Author: Kavitha Rajaram

(Kavitha Rajaram is a banking domain consultant working for Tata Consultancy Services. A student of Carnatic music and a connoisseur, she has been keenly following the margazhi season for many years and is an ardent rasika attending many concerts during the December music season.

 She is a regular contributor to margazhi.org and has been involved with ‘Artist of the Month’ initiative. You too can get your articles/reviews published here. Send a mail to editor@margazhi.org.)

As the world gears up for the holiday season, Chennai gears up for playing the perfect host to the biggest cultural extravaganza of the year –  a whole new, December Music and Dance Festival!

While there are a plethora of websites with the schedules of major and not so major sabhas in town, I still help couldn’t look at the special edition in print featuring the concert schedules. It’s just getting bigger and better is all I can say. As a rasika, one is simply spoilt for choice – with around 3000 concerts over 30 days is sure to make one go through moments of indecision.

On a different note, it is the time of the year when you do not take your handkerchief out and mop your forehead off sweat! By Chennai standards, Margazhi is the coolest period of the year,  when the Sun God takes a back seat and lets the Wind God take over to harmonize with showers of music that are pervading all over the city!

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Having been a regular concert go-er for many years now, the music festival is an arcade of food stalls as much as it is about music and dance recitals. Each year, as the number of concerts and concert venues grow, the food items on the menu card at the various concert venues have grown exponentially. The age old Idlis and its siblings the dosas paving way for the nouveau items such as paneer dosas and macaroni idiappams with fresh coffee percolating through the brass filters!! A gormandizer’s delight!!

It is also the time of the year, when the rustle of silk is seen and heard everywhere, with many of the ladies stepping out in their resplendent Kanjivarams.

The edifice of the “kutcheri” format takes many forms – from a traditional 4 hour concert to a lesser time frame in today’s scenario, inclusion of slots for different genres of music  – a lot is being done to attract a wider audience. This variety does serve to expand the perspectives and options available to the rasika today.

The landscape of the Chennai December festival could have changed over the years. Yet, one thing is a constant. Margazhi is indeed the time of the year when many rasikas like me disengage from our mundane lives and routine, to simply let our minds become unfettered and unburdened and free to engage in soulful music!

Smart phone applications to schedule a concert calendar, musical forms like Abhangs and Bhajans , mushroom momos in the South Indian menu card and light weight Kanjivaram saris could be  recent trends , but the season still remains,  a sublime treat for all the senses. To me this means, that the sanctity, solemnity and spirit of classical music will remain intact forever!

Here is to another edition of the Chennai December Festival!!