Archive for April, 2010

Punctuations in Life

Posted: April 28, 2010 in Fictional stories



I dragged the creaking drawer out, protesting, refusing to expose its contents. I gave it a couple of more tugs before it tore away and landed on the floor, scattering whatever it held in there. A small, dog-eared diary caught my attention and I scooped it up as if it held the answers to all my questions.

My  life filled with inexplicable and  drone-like existentialism was about to come to a further standstill. Life was like  quicksand, constant shifting of particles of time, lit up by the evening sunlight, occasionally gleaming and inviting, then grey like the evening after a storm.

Perfunctory mirth, guarded and wasted lines that often dissipated with the vapors of the morning, every time I spoke. I felt transient both in mind and heart, forever it seemed a long winding journey not knowing its destination,  often taking recourse to fantasies; filling in the void that I had sunk into.

I had sat at my desk and put my quill to the papyrus going on with my parody of existential angst with resonances of anguish; as if I was the complete authority on  disquiet. My every page was filled with fairy tales which at best would describe my life; if I placed it between a period and punctuation.

Had it not been for the blighted life when my wife  eloped on the morning of September 12th disregarding my existence and making null my sacred wedlock that I had treasured until then, I would have been in a different frame of mind when I wrote my guts out. But now the empty pages stared at me.


It wasn’t for carnal fulfillment that led to her deciding to run away that night; she wrote in the diary I discovered in the drawer. She said it was  my refusal to climb out of the embalmed fortress I had built for myself over the years, that cocooned me from other people’s half-baked lies and conceits that I couldn’t digest anymore. Leaving in abject misery with me only added to her hastened decision to save herself from the world she was sinking into, living in my shade.

As insulting and enfeebling as it made me I didn’t reprimand her or yield to chastising her, for I sought the truth about my own life. I had ignored the lusterless pools of sadness that her eyes had become over time. Was I a fool that I couldn’t see the pain she was going through? Her needless sacrifice was uncalled for and her forced amiable nature with me had not come to my notice either. The cryptic conversations I had with her were taken by me as companionable silences. If only I knew I could have saved us from deteriorating into a sham.

It was late, too late and my philosophical ripening and awareness was not going to salvage the situation or make it better for me. So I took the diary, replaced it in the drawer and shut it back again. A tug and a pull didn’t let it free anymore and I relegated it to history even though the air was redolent with her perfume and memories.

I let out a slow, guttural groan and thrust my face between my palms and breathed deeply. I walked over to the coat rack and threw the warm overcoat around me hastily and walked out into the cold night air, breathing it in as if my life depended on it.

I would survive.

I always did.


(Imaginary story, narrated in first person…)




Posted: April 20, 2010 in Fictional stories


She stood by the window. Her languid frame merging into the gossamer thin window curtains that seemed to shield her from the outside world. She shivered as a gentle breeze seeped in through the rusted window frames. She crossed her slender arms across her breasts, beguiling herself to the soreness she felt inside.

A void opened within her, almost feeling like an empty husk that the wind swept in, a secret anger tingling in her veins. She hadn’t felt so enfeebled and in captivity by her own chains of desolation. Somewhere she heard the night Owl cry in desperation; echoing the very thoughts that outweighed her shredded self. The moonlight cast its feeble glow on her face, illuminating it now and then as the dark clouds harried past the glowing orb.

She gently ran her hands from her neck down to the belly and left it there- around the curve of her waist looking for that warmth that had ignited her, not so long ago. Manav had held her in a vice like grip and had snuggled his unshaved chin at the nape of her neck, whispering as he ran his tongue delectably around her ears nibling it; filling her with a warmth she dissolved into. They had succumbed to the sweet purifying sensation that engulfed them, under the moonlight.

Now the pitch black of the night swathed her in utter hopelessness as she stared afar at the star ridden sky. Tears swelled as her misty eyes looked away. Manav was merely a shadow in her memories playing havoc with her sanity. She wouldn’t find him within her or in the desolate world anymore.

He had taken away with him her moorings. When she had seen him lifeless, she had collapsed with a numbing sensation. Sarayu was a shell of her former self; the depths of her grief unforgiving .

The night owl perceived a movement in the dark and fluttered away shrieking. Sarayu shook herself off her reverie and walked towards the antique bed where the seed of their love was blissfully asleep. She ran her fingers through his hair and kissed his forehead gently and sighed. It was another night.

Interview with Mandolin player U. Shrinivas for IE (West coast edition)


Mandolin Brothers U.Shrinivas and U.Rajesh Concert in San Diego


A packed David and Dorothea Garfield Theater, San Diego with more than 550 people were enthralled with an amazing performance from the Mandolin maestro U.Shrinivas. Most knew him as the child prodigy who took the musical world by storm when he introduced the unknown instrument the Mandolin to the public at such an young age. Today he is a veteran Maestro who performs with unique style and virtuosity. By collaborations with famous musicians from around the world he has explored several dimensions with his fusion music introducing the rest of the world also to the Mandolin.

” I was longing to see him and hear him,” said Sudha Prabha one among
the several in the audience who waited to hear his concert after so
many years. “I had watched U.Shrinivas as a child prodigy years back,
but seeing him now and listening to him with his brother U.Rajesh is
an extaordinary experience,” said Lalitha Krishnamurthi.

U.shrinivas received his initial training on the Mandolin from his
father , Sri. Suryanarayana before coming under the tutelage of Sri.
Rudraraju Subbaraju. He gave his first performance at the age of nine
and was widely celebrated as a child prodigy. Over the course of his
career he has performed in the West Berlin Jazz Festival in 1983,
Cevantino festival in Mexico, Olympic Arts festival in Barcelona also
with Western musicians like John McLaughlin, Michael Nyman, Nigel
Kennedy, Nana Vasconcelos. He had also performed for the Shakti
Foundation with Zakir Hussain, Stephen Devassey and Dominique Di

U.Shrinivas is also the recipient of the Padmashree in 1988, the
Sangeeta Ratna award and several more awards to his credit.
” I have also performed at the UN Peace concert on 29th Oct 2009.
Recently “Samjanita” my album in Europe is doing well. I enjoy
collaborating with others and it gives me inspiration and the chance
to work with musicians of different styles. I am learning a lot from
them too,’ he said modestly regarding his forays into International

Shrinivas has also performed with the likes of Zakir Hussain, Allah
Rakha, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, L.Subramaniam and Hindustani
musicians like Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. ” Playing with these
stalwarts was a unique experience for me,” he said. ” Mandolin

U.Rajesh who accompanied his brother played for the first time in San
Diego as a duo. He is also a proficient and established mandolin
player who learnt music from his father and brother. ” Music in India
is becoming more popular now I think and also internationally since
the artists are travelling around a lot these days,” he said. He has
toured extensively with his brother performing in Germany and the US
in addition to performing with Ustad Zakir Hussain and Vikku Sri

“My message to everyone is that children should start learning music
early. Their parents need to encourage them as much as as possible. Ifthey practice hard and work hard anything can be achieved,” said
Shrinivas regarding the spread of classical Indian music among the
Indian children both in India and in the US

Easter, Kiddos and Eggs

Posted: April 10, 2010 in Non-Fiction
Tags: ,

Easter is here and that means a lot of colored eggs all over the place. What’s within those eggs are precious to the kiddos and a seemingly wonderful experience to them. Watching them sitting there and opening those plastic egg shells to see what kind of candy is hidden in there, is the ultimate delight..

It reminds me everytime of the Forest Gump saying “Life is a box of chocolates; you never know what you get..”

How true it is…those kids absolutely love that experience …after a few hours what is left behind are empty colored plastic shells; after they got the goodies from inside it..

Bunch of photos of the kiddos and parents in the local park going egg hunting and collecting them in their baskets…What a treat to the eyes…Need I say more…

Shall let the photos do the talking….


The penchant for buying books has often taken precedence over mundane shopping that I need to do routinely. With a grocery list in hand I venture out and end up in the library or Barnes & Noble, like a kid in a candy store. The brief sojourn into these wonderlands is often unplanned and maybe uncalled for. But, who is to blame when my mind takes the steering and lures me in there and before I know it I end up walking out with a book in hand. There’s a whole new world inside it, waiting to be discovered and chewed on in solitary moments. I had often consoled myself that I a posses a ‘reading disorder’ of some kind, to which I am not really looking for a cure. So I feed it.

On one such small detour I found the sign ‘Book Sale’ in the library and before I knew it I was in possession of 3 book each worth 50 cents. Rather cheap for the treasure I was lugging away.

One of the books I bought was ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ by Hemingway. I had always wanted to re-read it. I flipped the cover page open and found the most beautiful lines scribbled in black ink across the first page which was more fascinating than the book itself. It was a lovely love note from a certain Robert to his love Liz and it simply said:

Beloved Liz,

“May the bells of our love forever toll for each other”

Love Robert


I brought it home and stared at it; all kinds’ of stories running through my head associated with Robert and Liz.

 Who were/are they?  Are they still alive? How did the book end up in the library along with other used books?

 How many years old could that book be when bought, considering that the book was actually written a long time back by Hemingway when he went to Spain in 1937 to cover the Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. From his experiences he wrote this classic story of an American, Robert Jordan, who fought, loved and died with the guerrillas in the mountains of Spain.

I wonder if Robert gave that book to Liz when they were courting or after marriage as a token of their love. Did Liz read it, enjoy it and put it away and maybe her great-grandchildren gave it away to someone and that someone gave away all the used books to the library as a gift.

 Wouldn’t I love to know the story behind it?

The 3rd Annual Indian Music and Dance Festival in San Diego

A crowd of around 4,600 people joined in one of the biggest celebrations of Indian Classical Music and Dance festival, over four days, organized by the Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego, making it a very successful event. This year the event was organized in a much larger scale by the Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego, with the invitation of over 28 artists from India, 11 artists from the US and 88 children participating in the festival. The enthusiasm and participation of the artists and the patrons added to the festive atmosphere that pervaded the David and Dorothea Garfield Theater in La Jolla for four days from March 25th to the 28th.


Raj Sundareshan the President of IFAA and Dr. Shekar Vishwanathan the Secretary of IFAA welcomed the audience.

 “We are proud to present 28 artists from India. The patronage we have received  has enabled us to have a longer program this year and we are hoping all will enjoy the next four days what we have lined up for them. In addition we also have fine Indian food representing different parts of India, served during the course of the events.”

 The program was officially open by Dr. Vilayanur.S.Ramachandran the Padma Bhushan recipient and Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the UCSD, California. “India is a treasure house of music and culture and I would like to dispel some of the stereotyping that is seen in the Western world regarding the abundance of snake charmers and elephants. Our contributions to the world are innumerable,” he said and went on to present a remarkable slide-show and brief lecture on the evolving Indian culture and music.

 The events were set in motion with a remarkable Sitar recital by Kartik Seshadri who is a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. He also heads the Indian Classical Music program at UCSD.

U. Shrinivas and his brother U. Rajesh performed for the first time together on stage in front of a capacity audience of around 550 people, who had flocked to watch them; leaving only leg-room in the auditorium. “I was waiting to see the performances and longing to see U. Shrinivas and his brother U. Rajesh perform here,” said an excited Sudha Prabha.

People were treated to four days of wonderful performances by stalwarts in their respective fields; such as Injikudi Subramaniam and his wife Chitra Subramaniam performing as a couple for the first time with their Nadaswaram. Trichur Ramachandran, Gayathri Venkataraghavan, Manasi Prasad, Pantalu Rama engaged the audience with their vocal performances.

The flute ensemble by R.Thiagarajan and T. Suresh accompanied by Nagai Muralidaran on the violin, Guruvayoor dorai on Mridangam and E.M Subramaniam on Ghatam was the highlight of the evening on 26th March; perfection in unison and the melodious compositions had the audience captivated.

88 children, the students of Sri. C.M Venkatachalam and Smt. Revathi Subramaniam of San Diego, adorned the stage with their youthful presence, delivering a vocal performance that had the audiences applauding on their feet.

 In addition to classical instruments and vocal performances there were also excellent dance recitals by Odissi dancers led by Guru Yudhistir Nayak, Patnaik sisters and S. Gollamudi and a Bharatanatyam performance by Uma Suresh  and Priya Ramesh

Sherri. S. Lightner, the Council member, District 1 issued the proclamation “I am delighted to be here and make the proclamation to the academy, that this Council of the City of San Diego, for and behalf of the people, in appreciation of the IFAA’s annual cultural gift of the Indian Music and dance festival, declare March 25 through March 28, 2010 to be “Indian Music and Dance festival 2010 days,” in the city of San Diego.

A moment of triumph and celebration for all the hard work and efforts put in by the IFAASD academy making it a successful event.

In addition several well-known stalwarts in the field of Music and dance were felicitated for their efforts in popularizing Indian classical arts. Cleavland Balu, Dr. Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahlad, Kunhiraman and Katherine Kunhiraman, Padma Kutty, C.M. Venkatachalam, V.V. Sundaram and Joseph Saval of the National University were recognized for their contributions.

 Published In Indian Express-West coast edition