lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nine gems

"pancha ratnas, he wants from me, " I smiled as I finished reading. "saadhinchenE O manasaa," I sang too. I admit I giggled and sniggered also. Five gems, he wanted.

"What is this about," he inquired. I explained that a famous blogger tagged me. "He wants you to write about the pancha ratnas?" he asked incredulously. "Is he a classical music buff? You only play one in its entirety, the rest you can only play snatches."

There are several versions of the five gems. The absolute five gems in Indian folk wisdom are diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies and emeralds (which tells you that you should take ancient wisdom with a pinch of salt, as pearls are organic after all, oh but they are precious, ah well).

There are other major things that come in fives, too. The five elements, the five colours, the five virgins (I refuse to talk further about them), the five senses of body and mind, the five lives, the five divisions of almanacs, the five metals… you get the drift.

I agreed with my husband, though. But when tagged to do anything that added up to five, I can count that high, thank you very much, my first thought is always Tyagaraja. The five brilliant encyclopaedic kritis in the five ghana ragas, the very definitions of how to render and develop them. True, I only learnt one of the five formally from a teacher. The Sri, endarO mahaanubhaavulu, but I picked up the others. There are notations in various books, there are renditions by artists, and there are recordings of the Aradhana Festival group singing to follow. You can learn them easy. I used Balamurali as my guide, but I never got around to learning VaraaLi. It always seemed beyond me.

But this is different. The big shot blogger tagged me to a five-fold post.

The rules of the tag are as follows. Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like). Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

Now this is an invitation to go through my archives, wallow in my blog and inflict my favourites on poor unsuspecting readers all over again. Who am I to refuse?

Family: in my career of two years of blogging, I must have mentioned my family once or twice. I don’t make a big deal about them like mommy bloggers or other personal bloggers, but I do talk about my family, because that defines me too. This post of mine gives an insight into that.

Friends: I did talk about the art of making friends, the effort of keeping them, and the heartache of losing them too. I was a victim of parental disapproval when it came to making friends in school or college, and it tainted me. But I did make friends, and odd sort of friends, too.

Yourself: this was a toughie. The one time I presented myself naked and defenseless was when I wrote this post. It is the most honest thing I wrote.

Your love: ah, here I get an embarrassment of riches in choice, but I confine myself to just two posts. I once bragged that Araucaria loved me. He read the post and wrote and told me he did, so there. Though I did not have many readers then, or any feedback, I rather like this post I did about my career of reading.

Anything you like: see, asking for it, he was. But since I am a nice and harmless middle-aged person, I am confining myself to giving you links to some posts that I really enjoyed writing. I hated it when broadband died and so I moaned about it. I used to froth at the mouth about trees and environment too. My first ever rant on the blog was a major moment, too; people gaped in astonishment that nice Missus Em can be nasty, but there were times when I surpassed myself.

You say that is ten? I said I could count up to five reliably. After that, it gets murky. So sue me.



Blogger neha vish said...

Oh! This was lovely - to be able to meander through your older posts. Am suddenly reminded that I do indeed know you for a long time in blog-years.

11:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VaraaLi is tough, isn't it? They do say it should not even be taught..

I loved the post on Chittibabu. Like another commenter Raj, my earliest childhood memory of Chittibabu involved his "Musings of a Musician" cassette. I still fondly remember the "Fond Memories" and "Wedding Bells" tunes.

12:40 am  
Blogger anantha said...

Lali! FAMOUS BLOGGER?? BIG SHOT BLOGGER?? The mind boggles and the gut retches!

Ayyo! You have exposed me to universal ridicule only! I'll have to go to the actual big shots and apologize for even putting myself into a position where someone could term me that. I hope they are in a forgiving frame of mind today.

But having said that, nice set of posts. Will check them tonight to see if I have read them all :)

1:44 am  
Anonymous WA said...

universal ridicule? - lol, so true though anantha.

4:52 pm  
Blogger Kshama said...

Nice post. I liked the post on missing Tamil in Calcutta. Can identify myself with that.

5:23 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Neha- Yes indeed, we've known each other for a long while as blogging time is counted, and what pleasure it accorded me, knowing you- ah.

Lekhni- Hi. varaaLi isn't tough as such, I taught myself a couple of varnams as prelude to learning the kriti, even. But there is a superstition that any teacher who teaches the mode directly to a student will lose the student. So they used to learn by eavesdropping as the teacher, ahem, practiced, or something like that.

And thanks, I cherish my time with Chittibabu. I loved and worshipped the man.

Anantha- The mind boggles. If you aren't a well-known blogger, I had better resign myself to be a microscopic organism on 'an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea'.
I bask in reflected glory only, no. And alas, Mama has left for better things, but thanks all the same.

WA- Come on, cut the lad some slack, willya?

Kshama- Ah, which languages do you miss and pine for? Do tell.

10:39 pm  
Blogger Kshama said...

Reminiscence of my childhood is marked with packed suitcases and trucks waiting to board to the next destination. We travelled a lot thanks to my parent’ s job and it was fun. Every place we would end up with small discoveries, seeking familiar pastures and retaining a sense of linguistic identity. In Mumbai, we lived in a colony of Tamilians and kept in touch with Tamil through Kalki, Kumudams, Bharathiyar songs. Hyderabad we enjoyed sundara Telugu and when I just about managed a full sentence conversation with maids and vendors, we shoot off to Trivandrum and Bangalore. Every place, we would end up fending for Tamil books, songs, people. Now when Iam back in Chennai, I heave a sigh of familiarity. It’s a feeling that Iam back home.

That was as long as blog. Sorry for the lengthy ramble, still haven’t mastered the art of conveying in short and crisp sentences.

10:40 am  
Blogger Rimi said...

I'm astonished at astonishment that Lali's extremely entertaining occasional nastiness causes. She's better when she's worse, is what I've always maintained... aren't you now, Missus Em? ;-)

9:29 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Kshama- Ouch, that demands a whole post, I tell you.

Rimi- When she is good, she is good; when she is bad, she is brilliant, eh? You and me both darling.

11:32 pm  

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