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Friday, April 01, 2016


Such inanities don't even deserve to be blogged, but if ever the lay fans of Bollywood start believing in them, it can become a veritable mockery of the medical profession and can also lead to undesirable consequences. So, in the interest of many, I wish to present two such myths, as also the reality behind the actual medical condition, as comparative videos. Have fun!

Heart Attack and the real Medical attention required:

Brain Transplant and the reality of the operation:

Friday, March 04, 2016

Carnatic Music - PHRASEOLOGY

Using a musical tradition I salivate over, as a punch bag to satiate my satire, does not behoove of my unabashed adulation of it and its masterly exponents.  Yet, I am unable to resist my urge to blog on the blatant misuse of Sanskrit-ized terminology to describe certain prima facie assumptions about the characteristics of a performer.  Two such words flash immediately across the minds of all well-meaning rasikas - MANODHARMA of a vocalist and SARVALAGHU of a mridangist.

These two are indeed as elusive as spotting a spotted Indian Deer (Chital) in the lush Gir sanctuary, not withstanding the Lions that somehow spot them for their meal time. Even the word "hackneyed" becomes a cliche ruminating on these two exotic phrases. If there is anyone who understands completely what these two phrases actually mean (not merely signify) and convince me about it as well, I will feel very honored to have them vent their manodharma in all its sarvalaghu glory on this blog, for an entire year.

I can begin to sense your reader frustration at this point.  Without further ado, let me try to think through the phrase, Manodharma.  I have the following possibilities for it:
  • We are descendants of Manu, hence we follow Manu Dharma which is Manodharma
  • It is a wrongly pronounced word from Hindi, not Sanskrit, which splits as Maano Dharma (accept the Path of Virtue)
  • It is a wrongly pronounced word from Hinglish or Engdi, split as Mono Dharma or the "only path of virtue" which could ignite an accidental fratricidal war of all world religions
  • It is a misnomer for Manokalpitha or Manorachitha or Manoranjitha, any of these aptly summing up what the vocalist actually does, pleasurable improvisations to the music
If you picked the last one, I am on your side.  So much for my mano-log(ue). 

Now let's attempt to see what can be helped about our understanding of Sarvalaghu.  I will indeed be very glad to have this phrase change to "Sarva Raghu", which means everywhere you hear mridangam played, reminisce the maestro "Raghu Sir".  This way atleast, it would make some sense. The generic understanding about Sarvalaghu is that it is somewhat opposed to kaNakku playing. I am not sure about the reason behind the piNakku for kaNakku, but so long as the playing maNakkuthu, anyone would ask "unakku yenna kavalai?"  Gees, I am metamorphosing into another Vijaya TR. For the lay however, Sarvalaghu is that non-intrusive, unobtrusive, inclusive and progressive melodious mridangam accompaniment of a vocalist's Manodharma, per the definition of most mridangists.  The "enlightening" article that delineates Sarvalaghu versus kaNakku is here.

Summarizing, which mridangist will you term as playing Sarvalaghu versus kaNakku oriented?  Or is it at all a myth to think one style opposed to, or over another?  Is not a sunaadha sangeetha vaadhyam like mridangam to be played in either style as appropriate to the occasion, mood and "manodharma"?

It is indeed quite pathetic to see an unbroken lineage of misphrasing continuing to be glorified by ill-informed zealots.  Unless Carnatic musicologists consciously do a U-turn on such absurdities and focus on their strengths that have always been - precocious mastery over their chosen art and cautious abhorrence to quick publicity of their intellectual pomposity, credulity such as these will continue to haunt them instead of the jaunts their blissful rasikas can enjoy whenever a "real" musician ascends the kutcheri dais to sing.  Om Thath Sathguru Thyaagaraaja Swamine Namaha!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January - A month to remember

For most people on this planet, January 1 is a sort of clock reset to yet another year of promises, hopes, celebrations and planning. To some it may even be a time to ponder and look back at the losses in the previous year. To the Krishnaswamy family, it is a whole month of mute remembrance about a tower of strength that was snatched away by fate's cruel hands a few years back.

Every year as January marches to its Ides (look up Julius Caesar), most Indians eagerly anticipate the onset of Makara Sankranti, the northern sojourn of our Sun, as DakshiNaayana gives way to Uttaraayana.  Tamilians especially engage in repainting their homes, stack sugarcane and fresh harvest to celebrate Bhogi, Pongal and Maattup-Pongal (and KaaNum Pongal) in that order. Most Ayyappa devotees are ready to have a darshan of the divine Makara Jyothi on the Kaanthamalai hill.

But one family dreads to tread the 16th because it brings to their tearful memories two great men in their lineage - a prophet of a maternal grandpa and his gifted son-in-law, both born the same day only 30 years apart, as if perchance they were destined to become intertwined as guiding lights to their families. And both equally imbued with a contrasting nature of being fiercely orthodox and nonchalantly maverick at once.

Pudukkottai K. Srinivasa Raghavan, a lawyer by profession, has never been a stranger to God. He journeyed through a lifetime of upheavals with unswerving devotion, hand in hand with his favorite deity, Lord Srinivasa of Saptagiri Hills. And narrated to us simpletons of his extended family, through magically appearing golden letters in his left palm, the wonderful acts of God's mighty creation and other abstruse philosophies that have been recorded only on handwritten notes☹. It is now a good 28 years since he departed, but the notes still stand as a testament to his glorious dictations from God.

The other man, inscrutably lovable to all his relatives and admirers was, and continues to be our lives' daily blessing and other-worldly light of wisdom. Sarukkai Kumandoor Parthasarathy Krishnaswamy (aka KANNAN aka Partha Krish) is still alive through his timeless musings in Bodhimaram and My Early Days, blogs that showcase two aspects of his eventful life. A humble but brave man, he achieved a graceful greatness simply by not pursuing it relentlessly. The 2015 Chennai flood is a reminder of his exemplary role as Chennai/Chengalpattu District's flood officer, preventing a near certain disaster of Chennai drowning in 1976 from a overflowing Chembarambakkam Lake.

On a less sober note, presented here are a medley of songs that were dear to his heart (the two visible videos are on the same krithi "Krishnaswamikku Sari Evare?", which my mom supposedly sung during her 'PeNN paarkum padalam' impressing her would-be as he was himself an able singer and connoisseur of Carnatic Music):

Sunday, June 14, 2015

OBITUARY: Sri. MelapaaLayam Jagannatha VIJAYARAGHAVAN, Coimbatore, TN

It is with deep remorse and impalpable grief that India Pundit mourns the sudden demise of our beloved patron Sri. MelapaaLayam Jagannatha Vijayaraghavan, Senior Partner of M/s Jagannathan and Vishwanathan, Chartered Accountants in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. He was 84. He is survived by his wife Smt. Vijayalakshmi, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter in Coimbatore and his daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Chennai.

He was previously ailing from multiple organ failure and had a close brush with death five years back. But the brave warrior that he was, he came back to life like a phoenix and lived to recount that experience.

A benevolent, cheerful, humorous, kind and endearing father figure within our family, and a direct uncle to me, he lived a "larger than life" life. As a religious couple, my aunt and uncle were the patrons to many a charities and highly regarded by the Coimbatore denizens. He was also the Rotary Club President for a while. He hails from the illustrious MelapaaLayam family and his father Sri Jagannatha Iyengar was himself a community leader.

As another banyan tree falls within our family, we are still attempting to absorb the shock of that event. Even as we continue to experience the vacuum he has left in us, we are fervently hoping his fond memories will temporarily fill that void till, by God's grace, a reunion does happen to the rejoicing of one and all that know Sriman MJV intimately, and are his family, friends and admirers.

An article on his association with Bapu, from The Hindu newspaper: Gandhiji's Letter

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

EXPOSE: The Kiss of Death

I meant to veer into more productive and interesting posts, but somehow this series had to be finished first. With due insincere apologies, therefore, I continue witch-hunting the subversiveness that is eating at the very vitals of India.

It is already a sorry spectacle that we have begun to live in morally perilous times. Mumbai, notorious for its youthful callousness to Indian culture right from the days of the streaking Protima Bedi, feministic Femina/Shobha De, and magazines like Star Dust, Cinema and Debonair to boot, has always whet the vagrant appetites of the spoiled rich and wannabe social elites. Now, the flagstaff to this trendsetter city is the advent of loud mouth propagandists who are stand-up comedians of the new doom generation. Even considering their ill-informed irreverence be met with a stoic smile because of the comedic license, their supporting view point is nothing to smile about, given the variety of video vignettes below, showcasing a society careening headlong without a brake (or even a break!) into a precipice of no return.

Someday if this post were to be read, if at all by any of those loose cannons, I believe they would either scoff and dismiss it as a sheer waste of time or make further spoofs to sell their wares to an ever increasing debased fan-base. But that's understandable in a changing milieu where the defiant stand of the youth is underlined strongly in the terms "live in relationship" and "sexual freedom". Looks like the 60s baby boomer generation effect of USA is making a comeback in India for all the wrong reasons. And even if, is bound to have similar repercussions.

I would like to believe that you may be an illustrious example of a sizable readership who are still entrenched in the vibrant values of yore and nurture a secret longing to see it take roots in today's India. I sincerely wish to prod your conscience and garner your sympathetic vote, by presenting uncouth facets of our ailing Indian society. I also like to aver that I am not the new moral police on the block, nor have any intentions to infringe on genuine individual freedom. But responsible freedom, that is a totally different ballgame. Sadly, a far cry for the lost among the Indian youth.

Monday, May 25, 2015

EXPOSE: Debasing Tamil Culture

I meant to add (if any left) to the post's title, but that would have made it long, and redundant too.

It is said in almost every meaningful scripture across the cultures of the world that when depravity takes over most of humanity, the end will come about quite suddenly.

It is indeed pathetic to see that the once glorious Tamil culture is now slowly being debased through a steady decline in moral values and eclectic pursuits like gentle performing arts, valorous martial arts, uplifting music and outstanding literature. It is being replaced with the most ugly facet of rottenness that every culture dreads would lead to its ultimate demise. Tamil Nadu is no exception!

I used to quip lightheartedly that "DK started all of this decay" by turning an intellectually superior, morally strong culture into a mere paper tiger. But then came the films, and the societal breakdown took an even deeper nose-dive. All of the videos you will see below are stellar examples of that demeaning influence of Tamil films. Some of the actions that you see in these performances are small exaggerations of what you get to see on the silver screen.

I am not sure if we will ever regain the glory that was once the Tamil that spread across continents, or get to see the brave men and women who would bend a coin with their hands and drive a tiger away with a mere muram.  All of this will continue to remain in the distant past!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

EXPOSE: Whitherto Ye Moral Beacon?

What can you tell a patient who is in grave danger of certain death because of rotting from the inside? Especially if it is your own mother-land?

I am sure there would be pointers and evidences to the contrary, but the scar left by the Delhi Rape incident will stay forever in India's psyche as a grim reminder that we have lost our way and meandered from being the once moral beacon-light of this world.

I will not indulge in a boring cycle of "upadesha"s to what is now merely a "upa-desha". Enough to state that this once mighty and noble "desha" is dying from a cancerous wasting disease far worse than it had faced during its subjugation by the Mughals and then by the British. I will let the remaining god-fearing and righteous hearts of India decide how we wish to go about cleansing India and making her whole once again:
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