Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Musical Palace

Before the television laid seige to our home, our family went to the gardens of Mysore Palace every Sunday evening. Mom, dad, my sisters (Rekha, Uma and little Manji), my kid brother (Chinni) and myself were walking from our house to that of Prince's (well, he lived just two roads across, you know.)

There we took our usual place beside the Shveta Varahaswamy temple and sprawled across its green lawns, in front of the most beautiful edifice of Mysore, the pride of all Mysoreans. As the dusk faded into darkness people poured in more numbers. Peddlers of peanut (hurida kadalekayi), chakke mithayi (chikki, peanut-jaggery candy) and masala puri (masala mandakki) swarmed the place and we kids had a gala time eating.

At 7 pm sharp as if by magic the entire structure of the palace lit up with thousands of light bulbs stitched along its silhouette. The crowd let out a loud gasp of excitement (that excitement hasn't waned for me even today) and it was as if we have been transported to a fairy land of golden light.

Simultaneously music would crackle in from innumerable loudspeakers hoisted atop lamp posts across the lawns. The divine music gave an ethereal feel to the atmosphere. Invariably one particular song would be played every week.

Even after 20-25 years when I hear that song I feel as if I am back in that chaotic fairy idyll. I was under the wrong impression that it was composed only to mirror the grandeaur of the palace (I was not aware of its lyrics as I had heard only the instrumental version of the song).

That song is 'Raghuvamsha Sudha' in 'Kadanakutuhala' Raga, 'Adi' tala and was composed by 'Patnam Subramnia Iyer'.

2 comments:

SB said...

I'm from Mysore too. I grew up under it's sunny skies. I left a long time ago, 14 years now...

Your writing took me back to the old times... and unlocked forgotten things, little things like the sweet calls of kogile in the mango grove, the waft of kenda sampige from my neighbor's yard, the lazy afternoon sun... and many more simple childhood feelings.
Well I too enjoyed 'Raghuvamsha Sudha' at the Ganeshana habba street concerts !!! I can totally relate to you there.

I can't wait to check out bombemane the next time I'm home.
For now, thanks for the mini vacation, even if it was just a flight of fancy.

Soumya.

Raghu Dharmendra said...

@ Soumya: I am glad you liked the post and gladder more with the fact that the post took you on a nostalgic trip.

Well, I am typing this comment from my home which is in the Kathwadipura Agrahara, near Saibaba Mandir. Well, I was totally unaware that some where in this neighbourhood, the great artist of Karnataka K. Venkatappa once lived and created his master pieces about eight years ago. Mysore never ceases to throw up surprises at me, even though I am a Mysorean by birth.