I never expected my calendar to be highlighted by festivals like Sivarathri and Rama Navami! Festivals I did not do much about, for they did not require much activity in the kitchen – unlike Sri Krishna Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi. Both these festivals meant a lot of work preparing the special offerings (‘neivedhyam’) to Krishna or Vinayakar.
But how much work is really required to make ‘paanagam’ ( jaggery dissolved in water, and flavoured with crushed cardamom and dried ginger powder), ‘neer moru’ (salted buttermilk with curry leaves and crushed asafoetida) to offer Sri Rama! Or observe a fast for Siva!
This year however these two events marked a special – our group Gangamritham singing at temples.
Last week on Rama Navami, April 3, we sang at the Raja Annamalaipuram Karpaga Vinayaka Temple. The temple is well maintained and an aura of sanctity pervades it. There are other deities here apart from Sri Siddhi Buddhi Samedha Sri Karpaga Vinayakar. We were able to witness the abhishekam and evening pooja at all the sannidhis before starting to sing.
Our guru Ganga had taught us a good collection of songs on Rama. She had also painstakingly taught us verses from Tulsidas’s Sri Rama Charita Manas, set to music by her guru, which encapsulated the Ramayana, in different raagams and thaalams. This was to be the highlight.
For the first time, we had a proper stage (albeit small) to sit on and sing. We were introduced individually! (See picture) And we had a bigger audience than usual, all seated comfortably on chairs (this included my mother, my sister-in-law and my recalcitrant husband, who shocked my friends by putting in an appearance). The audience was appreciative, applauding at the end of each song. Our accompanists for the day were Harini on the violin and Umayalpuram Kalyanasundaram on the mridangam. We missed Vidya and Padmini - two of our group who could not make it.
Since a couple of my regular reader friends had requested me for a recording, here is a very brief one. I requested a friend to take the video on the camera.
The picture is not good, you tell me how it sounds.