Last update: 2012-12-01

Kaarthigai Deepam

2012-12-01 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
crouched in her balcony she gazes at the street agal vilakkus* line compound walls, illuminate kolams and staircases in flickering geometries of ritual auspiciousness flames fickle destined to die a slow death as oil surrenders to wick or a quick one from a wayward Marina gust no flame quite so steady, she realizes, as her everyday kaarthigai deepam** inscrutable glow of cigarette…

Vijayadasami 2012

2012-10-23 :: (L Ramakrishnan)

s'rI gurunA pAlitO'smi

2012-04-06 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
It has been a year since my Guru Smt Kalpakam Swaminathan passed away. Among the many ways I've been remembering her today is through this rendition of s'rI gurunA pAlitO'smi. The song is part of a studio recording made by Kiran Kannappan and friends from SwaraSamuha in Bangalore in 2005. Mami's trips to Bangalore for concerts at Ananya and Bangalore Gayana Samaj, the Veena Seshanna award, and…

abhayAmbA jagadambA

2012-01-23 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Just discovered some youtubed excerpts of a 2007 concert of Kalpakam teacher in which I had accompanied her. The rAga kalyANI followed by MD composition abhayAmbA below:…

Vijayadasami 2011

2011-10-05 :: (L Ramakrishnan)

Ganesha Chaturthi 2011

2011-09-01 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Preparations began Wednesday with shopping for a clay Ganesha (no paint!) and accoutrements at Thannithurai market on Royapettah High Road. The puja Ganesha (above) basked in the attention along with the rest of our collection, including the painting by Amma, a Titwala MahaGanapati (far right) that is 30+ years old, dancing Ganesha from Kiran, and others acquired or gifted …

dusky business deals

2011-05-06 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
... and other gems from the brochure of the Delhi hotel at which I'm staying, typed up just the way they appear in print:The guest rooms at [hotel name], provide an ideal setting for complete relaxation and recline, as every room overlook the plush green ambience of the surroundings.Five spacious & aesthetically done up halls and two grandiose lawns are just right for all the celebrations...For …

Smt. Kalpakam Swaminathan 1922-2011

2011-04-06 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
gAna vana mayUrI is no more. Kalpakam teacher passed away today (April 6, 2011) at her residence in Madras at the age of 88. I would like to remember her through this rendering of siddhIshvarAya namastE. …

dessert haiku

2010-12-06 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
strawberries quiverfresh cream glides over ripe curvesin luscious embrace…

Ayush and Myka

2010-10-26 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Ain't this the cutest? My nephew Ayush, son of Meera and Manu; with Myka, a friend's Vizsla (Hungarian pointer). Okay, well, yeah: some credit to Manu for the photography too.…

night light

2010-05-30 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Candleholder from Austin ceramic painting workshop, 1997…

web 0.0

2010-02-17 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Click photo above for full display. From a trek to Nagala Hills on Feb 13, 2010, with the Chennai Trekkers.…

Jazz is home, too

2010-02-12 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
So, last October I went to Viveks on Royapettah High Road to get myself one of those nifty audiotape/CD-to-mp3 converters. As I waited in line to get my card processed along with the hordes of Deepavali shoppers, I saw that Viveks was running a 'perfect home' slogan contest with a Honda Jazz hatchback as the first prize. The car, a model released in India in mid-2009, reminded me a lot of the …

iCandy is home

2010-01-19 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Thanks to Rohit and his parents...…

kara dhRta vINA

2010-01-04 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
fingers traverse frets pull, caress, glide across stringsgoddesses listen…

bhairavi: AryAm abhayAmbAm bhaja rE rE

2010-01-03 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Here is a recording made by Ramji and Vidya on their visit to Kalpakam teacher's place on November 29, 2009. Thanks to Vidya for this three part video, starting with AlApanA,followed by tAnam,and concluding with a rendition of AryAm abhayAmbAm, a kRti from the abhayAmbA vibhakti series of Muttuswami Dikshitar.I remember this weekend as the one following my return from South Africa with H1N1, an …

Campaign for Open Minds

2009-10-16 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Launched October 11, 2009, the Campaign for Open Minds is one of the many efforts to end homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in India. This online campaign is a response to the alarming surge in attempts at conversion therapy and other negative reactions to increased visibility of LGBT people, following Delhi High Court’s historic July 2 2009 decision decriminalizing homosexuality. There are …

Vijayadasami 2009

2009-09-29 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
The books snuggle in their new shelves, and the veenas steal a quiet moment together...…

bansuri on the beach

2009-08-23 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Quietly, reluctantly, I drag myself out of bed as the sun's rays diffusing through the curtains and the loudspeakers blaring from the auto-stand Pillaiyar temple jointly remind me it's time to prepare for the festive day.Stepping outside to tie the coconut frond toraNams on the door, I note with pleasure that my considerate neighbours have already drawn a kOlam for me.I'm treated to a delicious…

gAna vana mayUrI

2009-08-16 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Kalpakam teacher turned 87 today, Aug 15, 2009. During the veena lesson I had an opportunity to record her playing the Dikshitar kRti gauri girirAja kumAri (see video below). The imagery of the epithet gAna vana mayUrI struck me as being ideally suited to mAmI herself. Here's wishing her a happy birthday and many more years of blissful wanderings in the gAna vana.If you have a slow connection …

delusions of grandeur

2009-07-24 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Pigeon lands on lotus leaves, and struts around thinking he's a pheasant-tailed jacana. Dipping in for a gulp of water, he's startled by an enormous koi carp that surfaces to investigate. Delusions of grandeur flee in a whir of flapping wings.…

indra-kArmuka-gaNapatim bhajE'ham

2009-07-21 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
indra-kArmuka-gaNapatim bhajE'hamanyAya-nyAya-vAraNamtrikONa-madhyagatamwoodlands-bhOjanAlaya-sthitam…

At the altar of Mayiladuturai Goddess

2009-07-21 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Review by G. Swaminathan of Smt. Kalpakam Swaminathan's concert on June 6, 2009, at Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai Singing along with the veena, Kalpagam Swaminathan presented Dikshitar’s Abhayamba Vibhakti kritis in all their grandeur.…

Muttuswami Dikshitar Jayanti, March 30, 2009

2009-04-01 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
My guru Smt. Kalpakam Swaminathan led this effort to render some lesser known compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar at a program arranged by Nada Inbam in Chennai.The compositions that grew on me in the course of preparing for this concert were the meditative shrI nIlOtpala nAyikE (rAga nArI-rItigauLa), sprightly gOvindarAjam upasmahE nityam (mukhArI), and brooding gaurI girirAjakumArI (gaurI).One…


2009-03-31 :: (L Ramakrishnan)
Searching for the roots of (my) anger-anguish-angst, I learn that these words, along with angina, have their source in the proto Indo-European angh, which means tight or painfully constricted.Sharing this root is the sanskrRt amhas, which has been variously interpreted as distress, narrowness, oppression, and evil; and is considered one of the Vedic sins, along with pApa, Enas and agha.Lacking …

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catching up with the bandwagon

catching up with the bandwagon