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Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Whenever one attends a music concert, ones notice the existence a special species of Homo sapiens who are found only in this area. Dressed in the costliest attires with all other extra fitting in any possible metal to substantiate their status. The madisaar silk saree with a grand zari border, Glittering diamond earrings, both nostrils decorated with similar ornamental pieces, different varieties of rings, the neLi and the navaratna ones being essential, a dozen bangles of gold with precious stones of all colours and sizes, decorative kumkum in the forehead, long strands of flowers on the koNdai are all charecterestic features of these species. One can collectively call them mAmis.

They are found in all the performances be it any part of the day. They claim to come to these places to listen to some good music, while one always wonders if the actual reason for them is to show off their latest acquisition in terms of dress and jewellery to fellow mAmis. Not a piece in the performance would pass without some comments from them. The mAmis are generally are found to occupy the seats in groups for ease in information transfer. Each mAmi would have an anecdote for every piece performed and would take it on her as a responsibility to share it with not only fellow mAmis but also other rasikAs around.

If one is fortunate enough to sit in close proximity to sit near at least one mAmi, one would have downloaded information enough to host a full website by the end of the concert. mAmis take it upon them, to explain the fundamentals of each piece and the give a running commentary of basic information like the tune (rAgam), the beat (tAlam) and the composer to all those around and also enlighten about her past experience of this particular musician performing or of some other stalwart known to her who had performed this piece. One better be careful and crosscheck all the information from the mAmis as they could turn out to be wrong. They are right in some cases and are wrong in most cases as they try to put the cart before the horses and end up being wrong.

If the mAmi happens to know somebody known to one of the performing artist(s) (leave alone knowing the artist(s) him(/her)self or being related), then you can be quite sure that all through the performance you will listen to the mAmi more than the concert. The amount of information the mAmis manage to collect is simply something too much for one to decifer. Most times, information that mAmis provide could be misleading. Here again, the information would be just to show off that she is carnatic music literate and is not sitting in the concert performance for the sake of killing time. The confidence with which the mAmis talk about each piece would just leave any listener guessing if the mAmi is really a reincarnation of the composer of the piece himself.

Many a mAmi would be accompanied by her better half, the mAmA usually in a dhoti that is of no comparison to the mAmi’s saree. The poor man is very easily identifiable from the bag he would carry full of concert listings and the kaapi flask, his old shirt, half-white beard, sometimes a shika also. The man would have to put up with the mAmi all thro’ their journey in quest of music. Of course, the mAmA would have enough experience to not to listen his consort and pay attention to the concert only.

One is always confronted with the question that, if we have a concert with mAmis prohibited to attend, would it be fulfilling, but it is true that though they are in some sense, a bit painful, they also are an integral part of the entertainment one gets out of a complete concert. The absence of the typical mAmi at the concert would be easily felt and the music would not be complete without them. If u happen to be a person who enjoys carnatic music, next time u go to a concert, just look out for some group of mAmis and sit in their proximity, then you will feel the feel-good factor.


Blogger Kaarthik said...

Found this interesting thread on the humour of the artistes of yester years. http://www.sangeetham.com/bboard/quest.php3?submit=yes&qid=7011&forid=13

6:36 PM  
Blogger bharath said...

i am a regular reader/contributor to http://www.sangeetham.com/bboard/forumlist.php3 and have put some stuff myself in this particular thread myself...

9:58 PM  
Blogger indolentcreature said...

:)) nice blog bharath

5:39 PM  

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