Monthly Archives: July 2013

the workings of a kutcheri


how lovely it is to hear kalyani at 8 p.m. — an anytime raga

the singer was a student of the late dr. mlv, and i am a great great fan of dr. mlv.

the singer, a dr. shubha ganesan, sang a beautiful kriti on the Goddess … and i was flowing along with the music, moving in to dreamland with the kalpanaswaras and getting caught up in the harmony that i could even ignore the overpowering smell of ghee and sambar from the neighbourhood…

i was so so moved mostly because her father played the mridangam, and was such a perfect accompanist — i think that is the best thing you can do for a daughter… is to play second fiddle, when she’s taking the lead.

and as i hunted out videos on youtube i THINK i may have arrived at my only hercule poirot moment in my whole life.

this is dr. shubha ganesan in an interview…


this is dr. mlv singing and i have a hunch that the girl playing the tanpura in that video may be dr. shuba ganeshan…


anyone who can prove i am right. or am i off the mark.

who said yoha


this is a rant.

my grandfather learnt exercises from T. Krishnamacharya for over 15 years.

Krishnamacharya stands for the k, in the krishnamacharya yoga mandiram. bks iyengar, pattabi jois and many of the nouveau experts have followed the acharya teachings and methods

krishnamacharya was the man who used taught and tailor-made asanas to heal and strengthen the body. He taught my grandfather pranayama and breath control. grandfather was able to HAPPILY live with psoriasis, epilepsy and weak lungs — because he practised twice a day the techniques taught by his teacher.

next is ma. also a student of krishnamacharya. she had polio when she was a baby; when she was an adult she learned asanas from the acharya to tone her feet and hands an body — and she was able to safely deliver one baby girl in 1978 — namely me.

a grateful ma, requested Krishnamacharya to give the baby a name- and so he did– and i get my offline name from the acharya.

so with all this background whirling — we are a little clued in about patanjali and his thoughts.

[ i can sit in padmasana for half an hour. ma does pranayama twice a day and rarely gets colds. grandfather used to be doing the headstand [sheershasana] when i dropped into visit him ]

i remember that grandfather used to froth at the mouth when anyone said ‘are you doing yoga’.

NO, he used to thunder, it’s an asana. it’s only one eighth of what is really yoga …

and he would launch into an explanation – of the other 7 parts of yoga…

yama, he said, which had ethical standards like truthfulness and non-covetousness

niyama, he said, which included cleanliness and surrender to God

asana, which he thundered, is being mistaken for yoga. the battery of exercises like padmasana, vajrasana, sarvangasana

pranayama or breath control

pratyahara or cultivating a sense of detachment

dharana or concentration

dhyana – meditation

and samadhi — a stage of transcending the self

all these yoked together make yoga, he would say.
a person who was learning yoga would necessarily have to follow all the limbs of what it means to do yoga

cut to 2013

one eager mum asked the principal of firstborn’s school to have ‘yoga’ included in the curriculum. the principal declined saying there were injuries from the last time when it was not taught correctly. and without a great and watchful instructor there is no point going ahead…

[awesome. i thought to myself quietly. but it’s not yoga … it’s asana]

my niece has a thigh swelling everytime after her school yoga class. her mum was thinking of bringing it up to the yoga teacher. [not yoga teacher, i thought to myself quietly — asana teacher]

and my friend b, was telling me that her health took a beating after a yoga retreat for 10 days in south india. instead of making her stronger it did the very opposite… she confided in me. she later found herself vulnerable to a serious health issue when she resumed work after the retreat. [an asana teacher isnt a yoga teacher, i thought quietly]

only when i heard an ‘expert’ pronoucing it as ‘yoha’ on the radio did i really sit down and key this 500 word long piece. read it at leisure… and be careful where you sign up to learn asanas.

yoga is a different plane of thought, transcending thought. asanas are exercises for the body.

days in a month


firstborn and his class were talking about how the days of a year are divided into a calender — quotidien, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly etc
the teacher explained —

daily is for newspapers

monthly is payday

weekly is time for a new issue of a magazines

and it was firstborn’s turn to give his teacher an answer…

”what are the things that happen in a fortnight,” his teacher asked.

”ekadasi,” he said. ”my mum fasts once in every 15 days.”

[sigh. i once thought i’d have a private blog to silently chronicle my fasting … ]

did you see this. number 3 is my favourite.

last week the mighty mlv was singing on the all india radio. i havent heard any morning concert after that. everyone else seems to be floaty pretender in comparison…

chennai conundrum


that’s the thing with living in chennai, you spent most of your time being puzzled…

which should i choose given the two chikkis.


i feel the marketer is trying to tell me something , because he has in parantheses the word [nice]

makes sense…

which would you prefer

1. a blog or a nice blog
2. a car or a nice car
3. a poonal cake or a nice poonal cake [ still hvnt gotten over the previous post]
4. a nap or a nice nap [i’d like one of both]

but the adj helps in decision making…

and we bought the chikki that said ‘nice’ groundnut chikki.

and as we bit into the niceness, the truth overpowered us like the jaggery and peanut crumbling in our mouths.

nice stood for நைஸ்…

which is tamil cookbook jargon for finely powdered peanuts.

misleading advertising, what.

i’ll write a strongly worded missive to the advertising council after i finish this chikki. this nice chikki.