SEASON - New season, old content by M.V. SWAROOP
It is hard to offer fresh perspective on the Chennai December season, for each season is, in so many ways, like the other. The sabhas’ schedules are pretty much fixed. Sometimes, the same artist plays on the same date each year. The venues are the same, time slots are the same, their duration is fairly standard. The musicians are, by and large, the same, their styles are well known, the audience is made up of an army of friends, acquaintances and vaguely familiar faces. The corpus of ragas and kritis offered is approximately the same. The sponsors are, almost everywhere, the three or four cloth shops from around T. Nagar, and the odd hospital conglomerate. Even the canteens are run by the same caterers offering very similar menus each year.
It gets bigger each year, yes. Organisations mushroom all over the city, offering music, dance and drama for fifteen to twenty days, only to vanish after the festival. The season guide booklets have now become veritable pillows of schedules.
It gets madder each year, perhaps. Some rasikas enter into boasting matches on how many concerts they have attended. One, who came to the city just for the season, and even took a house on rent for the month, told me that he attended seven concerts on a single day. I wonder how many of those he listened to. Some artists accept up to 40 concerts in the space of a month. Sometimes the artist himself gives the concert a mental miss, choosing to go through it as if it were a poetry recital in his fifth standard classroom.
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