This morning, 10 of us, mainly family, swooped down on Gnanambika Jayaraman, that peerless God of the gastric juices (to rob Wodehouse of a line). It being just around 8.00 am, the canteen was empty and we were given the best of service.

Idlies, whiter than jasmine and light as feathers, pongal swimming in ghee, vadai as only grandmother made them, enormous dosais that were crisp as the old paper stored in The Mail’s archives…sambar and three chutneys (rather patriotically green, white and amber) to go with the above. And then, coffee – dark as night, sweet as love and as hot as hell as MS Subbulakshmi’s Sadasivam liked it. O Jayarama, others abide our question, thou art free as Mathew Arnold wrote of Shakespeare. And all this with the old service still intact.

But…and there is always a but. The left hand side sink for washing hands had just received last evening’s waste. And as we walked in, the manhole cover to the drain was just being closed. Can these please be done before daybreak?


From the NGS I walked to the Music Academy to witness the lec dem on the music of the Koodiyattam done by a Kalamandalam troupe. With a mizhavu for accompaniment, some great magic was demonstrated. The tunes were basically vedic and the beats Misra cApu and Adi. A quick visit to the Karnatik Music Book Centre, just for the love of Krishnamurthy and Balu (though neither of them is involved anymore. Balu is happily going strong, bless him) and I discovered that Dr V Raghavan’s complete writings on music have been brought out in three volumes. So I bought it in a hurry before I had time to think of what Sarada would say. Having hastily shoved the purchase into the car boot it was off to office.

In the afternoon, dropped in for a while to listen to Sumitra Vasudevan at the Academy. She is technically flawless. But why such a sparse crowd for this peerless performance? The artiste needs to perhaps introspect on this. But may she never dilute her art. Had to leave halfway thanks to an office call and heard the rest of the concert from the canteen. Had idlis and half a cup of coffee. Mediocre at best but my loyalty to the Academy makes me silent. Conversation in canteen was chiefly with committee with the addition of Aruna JJ from New Jersey. Topic was what made Veena Dhanam and Brinda Muktha great, even though they had only 40 or 50 people in their concerts. Aruna could even identify by name 20 of the 40 attendees. Sadly had to miss Vijay Siva’s concert owing to a prior commitment.

Opened the V Raghavan books. That man was a genius and was dedicated to research. The books a joy. But they have been bound together with what smells like dead rat gut. The stench from the Study unbearable. I am sure Sarada will find out by the morning. Anyway she always does, sooner or later.