Category: CHENNAI

“a soliloquy”

(picture credit: https://www.unsplash.com)

photo-1441128754183-d2d4d36fb622

crystal clear sand, reflecting lines of someone in seated posture.

in the background, a bunch of college girls laughing their heart out,

surrounded by a community of frisbee enthusiasts playing a nail biting match,

filled with bell sounds created by a peanut seller,

the setting almost felt surreal with a three-fourth moon overhead and a distant ocean that smelled very different,

the blue lit roller coaster ride,
the fire sparks emitted through heating a corn,
the horse rider,
the hand in hand, shoulder on shoulder couple,
the jogger,
the walker,
the crawler,
the balloon seller,
the chai wala,
the future predictor,
the murphy dog (I just named it),
and everything that always existed.

but, all of this, this time, felt like a new place since the usual visits never gave room for so much details,

let’s call this person, ‘ a person’.
who wished for many a things amidst this experience,
but, blended with the moment of silence,

because that’s beautiful too, right?

🙂

Another 366 days will roll by.

2011 was pretty quick. 365 days went by in a jiffy. Let me recollect what 2011 meant to me.

Some good memories –

  1. Was Awarded B Grade for Carnatic Classical Vocal Music from All India Radio
  2. Parents turned 50 this year
  3. Had a brilliant Summer Internship Experience with Hanmer MSL, Chennai
  4. Headed the Student Academic Forum (aka SAF), Council 2011-2012 at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune
  5. Parents 25th Wedding Anniversary also happened this year
  6. Bagged a Music Scholarship for a period of 2 years from Ministry of Culture, Government of India
  7. I am placed with ‘A’ company. Awaits my offer letter. (Will update soon about the company, profile, etc. as when it becomes official)
  8. My friends have been my biggest strength this year. Truly realized who my real friends are and I thank each and everyone who have done a lot for me without even asking and expecting.  Love you guys!

Some not-so-good ones –

  1. Passing away of my guru Sri Chingleput Ranganathan
  2. Some of my friends family losses deeply moved me and made me realize how life is never what you expect it to be. They really made me strong. Looking at their will power, I learnt not to crib about puerile things
  3. Everyone in the family has been going through rough times with respect to health and a few more losses.

Overall, 2011 has been a very challenging one for me personally. It has moulded me to a better person, I hope. This year has really taught me a lot with respect to life, respecting relationships, people, emotions, valuing time, and one’s health.

On this note, I look forward to an eventful and a better 2012. Have certain goals and vision for this year. Hope, I would accomplish the same with my best efforts.

Here’s wishing the entire human kind a very happy and prosperous new year 2012. Cherish every moment of your life, live it to the fullest, and never regret any of your decisions.

Regards and Love,

Swathi Ravichandran

Things one must do in Chennai



CHENNAI. Doesn’t this buzz a series of images in your mind? Chennai created a trend in our very own twitter recently: [http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23thingstodoinchennai]

From thoughts of Idly, Molaga-bhajjis, Temples, dusky traditional woman, Rajinikant, Cinemas, Black & Yellow Auto Rickshaws, Marina Beach, Pondy Bazaar shopping, and what not?

So, here we take you along with some “must things you should do” in Chennai when you visit this most beautiful city.

1. Take a walk along Marina to Elliot’s Beach
2. Watch Rajini movies in some local theatre with whistles and crowd
3. Visit Murugan idly shop at 10pm and still get hot idlis with 4 variety of chutneys
4. Scourge for a long forgotten book at Moor Market… trust me you’ll get it…
5. Have a quaint cup of coffee at Rathna Cafe
6. Squeeze through the crowd to get vegetables at Koyambedu
7. “Enjoy” the pulling and pushing at Ranganathan Street
8. Pay over Rs.200 for a ten minute Autoride
9. Read some ancient literature at Connemaara Library
10. Party on a hired boat at Muttukaadu Lake
11. Look out for an ancient yet sturdy buildings at Mint Street
12. Climb the Lighthouse at Marina
13. Wait in queue to get a plate of hot Puliyothare at Grand Sweets & Snacks
14. Go to Kapaleeshwar temple early in the morning and have kovil prasadam for morning’s breakfast
15. Spend 1000 bucks in Pondy Bazaar, T Nagar and get atleast 1000 things for the money you spend. Now, this is called Value-for-money!
16. Go for a Carnatic Concert during December and meet the cosmopolitan group flocking together at one place
17. Eat kadalai (Groundnut) and Molaga bhajji by the beach side
18. For fantastic non – vegetarian food go to Sparkies (American Chain) at Egmore! Awesome buffet on Friday nights
19. Go to Dublin, Paasha, Flames and those clubs & discos in the afternoon and party hard
20. Go for a long drive by the side of OMR and ECR
21. Bunk classes and go to Spencers/Citi Centre/ Express Avenue/ Alsa Mall/Mayajaal/Satyam Cinemas
22. Go foot-boarding in buses! It can’t be done anywhere in India…
23. Capture the Sunrise and Sunsets and other “lovable moments” 😀 at Broken Bridge
24. Munch on a Vada, fresh off the Vada-mala of the 32 feet tall Anjaneyar Statue at Nanganallur
25. Attend a marriage at any of the chathrams at Vadapalani
26. Attend the Vinayak Visarjan at Sowcarpet…
27. Relish a plate of Biriyani at Samco, TTK road
28. Take the MRTS from Velachery to Beach
29. Get Kuri josiyam done at the beach
30. Pig out on chat at Pupil or Chaat houses across the beach
31. Go shopping for cheap but good fabric at Fashion street, Egmore
32. Enjoy a game of bowling at BLUR as you wait for the movie!
33. Soak in various cultures at Dakshin Chitra
34. Relax and unwind at Casuarina Bay
35. For Fish lovers, freak out at Moonrakers!

LOVE

You are selfless. You are quite your unusual self. You are in bliss. You smile. You blush. You wanna express love in every possible way. You are in your ecstasy. You dream of all good things. You wish for beautiful things. You can drool over silly things and consider the most important things too. You love everything on the planet from a paper to be thrown in the dustbin to a stupidest forward message you receive on your phone. You aim to be at your poetic best when you feel love within. You listen to Raja Music 😉 or any romantic slow music. You sing half of them (forget about you know the song or not, but you start singing, however good or bad you are at singing :D). You are more strong. You wish to be pampered. You try to associate your feeling to someone. What if you don’t have anyone special in life? Well, you can still be in love. Love is not just holding your boyfriend/girlfriend’s hands and speaking all romantic stuff or anything on those lines, but love is an emotion. Love. Love. Love is in the air for me. I love this moment. I am quite enlightened maybe 😉

Today, Nov 7th 2010 is the JAL cyclone day. Quite struck at home because of continuous alerts on news channels stating the same news about the cyclone. So, I was quite by myself at home today. Parents were home too. It was a sweet day with parents. Teasing mum and dad, listening to sufi music, nature watching from window pane, enjoying the rain breeze, curling inside the blanket, is all love in my opinion. A day of enlightenment. A day of love. A day of expressing love. Spread love. Love is all that can change bad into good. Love is the mantra 🙂

~When we make the choice to fill our heart space with unconditional love, our worlds blossom into a beauty far greater than we have known.

VIJAYADASAMI DAY – A TRIBUTE TO MY TEACHERS

Well, let me begin with a funny cartoon that I came across relating a Music teacher and a student. 






October 17th 2010
Sunday

It was Vijayadasami day which is referred to as a day where students pay tribute to gurus. By doing so, they are letting one’s guru know how much they mean to their students.

To give an insight, Vijayadasami, is a day that follows the nine-day Navaratri festivities. This day celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. It’s the day of Vidyarambham, when students are introduced to the world of learning. And in Chennai, this learning is either in the form of music/dance classes. For few, its also art classes these days.

My Vijayadasami day is always special. Its usually been the same. But this time, I thought of my past and wanted to mention few of my teachers who made an impact in my life. My first guru had always been my mom “Amma” who started teaching me shlokas and kutti (small) songs when I was around 2 or 3 years. She would make me repeat whatever she sang and slowly I began to learn. Then, my thatha (my maternal grandfather) took over. Since then, thatha had struggled a lot to make me what I am today as a vocalist. He bestowed all he could so that he could see me as one of the finest Carnatic Musician. This has always been his dreams. Thatha and the guru form in him never really complimented well. As a guru, he is definitely very strict and I respect him for whatever he is. As thatha, he is the best. Also, he has associated himself with promoting compositions of Saint Sri Narayana Theerthar. I wish to fulfill his dreams in the near future as a Carnatic Vocalist (of good standard) and help him with organizing music festivals and letting the world know more about Sri Narayana Theerthar.

Later, my music learning expanded to violin. I began with violin when I was almost 7 years but with all possible breaks, I would have changed atleast 7-8 gurus until I fixed with Akkarai Sri Swamynathan. Akkarai Sir, as he is fondly called by me, is truly inspiring. He is gem of a teacher and a person too. Never have I seen a person who had been selfless in helping others. He is a genuine human being I have come across in my life. I have had my share of experiences with him as a student, a family friend, a well wisher, a daughter at times and so on. It just didn’t stop with Sir, but, continued with both his daughters namely Akkarai S Subbulakshmi and Akkarai S  Swarnalatha (Akkarai Sisters) aka Sudha akka & Latha akka. I have shared a special bonding with both akkas. I have been like their little sister(at times an irritating one too). Words are not enough to appreciate their playing and dedication to music. To me, both akkas are role models. Its so true to adopt people of your age as role models than any older person because, you can relate well with the younger people quite often. I have never told to Sudha akka that she inspires me in all little things I do even in my daily life. But yeah, she does. These days when I stay alone in hostel, I would think of how as a toddler Sudha akka would go alone for concerts abroad and in India and still hold her never give up attitude. She is extremely hard working and a perfectionist. To all of her incredible talent, sir polished her talent and made her what she is today. Well, a special mention definitely goes to Latha akka who according to me is the best teacher in the making. She understands my weaknesses and filters all complexities when it comes to music and literally spoon feeds me at times. She allows me to experiment after she feels I have understood the musical concepts. I once upon a time used to spend days together in their house. I do miss those days. Wish, I can start learning the same way with Sir and akkas and become a decent violinist as well a good musician in the years to come.

Finally, about Chingleput Sri Ranganthan Sir. He is one of the best music teacher a student can get. I was lucky that I am his student. Along with thatha, I started learning from Ranganthan sir too. One thing I like about him is that he understands the pressure a student goes through and encourages them to do well in their academics too. I have heard a lot of my friends stating that their music teachers are extremely strict and all of that. But CR sir is like a cool dude types (atleast to me). He expects you to sing well in his classes and if you do so, you have made his day. There are days when I would sing the Kalpana Swarams perfect and he would just bless me saying, “Avalavu thaane! Idhukku poi bayandhudu irukulaama?” meaning “That’s it! Don’t be scared for these simple things”. CR sir holds huge respect among all his students and he can be extreme fun in cracking  jokes to us about how some great Carnatic Musicians would converse in his days as a student.

I wish that all my gurus stay hale and healthy and live for a long time. I also wish that they forgive me for not continuing classes until 2012. And guess, I shall practice to my best of ability.

MADRAS DAY!




I miss Chennai at this juncture… Like really! I miss being home.. I miss my friends there.. I miss Kapaleeshwar temple.. I miss going to my music classes.. I miss the authentic idly sambhar..


I miss patti’s (grandmom’s) vada paayasam… I miss ela saapadu (food served on banyan leaf).. I miss driving on chennai roads… I miss marina beach.. I miss mount road.. I miss satyam.. I miss t nagar.. I miss besant nagar… I miss shopping in the road side shops..


I miss walking alone in the night without any fear in mind.. I miss travelling by bus.. I miss the carnatic concerts… I miss simply being at home watching those non-sensical tamil channels.. I miss everything that was close to my heart in Chennai.. 



To my home, to my land, to my love, to my Chennai on its birthday, A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.. 371 years young and you look more beautiful day by day! 🙂