an even more obscene smell! My dad went some decades earlier to recall thing like the ‘olai vedi’ which I have never seen but only heard of.

Finally whenever I sang an alapana at home in clas with my grand aunt Smt Rukmini Rajagopalan, she would aske me to sing an ‘out sangati’ and I never understood the meaning of it. Apparently the ‘out’ was a type of firecracker that just lit up like a flower pot and burst suddenly. She explained that GNB always sang some sangatis like the ‘out’ but then can we mere mortals even dream of such ‘out’ sangatis! Like the ‘out’ vedis the sangatis have also gone out of vogue. Happy Deepavali!


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