Friday, October 22, 2010

Have goose bumps on my body, hearing this song and Veena Sahasrabuddhe's 'taraana'!

Today morning at 7.30 a.m. I was hearing Sangeet Sarita programme in my kitchen radio (Vividh Bharathi). Hindustani classical singer, Veena Sahasrabudhe was discussing about 'taraana' in different raagas for the past few days. Today's raaga was 'Sohni'. In this programme, different artists discuss about raagas or raaga based film songs or some music directors would talk about their experiences. I had written some posts on this subject earlier too!

In this edition, Veena Sahasrabuddhe discusses about the raaga of the day and then sings for a few minutes. This raaga and the way she sang it, was so beautiful that I had goose bumps on my body. She is one of my favourite singer, she has the best voice and we can keep on hearing her for hours together. As I had said earlier, I can't understand raagas but love to hear them. As soon as she started singing, my husband came running and said this is 'maasila ulaga...' (Tamil version of Kuhu kuhu song). After the Taraana was over Veena quoted 'Kuhu kuhu' as Sohni raaga based song. She quotes one song per day, based on that day's raaga.

Though I have heard this song so many times before, I became very emotional today...Rafi and Latha have rendered the song so beautifully that my husband said that this song will stay for another one thousand years at least as a favourite one for many people. The Tamil version of the song also is very melodious.

The song is from film 'Suvarna Sundari', a 1957 movie. Music is by Adi Narayan Rao.

How do you feel now, after hearing this song? I had tears in my eyes! Now, I know why my grand mother was crying whenever she was hearing her favourite songs! Even if she was cooking in the kitchen which was not very near to the sitting room where our old Murphy radio was singing, she used to come running and sit near the door, hear the song, cry and then leave to continue her work! I remember her sons, my mamas teasing her as soon as 'her Rafi' started singing her favourite song...'nana athye aliyere suru ampuveru' (in Tulu), means 'now, amma will start crying'! I have started doing that now!

I was thinking that this song is in 'raaga maalika', i.e. 2-3 raagas are involved in this song. Does anyone know?

Edited to add on 8th Nov.'10: Shail has given the names of the ragaas used in this song in the comments section from a link, which says "This superb classical duet is based on four Ragas, one each for each stanza, Sohni (Hamsanandi), Bahar (Kanada), Juanpuri (Juanpuri) and Yaman (Yamuna Kalyani)."
Thank you, Shail!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our London Trip - Kew Gardens, the green heaven on earth!

We will never forget our visit to the Kew Gardens (Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew) during our trip to the UK. We felt as if we were inside a designer forest! The whole area was full of different types of trees everywhere, but very well maintained, it was green, green and green, everywhere!

The Kew Garden, is a very old garden maintained by the English Royal families for the past nearly 4 centuries! The history of the place is very very interesting...I have given the links from wikipedia.

They have battery operated cars to take us inside the gardens (40 mts.). We can go for a round first and then decide which area to spend more time.

The best place we liked at the garden, was Palm House, which houses rare plants from all over the world. The best is the Giant Water Lilly pond. The giant leaves at the pond, we saw there, were amazing! Have a look at the pond:

The Giant Waterlilies, Kew Gardens

This pond is quite huge. We took many photos of the pond, but I found this photo, which is displayed below, of a single leaf here in this link, The leaf looks like a plate with edges. You can see the veins also clearly...beautiful!

Giant Waterlilies - close-up of a leaf

All of us were fascinated by the size of the leaf. And then we saw one sample of the roots which spread under the leaf, upside down! We clicked! We were told that a mature leaf can support 45 Kg. if the load is evenly distributed - we can believe this after seeing the display of the roots here:

The beautiful network of roots, under the giant leaf!

More information about these Giant Waterlilies:

  • The enormous leaves, which grow to over 2.5m across, have a network of protruding ribs on the underside, which give the leaf buoyancy and stability.
  • The flowers are large and fragrant, but relatively short-lived, lasting only 48 hours or so. As each flower matures, it changes colour from white, through pink, to purplish-red, finally sinking below the surface.
Some more beautiful photographs of the leaves and flowers here:

The Lilly flower and the bud!

You can see the reflection of the roof in the water!

A lone leaf and a lone flower...!

The temperature is maintained according to the plants which are housed here, so it was a bit hot. All of us were clicking from all the angles!

I thought this Lilly pond needs one post...such a beautiful place which should never be missed by anybody who visits the U.K.

The full view of the pond is here. Click on it and you will be stunned by the beauty of the place!

This beautiful photograph of the Giant Waterlilly House was taken by David Iliff which shows a panoramic view of the house!

Let me write about the other attractions of the Kew Gardens in the coming posts with lots of photographs!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our Cultural Heritage shown beautifully at the NOW most talked about Common Wealth Games 2010 Opening Ceremony!

I am writing this post happily with goose bumps now, today after watching the Opening Ceremony of the 19th Common Wealth Games 2010, last evening (3rd Oct. '10). We heard so much bad news about the preparation for the CWG that everyone was scared to watch anything concerned with CWG! Every person, from the media - TV or newspapers, were so happily reporting about the flaws in the preparation of the venues for the CWG. It is always said that the 'negative news' reaches fast than the 'positive news' - this time, the whole world is awed by the way we showed how much we are capable of 'preparing' for the first step, 'Opening Ceremony', in a grand manner without a single flaw.

I and my family sat in front of the TV with a bored attitude to watch the Ceremony for sometime and then go to sleep, but we were in for a pleasant shock...we sat until the end of the ceremony!

We (our crowd at the stadium) gave proper welcome with applause when Prince Charles, his wife, our President, PM entered the Royal box. The faces of the other politicians were not shown much too! After Prince Charles read his mother Queen's message, I liked the way our President said in a loud voice declaring the 'games BEGIN'. She looks so timid and stern faced otherwise! Oh, I am happy, happy, writing this post and so everything looks happy, don't you think so?!

Our 'favourite' Suresh Kalmadi gave the welcome speech! While welcoming the guests, he mentioned about Dr.Abdul Kalam and the whole stadium roared and applauded happily...people seem to love him even now! And the claps were louder for Sheila Dixit too...I remember her saying in an interview that 'I will be blamed for everything which goes wrong in the CWG, even for the Delhi traffic jams'! When Kalmadi mentioned the name of Vajpayee, the crowd cheered! We are still a tolerant and friendly people....the world will know from the cheers we gave for the Pakistani contingent, when they entered the arena! The Australians, the British players and all the players from 71 Common wealth countries who participated in the march, were all happy, no one showed their unhappiness about anything, their stay here or the food or the treatment given to them.

The BBC : They have given the news like live commentary,

BBC Sport's Gordon Farquhar:

On Twitter: "England in costumes reflecting Indian dress, with red 'Nehru' style waistcoats over white collarless tops and white trousers." hahaha!

BBC further says:

'here comes the host India, to an extraordinary ovation from most of the 60,000-odd inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi. How they must have thought at times this moment would never come. Everyone's on their feet.'

"The Indian athletes looked like royalty in their smart traditional maroon tops with gold braided scarves. Slick and sensational," NDTV says!

Now, about the cultural events:

The main attraction of the event was the aerostat (helium balloon), measuring 40x80m which was in the air 25 m above the ground level. It reflected the events which was happening in the ground. The culturals started with Shankhnaad (conch sound) which is auspicious for us and the balloon slowly raised up. Then came the giant sized floating puppets...beautiful. It was nice to watch and slowly our interest too lifted up!

The shape of the center stage looked fantastic. It depicted the yagna kunda (where we make poojas)! The artists came out from a door beneath the stage!

Next came 'Rhythms of India' with drums (taal vaadhya or percussion?!) of different types like dhols, dholaks, tabla and drums, from different regions of India played by 800 drummers, Nagada tribals and chendai vaadhyam from Kerala. I must mention about the small boy, 7 year old Keshav, a miniature of Zakir Hussain, the Tabla Maestro, who happily drummed and captured the hearts of the people! When different types of drums played, the rhythms changed and the boy changed his rhythm accordingly with a bright smile on his face! Shall I say this was the best, no there was yet more to come!

The second part of the video shows 'Swaagatham' song, sung by Hariharan! The Delhi school children performed beautifully with smiling faces for this song. They formed two 'folded hands' as if saying 'Namaste' to the guests, on two sides of the stage along with bangles in their wrists!
Then, the children drew the figure of two palms with mehandi, on the white sheets, with the sound from the drummers, which is a 'shubh' symbol for us!


Now, the title of the next item was 'Tree of Knowledge', i.e. our 'Guru Shishya' tradition. The colour of the whole Nehru stadium changed according to the theme of the song alongwith the balloon colour. The whole programme was reflected in the balloon too. In this segment our country's different dance forms were shown as reflection of our seasons. For spring, Odissi (Orissa), for summer, Bharatnaatyam (Tamilnadu), for monsoon, Kathak (Bengal), for autumn, Manipuri (Manipur), for fall, Mohiniattam (Kerala) and for winter Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh). On the whole, around 500 dancers participated in this show, it seems. Great. After the last dance, a figure of Gautama Buddha emerges from the centre of the stadium. The cheers from the crowd was deafening...!

Don't miss to watch this video of the dances:

Then, came the world famous 'Pathanjali Yoga', which belongs just to our country! The children performed all postures of yoga - yoga mudras. Yoga is the best way to keep fit, esp. this is important for our sportsmen. The commentator explains about the 'kundalini' too. I noticed once again that all the children were cheerful throughout the was quite late at night and they didn't look tired too, amazing!
They must have been looked after well with love and affection throughout their training period!

The last but one segment was, 'The Great Indian Journey'. Our Indian Railway takes us to the rural India showing the day-to-day scenes of our villages, towns etc. They showed the milkmen riding around on bicycles, women carrying pots of water (Rajastani women with 5-6 pots on top of one another!), tea stalls, chaaiwala, rickshaw pullers, politicians in a white ambassador with 4-5 speakers (!), street circus, a wedding band, a bangle vendor, a village movie theatre with huge cutouts of our Bollywood actors. A Shah Rukh look-alike sings 'Chaiyya chaiyya chaiyya' song dancing on top of the train! They showed the Mumbai 'dabbaawala' too! And much much more...!

Don't miss to watch 'The tribute to Mahatma Gandhi - his Dandi yatra' (9th minute in the video). Some artists drew the 'dandi yatra' scene with their fingers on sand on a table. That was very beautiful! 'Vaishnava janato' song was heard in the background (flute - so peaceful sound!), followed by Indian folk dances.

The last segment was the theme song by our A.R. Rahman. We never saw any resemblance to films, Bollywood or Kollywood or Tollywood, throughout the ceremony, which is very rare, here, in India. The common notion is that nothing sells without the filmy connection, whether it is our festival or temple celebrations. The whole audience sat and watched the whole programme with full enthusiasm, which is unbelievable! The last song of Rahman had some touch of Bollywood and he sang 'Jai Ho!', which has become stale now and boring. All of us know that he has produced better songs than these two songs.

I was very very happy throughout this day, re-living the celebration of our Indian culture in the name of 'CWG Opening ceremony'! Hope you will not mind going through this long post! We watched the whole programme in DD national, which is very rare, nowadays!


Edited to add (5.10.10): This post is dedicated to the children/artists who performed so gracefully and wholeheartedly and to the teachers who trained them with dedication. Thank you!
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