Showing posts from September, 2010

Edward Lear at ‘The Summer Isle of Eden’

1874 – Calicut

In the previous article, I wrote about Collector Connolly, who was tragically murdered in 1855 by Moplah fanatics at the start of the Moslem revolts in Malabar, and I mentioned that 20 years later another famous man came to Calicut, and that it was another perumazhakalam, another monsoon when the rain came down in huge torrents. This famous writer and artist lived for some days at the Malabar Club (today’s Beach hotel premises). He looked at the sea, he sipped gin tonics, he read the Punch, he observed the populace streaming by, he wandered around Mananchira and rode bullock carts and he sketched and he wrote about them and the crows – ‘Ye crows of Malabar, What a cussed bore you are’ was a famous utterance. This person who spent that sojourn in Calicut was none other than Edward Lear.

Edward Lear as such does not need much introduction, for he is known as the king of limericks or what others term literary nonsense. Now if you wonder for a moment, for a person to think …

At Home

It has been a while now, and the experience of living in our own home has hit some 100 days and glad to report that we are enjoying it immensely. Finally, many of the small trinkets and stuff that had been lying in cartons and going back & forth across continents the last few years have at long last seen light and been arranged. My book collection or whatever is remaining have all been arranged and stacked and I sometimes stand in front of them and enjoy the sight, marveling at the art of writing and the results which are the pains of labor of the writer, the messages he tries to convey subtle or direct, resulting in books that survive generations.

The mind is slowly relaxing now that things are in their rightful place, sometimes I wake up a little early and I come down to make coffee and holding the mug ( In the US it is never a cup but a mug – pretty huge at that) of strong stuff (but nowhere near the taste of our filter coffee from down south) and look at some of the items in …

NottuSwara – Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s European airs

Carnatic music is more Greek than Greek and Latin put together for some people, dense stuff so to say, but many a mathematician understood classical music better (and as you know in early days it was Brahmins in the South and who excelled in Math and Carnatic music). The trick to all this is listening a lot and deciphering the code to music and for that you have to learn to use what is known as the Melkartha table. Anyway I am not going to get into all that, but my own understanding is slowly getting better after about 6 months of weekly Carnatic lessons as a small time member of a fascinating group. More about all that another day after I am better initiated, but today I will write about the lighter side of Carnatic if I may term it that, and a very interesting side.

First listen to this composition (I am not the singer) loosely based around Sankarabharana, then read the rest of the article. And at the start a big thanks to Aparna for introducing us to this number and me to this gen…