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Showing posts from 2007

My two days with the artists: Pandit Shubhendra Rao and Ty Burhoe

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Shubhendra and Tara had been in correspondence about arranging his sitar concert in Bangkok for a while. As Shubhendra said 'Eeega Samaya Banthu' (The time came now!). Events developed quickly and on Monday last, Tara was at the airport to receive the artists. Good that I did not go as they had lots of luggage. Shubhendra obviously had his Sitar, but what surprised us were the two huge 'storm' boxes that Ty had brought along with him. The boxes, apart from the Tablas, were full of electronic instruments; a mixer, an equalizer, a recorder, accessories and tools. They said that they carried these equipment to ensure the right quality of sound. They had learnt from experience that most of the sponsors did not have the right system for a concert. Their commitment to create the best quality of sound and the trouble they took for this was impressive.
It is interesting that as soon as we hear about a 'live concert' being held, we begin to talk about the concerts we h…

When 'craft is an art'. Raji Narayan contributes to its development.

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It is uncanny sometimes how events develop. As I read comments from Rama and Varsha giving their meaning to the term 'craft' in my earlier blog 'Varsha Nair: Her art...', I came across 'Handmade Nation' recommended as a blog of note. It was an enticing title that lead me to the blog, which is about the rise of DIY (Do It Yourself) andthe new wave of art, craft and designin the USA.(http://indiecraftdocumentary.blogspot.com/.)
Anyway, Rama's comments about craft set me thinking. 'But craft requires mastery of technique along with creativity, making it a tougher field'.
(Rama Gopinath lives near Seattle and Gopi takes me golfing at his club on our visits to our daughter Nandini .)

To reminisce, it took me back to the time, years ago in Khajuraho, when I saw both Tara and Raji suddenly run excitedly towards..... well a hand cart full of brass figurines. These were all very well crafted and very beautiful and are still displayed in our living room.

The…

Varsha Nair: Her art... she calls it her 'Experimental Endeavours'.

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I thought, here I am rambling about art and how is it that I have not written about Varsha? It is indeed totally inconceivable that you are writing about Indian art in Bangkok and Varsha is not featured in it in a big way. In fact, I did think about a blog about her couple of times, but did not get round to it.

'Varsha' is a beautiful sanskrit word which creates an image of gentle drop of rain or flowers (Pushpa varsha). It can also be an unrestrained outpouring: an extravagant and sometimes excessive. (Varsha Dhaara).

I think her parents were prescient in choosing this name for her. It is really difficult to capture the essence of her persona. Varsha gushes, rushes, expresses, declares, proclaims depending on what she is passionate about at the moment and all this is encompassed in her name itself.
We met Varsha at an exhibition of paintings, which Samhita Arni had made for her book 'Mahabharata'. I liked the natural way she spoke English, and not surprising as she went …

Tara sings at the UN ESCAP in Bangkok.

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Tara had a unique opportunity on Tuesday the 2nd October.
UN has declared Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday as the 'International Day of Non-Violence'. Thus on, 2 October 2007, ESCAP in collaboration with the Embassy of India, Bangkok organised a function to commemorate this day.
The Ambassador of India kindly asked Tara to sing two Bhajan's (Inspirational hymns) which were favourites of the Mahatma. It was organised at the United Nations conference centre. The UN building as you can expect is an impressive building and the facilities were excellent.
It is easier to copy from the aesthetically designed programme to give you an idea of the day.
10:30 -11.00 hours Refreshments
10.45 hours Arrival of H.E. Mr. Mani ShankarAiyar, Minister for Panchyat Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports and Development of North-eastern Region, Government of India and H.E. Ms. LathaReddy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of India to ESCAP.
11.00 -12.15 hour Opening of th…

The celebration continues.... 'Images of India'

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We were treated to more Indian culture the last few weeks. They were two very high profile events and both enjoyable. (I am running a little late as my computer failed and I also took a break from blogging.)

First was an event, showcasing Anuradha Pal and a group of women artists at the Thai cultural centre's larger auditorium. It was an important occasion, Bangkok’s 9th International Festival of Dance and Music, celebrating the 80th Birthday of His Majesty the King. The occasion was graced by the presence of HRH Princess of Thailand, Mahachakri Sirindon. Anuradha Pal is one of India’s leading and most innovative percussionists. Stree Shakti is an all-female Indian percussion ensemble. They performed using traditional percussion instruments like tabla, ghatam, mourching and mridangam.The percussionists and the accompanying sitar artist performed with enthusiasm and extremely well. It was enjoyable for its vigorous energy and its uniqueness as it was all women. Mourching was special…

More on 'Local' contribution to Indian Music

Nidhi, Great job indepicting what we all felt. Cheers. Khalid ( Thanks Khalid!) I sent my blog, a pretty long one, across to friends hoping they would read and like it. I had said, 'This one was different, It was by the Amateurs who live in Bkk. Those of you who missed it can read about it! And those who were there would love, I hope, to read all about it!' Many responded and I think it is worth quoting the comments many friends made. Thanks again for all the nice comments about the blog. I am happy to have struck a chord in all of you and feel very encouraged! I am sure all the artists will love what Chitra said about the program.


Thanks for sending me the blog on the musical function we had the other day. What can i say other than...its been a long time since i have enjoyed something like this! All kudos to tara and the other ladies who organised and ran the programme to perfection. As i have lived outside of india for the last 28 yrs it has been difficult for me to see a progr…

We are all very proud!

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We had a wonderful experience last Saturday, 25th August. The invitation card, The Embassy of India had sent us, had promised us an unique programme and so it was! It was a concert titled 'India's Musical Heritage - A tribute to the Great Poet Saints'. I believe that those who heard the concert felt that they understood, at least in those wonderful moments, what it was to be an Indian and how music has helped to hold us together as a nation these 60 years as well as implant a consciousness of our being 'Indian' throughout centuries.
The concert was held to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of India's Independence and the 60th anniversary of establishment of India-Thai diplomatic relations. H.E. Latha Reddy, Ambassador of India, when she spoke informally to congratulate the artists said it was 'One of the best, why the best programme I have attended in Bangkok!'. She spoke for all of us who stood up to applaud. She was also very gracious to acknowledge th…

Music 'poured' last week.

It has been raining in Bangkok. Similarly, the normally arid Indian cultural scenario in Bangkok was drenched in music last week. No matter it was all Bollywood! First, it was the program arranged by our precious friends Viji and Khalid. (Precious: highly valued, much loved, or considered to be of great importance-- I quote from MSN dictionary!). They sponsored a concert of Roshan and Ritvik, physically challenged artists from Bangalore.

It was arranged in style to introduce these artists and to encourage them. It was compered competently by Viji's sister Rajani. Rajani helps deserving artists through an organisation called 'Good Deeds'. There were two more artists Satish Govindan and Smriti who added variety and some Bollywood style dancing, nice and subdued. Our very popular Indian ambassdor H.E. Latha Reddy was gracious to be present for the whole evening.

We had excellent snacks and dinner at the Novotel, courtesy, the hosts. The music began almost on time and we had som…

India turns 60!

Indian embassy in Bangkok had arranged a nice function! I thought it was nicer this time. The usual crowd could be seen. Jagjitsinghji and his students rendered the National anthem and other 'Deshbhakti' songs. Tara and Viji were part of the women's club group rendering a medley of 'national' songs in different languages! Music guru Archana Kanhere was in the forefront and we could see men represented by Aditya and Raghavendra. There were many more who participated. It was good hearing these well rendered songs and it still makes us emotional.

I was lucky to see, for me the first time, the tri-color unfurl as I entered. You cannot see the flag if you are seated inside the tent. You can, only if you are standing on the steps. This vantage area is also occupied, as I have seen through the years, practically by the same group of people. They can see and be seen as well! I saw only one 'freedom fighter' dressed in his INA uniform in the front row. There used to …

What is opposite of being Bald!

Our tennis group had collected at Gayathri/Mukund's apartment. Reason was to meet Aparna who had come on a short trip to get her Thai Resident permit renewed. Mumbai and working as a consultant has done wonders for her. If I were a correspondent for 'Femina' I would have said that she had a glow about her! Mumbai, though polluted, seems to have done this for her! She looked confident and chirpy as usual. She also took it in her stride when I tried to provoke her by wondering, how one could appoint such an young girl, as a consultant!


Anyway, it is time to get on with my blog subject. Pradeep, newly married, had gained weight and had compensated to some extent by loosing most of his hair. It was noticed and the topic went on about his hair loss. Some one, probably trying to console said, he still looked handsome! Varsha said 'some bald men look really good' (or words to that effect!). Bobby, I am sure is very happy!

I recall that the standard epithet for the man of …