Archive for December, 2008

The Agony and the Ecstasy


Gingee, December 8, 2008: 16:54.13. That is what the digital display of the watch said and no, it didn’t mean 4:54 P.M. This was the duration – approximately 17 hours – for the annual 73 km walk from Pondicherry to Gingee Fort undertaken by students, ex-students, and faculty and sports instructors of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education at Pondicherry. We began at 1:30 P.M on ‘just another lazy Sunday afternoon’, and reached Gingee Fort on Monday morning at around 6:30, having walked through the night!

Early on, it seems like a cake-walk

Early on, it seems like a cake-walk

This Gingee walk is neither a pilgrimage nor is it a walk or a campaign for an espoused cause, it is a walk to test one’s mental and physical endurance by doing something challenging. Those who think that the whole concept is freaking crazy, are right too because when it comes to this walk the hendiatris is ‘Challenging, Freaking, Crazy’ much like ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ is for the Olympics. I asked my cousin to join me in this endeavour and he said, “2000 years of evolution of the wheel, the motor and mechanised transport have not taken place for me to take part in this prehistoric walk! If I want to get from Pondy to Gingee I’ll take the bus.” (more…)


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CHENNAI, Dec 2: Chennai was treated to some uplifting music when Shankar Mahadevan, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Sivamani, Selva Ganesh, and U.Srinivas performed at the University of Madras auditorium as part of the Heart Beat Concert organised by the Times of India. 

Before the programme the audience stood up and observed a minute’s silence in memory of those who suffered the terrorist strikes in Mumbai last week. The concert was also dedicated by the musicians to a common friend and colleague, sound engineer H. Sridhar, who passed away in the city on Monday.

Sivamani, Selva Ganesh, U. Srinivas, Shankar Mahadevan and Ustad Zakir Hussain

From left to right: Sivamani, Selva Ganesh, U. Srinivas, Shankar Mahadevan and Ustad Zakir Hussain

 The concert opened with a Ganesh stuti by Shankar Mahadevan (vocal)  accompanied by U.Srinivas (mandolin). The piece began with a short alaap before its tempo rose steadily as Mahadevan and Srinivas performed an intricate jugalbandi. As they neared the climax, they were joined by Ustad Zakir Hussain (tabla), Sivamani (drums, percussion), and Selva Ganesh (kanjira). It was as if two underground streams were rushing side by side, flirting with one another, joining here, splitting there until they finally merged and erupted forth from the ground in a fountain of crescendo that ended abruptly leaving nothing but echoes – and a spellbound audience drenched to the bone with music.    (more…)

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