September 09, 2006


Some of the most colourful people I come across are found in the sabhas.
Rather, in the halls and auditoriums which are the venues for classical music and dance programmes.
They could be fodder for a hungry cartoonist or a worthy companion for an inquisitive rasika.
One man who always caught my attention at sabha events was K. S. Mahadevan.
A wisp of a person, KSM, as his admirers and friends used to call him, was well in his 80s when I began to sight him at kutcheris.
Mahadevan was an arts critic, reviewing music and dance performances and writing an occasional feature.
As a critic, he had a thumb rule of sorts - criticism had to be positive and had to be made in a manner that would be useful to the artiste, be it a singer, an instrumentalist or a dancer.
You must have heard of the fiery Subbudu, another critic most people disliked and yet read and re-read.
Mahadevan was clearly miles away from the fire-and-brimstone style of reviewing performances.
He had a fund of stories to share. And I was glad that he published a book full of them. Called 'Musings on Music and Musicians', many of his stories on music and musicians found a place in this little book published in December 2003.
It was this publication that prompted me to chat with him and he gifted us a signed copy.
One rare picture in this valuable book has the great MS at a meal at a social function at the famed Shanmukhananda Hall in Bombay ( with which Mahadevan was actively involved in the 50s and 60s) waiting for people to serve food in a shiny, stainless steel plate.
Mahadevan passed away some days ago, having had a long, colourful innings in life.
And I hope all the artistes and sabha folks will get together quickly to host a meeting to pay a tribute to him.
Paying tributes even to ordinary people who have done extraordinary work should become a neighbourhood event. As a community we should pay tributes to local heroes.
I lost a young friend recently. Loy was a Jesuit brother, studying to become a priest and he hailed from my hometown. He made contact with me when he was at the 'Satya Nilayam' campus in Thiruvanmiyur, because among his many passions, was writing. He did a few pieces for our newspapers but got busy working extensively with young people. All through, he would message me via Rediff Bol. He had sent me an invitation to sign up for a new Rediff Messenger tool.
I postponed my response. Loy died two days later. Swallowed by the sea while having a swim on the weekend in Thiruvanmiyur.
I couldn't stay on for that wonderful Mass that his lay brothers and the Jesuits said for Loy at their campus.
But Loy, who always had a smile on his face, will be able to read this tribute in heaven.
As will the wispy Mahadevan.

1 comment:

phantom363 said...

so sorry to hear about loy. so young and how tragic. my sympathies. a life full of potentials, now no more. :(

re the kutcheri crowd: i do hope that the karnatic music guys will step down a notch or two from their pedestals, and try to popularize the music among the common folk. it is rich, but it exclusive. partly because all is sung in telugu. tamil carnatic music is rich, but seldom gets air time. and also, some more secular and uptodate songs would do it good. not that i object the religious one, but just to give a different flavour.