Friday, December 21, 2012
Sudha Raghunathan at Parthasarathy Sabha
It was Sudha Raghunathan singing at Parthasarathy Sabha on Thursday evening. I reached home a little later than planned thanks to my lovely wife and her work commitments and had to almost gallop my way to the Sabha. I did make some futile attempts in between to hire an auto. Every time I paused no auto would turn up and a few paces after I started moving an empty auto would just buzz past. In about 5 minutes I gave up as I was anyway only another 10 - 15 mins away! I found my way in, around 35 mins late and had to sit in a different seat than the one marked for me, to avoid the hassle of brushing past a long line of people and also in the good will of causing minimum disturbance to the already settled audience.
Sudha was winding up a song and in a few minutes she started on "Etha Vunnara". Kalyani yet again this year! From the elaborate Alapana , I understood that this could be the main song and I had missed quite a bit. By this time I had started getting irritated with a tall teenager in front of me. He was swaying his head back and forth and I really was having a tough time keeping pace with him and trying to catch a glimpse of Sudha. It reminded me of the tough time my cousin used to give to the barber when we were young, swaying his head immediately after the barber had set it in a position and had barely started cutting. I located a seat which was at the centre in the row behind and moved on.
Coming back to Sudha, the last time I had seen her in concert, which incidentally was my first concert LIVE, was almost 20 years back. In 20 years nothing much had changed. The effervescent smile, golden voice and arresting stage presence, were all just the same. "Etha Vunnara" was rendered in detail and in typical Sudha style laden with breezy Kalpana Swaras.
"Venkatesa Daya maadu" and "Edhayya Gathi" followed and were pleasing to the ears. Then there was a song on Narayana. It was not Sriman Narayana. I thought it went like "Narayana Narayana Enben" but I am not able to find it in google. Anyway the experience was simply sublime. The friendly nod when the accompanying artists did well and the cherubic smile were a pleasure to watch. At one point , I though I saw Satchaath Mahalakshmi singing the song in front of me. The face appeared so heavenly beautiful and the smile so divine and the voice and music only added to it.
I had to move out after this as it was already getting very late and I was also getting a few calls. As I found my way into the canteen, I left amazed how someone could handle all this success with so much humility and look completely unchanged after 20 years!
After all these years she has been around, Sudha Raghunathan continues to be a people's musician and her music continues to be divine and mesmerizing.