Posts Tagged ‘tamil’

Blr-Pollachi-Anamalai-Top Slip, 100717 and part of 110717

July 20, 2017

Adnan and Sarrah, who are two of the most impressive young people, with unbounded talent only matched by their humility about those talent, invited me along on their trip to the places mentioned above, and I jumped at the offer…such great places to visit, and such great company to do the trip with!

I am choosing only a few photos from my Flickr albums of the trip, which are

1. Blr-Pollachi


2. Pollachi-Anamalai-Top Slip


3. Top Slip-Parambikulam-Top Slip (public bus route)


4. Top Slip-Valparai


5. Valparai, and my train journey back (that’s only the last 5 photos)


We started off from Bangalore rather late in the day, as they had to re-do their tickets to return to the US (18th August is their departure date). But though we did not take the “scenic” route, and travelled through Krishnagiri, veering away before Dharmapuri, on the Pollachi road, there was enough to keep us interested and excited all the way.

I told Sarrah I’d get her chai at one of the “copper boiler chai shops” on the way, and we stopped at Tiruppur, where Lily runs her chai shop. These copper boilers are slowly being replaced by more efficient,but less quaint, stainless steel ones.


Lily’s mother lives with her, and she has two daughters. One is married and living in Coimbatore; the younger one works as a teacher in the school near the airport, just a few kilometres away.

Against the monsoon sky, these village guardian deities, called


sit in conference…alas, the car hit a particularly bad pothole as I clicked!


Saradha sat outside her biscuits/snacks stall, looking over her little daughter’s homework.


We reached our hotel in Pollachi (Ratna Square, the building in the centre…the one on the left is a movie theatre called “Shanthi”, and don’t miss the amazing architecture of the bakery on the right!)


The next morning, we had a superb brefus at Amutha Surabhi, just a few doors away,


We stopped for a while at Aliyar on the outskirts,


looked at the temples,


the scenery,


the fishes,


the butterflies and flowers,


the insects,


Mating Damselflies


and the people eking out their livelihoods


at some cost to the environment


We had to wait around until 9.30 am, when the Tamil Nadu Forest Dept office at Pollachi opened.


We wanted to book accommodation at Top Slip, but could not book accommodation online, and had to wait to talk to the young lady in charge at the Forest Dept office. She did give us a lot of information, but did not even give us an acknowledgement slip; all she did was talk to the Forest Guest House in Top Slip. I do wish the booking could be streamlined…we found the morning enjoyable, but would have preferred spending it in the

Anamalai Tiger Reserve


I’ll write about the trip through the Reserve and into Top Slip tomorrow…but will tease you with the largest butterfly in south India, which we sighted (amongst many other Interesting Things) on our drive!


A beautiful song in AbhOgi: thanga ratham vanthathu veedhiyilE

November 24, 2016

தங்கரதம் வந்தது, வீதியிலே,
ஒரு தளிர்மேனி வந்தது தேரினிலே
மரகதத் தோரணம்அசைந்தாட
நல்ல மாணிக்க மாலைகள்கவிபாட

செவ்விள நீரின்கண் திறந்து
செம்மாதுளையின்மணி வாய் பிளந்து
முளைவிடும் தண்டில்கோலமிட்டு மூவருலா வந்த காலங்கள் போலே
தங்கரதம் வந்தது

மாங்கனிக் கன்னத்தில், தேனூற சிறு மைவிழிக்கிண்ணத்தில்மீன் ஆட
தேன் தரும் போதைகள், போராட
தேவியின்பொன் மேனி தள்ளாட ஆட
இருவரும்:- தங்கரதம் வந்தது

THANGA RATHAM VANTHATHU VEETHIYILEY – movie: Kalai Kovil (கலைக்கோயில்)

Four videos from Valparai

April 23, 2014

I got the Orange-headed Thrush singing:

The Dusky Striped Squirrel calling:

The Grey Junglefowl, and his harem, strolling.

And….he life-giving summer rain falling:

Lion-tailed Macaques, Valparai, 18-200414

April 23, 2014

On Good Friday, Anjali, Gopal, Rohan, Tharangini, Yeshoda and I went to


in the aNNAmalai range (Coimbatore district) in Tamil Nadu.




was one of the several creatures we hoped to see on our trip to Valparai. The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), or the wanderoo, is an Old World monkey endemic to the Western Ghats of South India.

The hair of the lion-tailed macaque is black. Its outstanding characteristic is the silver-white mane which surrounds the head from the cheeks down to its chin, which gives this monkey its German name Bartaffe – “beard ape”


it lives in hierarchical groups of usually 10 to 20 animals, which consist of few males and many females. It is a territorial animal, defending its area first with loud cries towards the invading troops.

It primarily eats indigenous fruits, leaves, buds, insects and small vertebrates in virgin forest, but can adapt to rapid environmental change in areas of massive selective logging through behavioural modifications and broadening of food choices to include fruits, seeds, shoots, pith, flowers, cones, mesocarp, and other parts of many nonindigenous and pioneer plants.


The lion-tailed macaque ranks among the rarest and most threatened primates. Their range has become increasingly isolated and fragmented by the spread of agriculture and tea, coffee, teak and cinchona, construction of water reservoirs for irrigation and power generation, and human settlements to support such activities. They did not, in the past live, feed or travel through plantations, but this behaviour has changed.

Destruction of their habitat and their avoidance of human proximity have led to the drastic decrease of their population.

Here’s one swinging about on the wire:

It then proceeds to lick the raindrops off the leaves of the plant:

I loved watching this mother and child:





Gestation is approximately six months. The young are nursed for one year. Sexual maturity is reached at four years for females, and six years for males. The life expectancy in the wild is approximately 20 years

Here’s a small, funny incident as a macaque jumps up as something bothers it, and starts running away:

Here’s one eating the seeds from the seed pod of the Spathodea (African Tulip), which is an exotic tree:


I took a little more…

This troop of Macaques did forage and travel through the coffee plantation. They did not disturb us, and we did not disturb them.


Here are a group, enjoying themselves (yes, that’s what I feel!) in the evening:

azhagAna poNNu nAn

October 15, 2013

I suddenly remembered a song I’d heard in my infancy…after months of not wanting to learn new songs, Kavya is suddenly keen again, now!

The words mean,

“I am a beautiful girl;
I have the eyes for that;
The only thing I possess
Is my self-respect…”

The original song is here (from a 1956 film, imagine!)

and the lyrics are:


Azhagaana ponnu naan
Adhukkeththa kannuthaan
Engitta iruppadhellaam thanmaanam ondruthaan

I am a beautiful girl
I have the eyes for that
The only thing I have is my self-respect

Eedillaa kaattu Roja
Idhai neenga paarunga
Evarenum parikkavandhaa inimethaan maarunga
Mulley thaan kuththunga

A peerless forest rose
Do look at this
If anyone comes to pluck it, its nature will change;
It’s the thorn that will prick.

HO…. ankonnu ilikkudhu aandhai poal muzhikkidhu
Aattathai rasikkavillai aalaithaan rasikkidhu (Azhagaana)

There is one grins, that stares like an owl
Not enjoying the dance, just enjoying the dancer

HO.. hO…. hO…
Ingonnu ennaippaaththu kan jaadai pannudhu (2)
Aemaali ponnuyinnu aedhedho ennu edhedho ennuthu

Here, one is making sheep’s eyes at me
Thinking various things, assuming I’m a gullible girl

HO…. hO… hO…
Penjaadiyai thavikkavittu peyaattamaakkudhu
Piththaagi ennai suththi kaiththaalm poadudhu (Azhagaana)

Leaves the wife to suffer, and acts like a demon
Crazily follows me, clapping (to my dance)

It’s a very mid-Eastern, Arabic type of dance number…and talks about the uncaring ogling of men! So I taught her only the first four lines.

An old temple in Melagiri….

September 23, 2012

Nature, to me, doesn’t exclude humanity..what’s created by humanity, especially in the past, is very fascinating, too. While in the Melagari forests, I went to take a quick look at the old Dabbaguli temple.


dabbaguli temple uganiyam 080912



The iron girders that hold up the second storey are seen everywhere…


Everywhere, though, Nature is making a comeback:


You can see the two storeys here:

dabbaguli temple 080912

The old arches are so graceful:



Of course, there is the mandatory plaque by politicians…


Here’s a closeup of Nandi:

dabbaguli temple 080912 uganiyam

Here’s the priest in the new shrine nearby:

80912 KANS trip to Uganiyam


Every year, the festival means huge crowds who come and litter the place indescribably…so volunteers from KANS go to clean up, and spread the message of NO LITTER…it’s a pity that the same people who seem to revere God seem to have no qualms about littering all of His creation.

In the forests of Melagiri…

September 10, 2012

On Saturday, I went with fellow volunteers of Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS) to the forests of Uganiyam, to check on four camera traps that have been set there. These cameras have been recording a wealth of wildlife…leopards, tuskers, boars, birds, deer…and I wanted to see Uganiyam, too.

Uganiyam is across the Kaveri, on the Tamil Nadu side, of the river Kaveri. Here are some of the beings we saw….




posing beautifully:








Butterflies mud-puddling:




80912 KANS trip to Uganiyam




A lovely


80912 KANS trip to Uganiyam



that got into the jeep with us for a ride:


The liquid eyes of a calf:


A halfmade nest of a


sunbird nest 080912  Uganiyam



Luna Moth 080912 uganiyam


rolling up cowdung into little balls, that will be put into underground nests, and nourish the young that hatch out of the eggs that the female lays on the dung:



CATERPILLAR that was jumping across the hood of the jeep:


Some lovely


calling to each other and swooping about:


Two otters playing with each other and fishing, far away in the Kaveri (no photo, I’d left the cameras in the car when we went down to the river!)

A large herd of


including a giant alpha female, that our jeep literally tip-toed past, without a single photo;

And the highlight of the trip…a lifer for me…this juvenile









A wonderfully productive day; the others did all the hard work, while I enjoyed myself thoroughly!

For the pictures taken with the 30D and the 300mm lens, go to

this FB album

and for pics taken with Santosh’s 1000D and my 28-200mm lens, go to

Two transliterations of movie songs…

June 20, 2012

A Tamizh transliteration of a song (Vennilava?…”is it the white moon?”)

and a Hindi one (with Susmita Sen)

Oh, goodness, I can’t stop laughing!

A stalwart’s words…52 years ago!

May 10, 2012

I could not let this wonderful interview go into the mists of the Internet, so I’ve saved it on my blog. Those of you who are not interested in Carnatic music, wait for my next post!

The interviewer was Shri Ramesh Rangan

Madurai Mani Iyer interview in 1960
Following is a translation of an Interview given by Shri Madurai Mani Iyer
to All India Radio (A.I.R) recorded during early 60s. Seniors who heard
him those days may enjoy this more
*A.I.R*: Namaskaaram. I would like to record your reminiscences
about your gurukulavaasam. Whom you did study with at the very beginning
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: I learnt under Shri Rajam Bhagavathar in Madurai
*A.I.R*: Whose Disciple was Rajam Bhagavathar?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: He was a disciple of Ettayapuram Ramachandra
Bhagavatar. My Paternal uncle Madurai Pushpavanam Iyer and the nagaswara
vidwan Madurai Ponnuswami pillai, were also disciples of Ramachandra
*A.I.R*: How long would you have learnt from Rajam Bhagavatar and when did
you start performing ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: I learnt for 2 years from him. We lived in a portion
of his house itself on rent. So, it was very convenient to learn from
Rajam Bhagavathar.
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: After that, Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar
established a music school in Madurai in which Rajam Bhagavatar was
appointed as a teacher. So I happened to join that school. I learnt there
too for about a year and a half. After that I started performing in
*A.I.R*: Can you recollect your very first concert where ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: I had been to the Sivagangai area along with my
father who had friends there. My first concert was held there, in a place
called Alavaakottai, during the kumbhaabhishekam festival. Since the
organizers of that festival were well-known to my father, my first concert
took place!
*A.I.R*: Who played pakkavaadyam (accompaniment) for your first concert?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: Nattam Seetharama Iyer, who lived in Kumbakonam, played
the Violin. Tiruvaarur Kunju Iyer alias Rajagopala Iyer played the
*A.I.R*: How old were you then ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: I was 12 years old then.
*A.I.R*: So you started performing from then?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: Yes I started performing from then on.
*A.I.R*: In order to get so many concert opportunities at that age itself,
you must have had help is in it?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: What helped me was my paternal uncle, Pushpavanam
Iyer, had been so famous that people who had listened to his music would
readily agree to hold my concert if someone recommended my name.
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: My only responsibility was to perform well in the
concert that had been arranged. Getting the concert opportunity itself
wasnt very difficult. Had to perform well in the arranged concert, thats
all. It would make things even easier.
*A.I.R*: Then, as you got older, your voice would have changed.
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: Yes, my voice changed. When I first sang concerts,
I used to sing to a shruti of 5 kattai, 4.5 kattai. My voice (shaareeram)
used to be very facile. Later, my voice dropped in shruti, way down to 1
kattai. It all happened quite rapidly in the space of 2 months. And even
at 1 kattai, my voice could only reach the taara Shadja for the highs and
the madhya Shadja for the lows.
*A.I.R*: A range of only 1 sthaayi (Octave)?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: 1 sthaayi, exactly, effectively thats all it would
speak (!) Singing higher than the taara Shadja was difficult, and so
was singing below the madhya Shadja. Hence I was constrained to sing
within 1 sthaayi at that time.
*A.I.R*: So you must have done a lot of saadhakam at that time to get a
handle on your voice and strengthen it.
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: I practised for about 3 hours everyday with the
*A.I.R*: How did you practice then ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: I used to set the shruti high and then try to hold
the taara Shadja which used to be difficult, but I would practice this for
a while, I would take a suitable raga and practice the phrases D N S, P D
N S, M P D N S etc, along with the proper bhaavam of the raaga, in order
to try and strengthen the Shadja then I would proceed upward to halt on R
and then take a look at G and then try M. I only managed to reach the M
this way. Then I would lower the shruti to 2.5, 2, kattai and sing the
high notes a little easier, and then move to 1.5 kattai and sing with even
more ease. I Had to practice really hard, had to sing open-throated and
practice hard to bring the voice into shape.
*A.I.R*: In your career, you must have heard the concerts of a lot of
vidvaans. can you talk about it a little bit ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: In Madurai, I have heard a lot of concerts of
Mazhavaraayanendal Subbarama Bhagavatar. Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar,
I have heard a lot of his musical discoures he also used to perform
concerts, in his performances, there would be a lot of Tyagaraja
compositions and other great pieces, the discourses would be very musical.
Also in Madurai, there was Nagaswami Bhagavatarvaal who sang a lot of
Tyagaraja kritis in his concerts. He would not repeat the kritis he sang
from concert to concert in the many concerts I heard! I had a great
opportunity to listen to a lot of different kritis of Tyagaraja, all those
in vogue as well as many rare ones. he was a disciple of the Walajapet
Venkataramana Bhagavatar, a prime disciple of Tyagaraja.
I have heard concerts of Karaikkudi Brothers with Dakshinamurti Pillai on
the mrdangam, Kancheepuram Naina Pillai, with Malaikottai Govindaswami
Pillai on Violin and Dakshinamurti Pillai on Mridangam etc.
I have heard lots and lots of concerts of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar &
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer.
Then I have listened to Veena Dhanammal. And I have listened to lots of
performances of great naagasvara vidvaans during temple festivals, and
night processions staying up all night long and walking behind them.
*A.I.R*: What is your opinion of current performance methods ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: The Current performance methods setup by various
senior musicians of our time and their aesthetics, I must say I like it and
hold it in high regard. And I try to proceed along that route as much as
*A.I.R*: What is your opinion regarding shruti ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: You mean setting an aadhaara shruti (base shruthi)
it should be set such that the taara Shadja is easy to reach not too easy
however otherwise it would be floating and fragile. It should not be too
easy, if you hold the taara Shadja in an extended manner i.e. kaarvai,
you should be able to hold it with firmness and strength, without
tiring. Only then you would be able to sing the further higher notes like
R, G, M, easily and attuned to shruti. A lot of musical phrasing, in
our current music, is in the upper reaches. These are also the notes that
are heard with clarity and which grab the peoples attention. If you sing
in the lower octave, people nearby can hear it clearly and only
knowledgeable rasikas would like it.
However, we are required to sing a lot in the upper octave these days, and
for that one should not tire. Even though there are mikes and speakers
these days, one should be careful not to tire, since otherwise you
would slip from the shruti. if that happens, your singing will not be
fulfilling or pleasing. And if you dont satisfy the listeners with your
singing in that range, then there is no point in singing in the lower
reaches either, having lost their attention.
The aadhaara Shadja should also be held well and with firmness. Even if
you are only able to intone the lower N D P in a soft manner, thats
OK. But the taara Shadja is very important
, it should be held with strength and firmness.
*A.I.R*: In singing svaras, i.e. kalpanaasvaras, you seem to have a
unique style could you let us know about the evolution of your style?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: Unique style? Really not. Mazhavaraayanendal
Subbarama Bhagavatar used to sing svaras like this. When I was a student
and a novice performer, I have heard a lot of his music he used to sing
svaras even for many rare raagas, his sarvalaghu manner of svara singing
used to be very good. I tried to sing like that and develop my svara
singing, my style is a direct outgrowth of that.
*A.I.R*: Thanks for that information. In svara singing, people sing
tisram, misram, etc. what is your opinion on this arithmetic (kaNakku)?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: As long as the raga bhaavam is not spoiled, there is
nothing wrong in singing arithmetic swara prasthara with thisra, misra etc.
If the voice admits of this exercise, and if the arithmetic is also
interesting, then there is no problem at all. We can all be happy and
People who are well-qualified only should attempt it. Everyone need not
feel a compulsion to engage in this. If we do arithmetic, troubling
ourselves, losing raga bhaavam and losing the shruti also in the
process, there
is no point. The sukha bhaavam in the cutcheri would be lost. Without
losing sight of the overall sukha bhaavam and the raaga bhaavam, when
someone who is intelligent, has a strong memory and has had good
association with laya vidvaans, does this arithmetic, then we also can
enjoy it and appreciate it.
*A.I.R*: What advice do you have for the youngsters who are learning music
and desire to perform, and others who have just begun to perform ?
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: They should hear many concerts of the senior
vidvaans, ie the established vidvaans. Because, however much they are
talented, since they lack the experience, their music will not be
sufficient or fulfilling. They should observe how the senior vidvaans make
their concerts a success and please all varieties of listeners, how they
use their voices in a concert hall, how they employ the various thick and
thin shades in their voices, how they plan their concerts, these are all to
be learnt only by direct observation. It does not happen otherwise, however
well one sings by themselves or practices their music.
They have to hear the senior vidvaans over and over again, no other way.
But, they dont have to imitate them. It will all jell together over time as
they keep singing, and hearing the senior vidvaans attentively.
They should pay sufficient attention to setting the shruti before singing.
They should give sufficient time to the accompanists to adjust their
instruments to the shruti. Before proceeding to sing, they should attune
themselves to the shruti by intoning Sa-Pa-Sa in a manner audible just to
themselves. Steadying themselves thus, if they sing, there would be no
problem. If in the midst of a concert, the shruti drifts, they should
adjust it properly and then only should continue. If the shruti
wavers, sukha
bhaavamm will be lost, the felicity will be lost. The more and more we are
attuned to shruti, the easier the music will flow. Hence one must pay
great attention to it.
*A.I.R*: Thanks very much for sharing your experiences and your pointers
to all aspiring musicians. Namaskaaram.
*Madurai Mani Iyer*: Namaskaaram!

KS Ramachandran, Amritha Apartments, 2nd Floor, E58A, 21st Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090;
Landline: (+91) 44 2446 8896; Mobile: (+91) 98410 71388

Will you love me?

April 3, 2012

Naan unnai pirinthirukkum pozhuthu
Ennai ninaippaayaa?
En vaarthaigalin ethiroliyum
Un kaathil naan sonna kaathalum…
Ketkaamal pogumaa?
Un manathil irukkum soonyatthai
Niraitthu viduvaayaa?
Naan irunthathai
Ennik kolvaayaa?
Naan thirumbum varai
Nee kaathiruppaayaa?

Will you think of me
When I am separated from you?
Will the echo of my words,
My love,whispered in your ear,
Grow faint?
When you are faced with emptiness
Will you fill it up?
Will you remember those times
When I was there?
Will you wait
Until I return?

Has love ever changed, over the millenia? The need for two people to be together is probably the most powerful emotion of all, perhaps only exceeded by the love of a mother for her child.
I’ll write about that next….