One of the concerts I looked forward to very much this trip was in Mysore on Dec 17, 2013, organized by the JSS Sabha. It was billed as a 'moonlight' concert and happens only on the full moon of every month at the well-known Suttur Matha
My husband and I reached Mysore on the morning of the concert. The temperature was considerably cooler than even the very pleasant Chennai weather. Not that we're not used to cold weather, living in a place like Philadelphia, but there is something very different about the 'coldness' of Indian weather - the combination of humidity and all the dust, perhaps.
Anyway, Mysore is a place I have fallen in love with all over again these last few years. It has retained its quaint charm, and the people, all their old world hospitality and warmth. I was happy to be back there for the third December in a row. An old friend picked us up and took us to the Matha. I typically do not ask for much by way of comfort - any spartan place will do as long as it is clean. Imagine my surprise when we landed in a beautiful place, surrounded by lush greenery, maintained perfectly in the almost-forgotten Indian organic/eco-friendly style. The rooms were certainly more than spartan, and was right by the concert venue, the temple tank, below the Devi temple! A handful of people at the Matha attended to our every need throughout the day. We quickly showered and decided to take a walk around this lovely place and take in the sights and sounds that we cannot take for granted anymore in the Indian cities! A little walk away, we were greeted by the sight of two baby elephants being bathed, quite unwillingly. We also saw a lot of Indian deer and heard the chirps of all the birds we associate with India. The morning couldn't have been spent any better!
After a perfectly prepared lunch with friends, I got back to the Matha to get ready for my program that was scheduled to start at 6pm sharp. Come dusk, the 'coldness' which had dissipated earlier was settling on us again like a wet blanket! The stage, facing west, overlooked the steps leading to the water tank, and the audience sat all around the tank, on the steps, and above, in the gardens. The place was huge and even though the audience was spread out, it was obvious that a sizeable number of people had come to listen to us.
I was very enthused and inspired by my surroundings. My team of accompanists, Aditi Krishnaprakash, Shivashankara Swamy and Bhargava Halambi, on the violin, mridangam and kanjira, matched my enthusiasm completely, and we happily presented the following songs:
8. Dashavatara Mangala - Madhyamavati - Adi - Purandaradasa
Even though my percussionists and I met for the first time, we immediately established a very good rapport. Aditi and I have teamed up earlier. Overall, it was a cheerful stage and we were able to give our best as a team. Based on the response, the audience and organizers also seemed to have enjoyed the concert very much.
Before I sign off, I have to share a couple of funny things. One was that I had actually forgotten how the lush vegetation also comes with a rich insect habitat! There were tons of insects of all kinds flying around us. One even landed on my lip during a kalpanaswara round and it was quite a challenge to get it out of there! I was however thankful that it didn't venture any further than that! The other thing was that I was so totally anticipating a real moonlight concert, but for various reasons, we only performed a tube-light concert, even though the full moon was visible behind the trees! :)
Here are some pictures and a couple of video clips of the trip.