Final – Day 6 and Overnight : SPIC MACAY – 27th National Convention, 2012 @ NITK Surathkal, Karnataka

Heave downpour and power failure did not stop T V Gopalakrishnan from rendering Vatapi with mobiles guiding
Heave downpour and power failure did not stop T V Gopalakrishnan from rendering Vatapi with mobiles guiding

The fitting finale has one of the best Vocalists I have ever heard, Pt. Venkatesh Kumar, rendering JAGO Mohan Pyare. He is the answer to our prayers. He is in the finest mold of Pt. Bhimjesh Joshi, Pt. Kumara Gandharva, Pt. Mallikarjuna Mansur… and shares the schooling from Dharwad. I do no have any doubt about this nursery of Hindustani classical music with every home and street having tens of such talents!

Answer to our prayers - Pt. Venkatesh Kumar (Hindustani Vocal)
Answer to our prayers – Pt. Venkatesh Kumar (Hindustani Vocal)

I will continue to go backwards on the overnight and then finally finish with all presentations of the intensives that ran through the entire day 6.

Pts. Rajan & Sajan Mishra (Hindustani Vocal)
Vid. U Srinivas (Carnatic Mandolin)
Us. Shahid Pervez (Sitar)
Vid T V Gopalakrishna (Carnatic Vocal)
Us.Wasifuddin Dagar (Dhrupad)
Pt. Venkatesh Kumar (Hindustani Vocal)

This posting on SREENI On SPIC MACAY STAGE covers the overnight – at Natcon, SPIC MACAY, Surathkal. I will do a couple of more postings in mind, one on intensives and the other on life around the convention. I am keen to do it in the next twenty four hours. Kindly await for that interesting posting…

Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
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Last postings, tomorrow




Day 4 : SPIC MACAY – 27th National Convention, 2012 @ NITK Surathkal, Karnataka

Intensives : Kathakali by Kalamandalam, Kerala
Intensives : Kathakali by Kalamandalam, Kerala

For details on the intensives, morning yoga, Dr. Rajam and TN Seshagopalan’s performances, kindly visit the SPIC MACAY daily reports on SPIC MACAY Natcon Stage

Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
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Next posting tomorrow… Love. Sreeni

SPIC MACAY – 27th National Convention, 2012 @ NITK Surathkal, Karnataka – Day 3

Packed auditorium except for a few seats waiting for a few VIPs! I loved this wideangle
Packed auditorium except for a few seats waiting for a few VIPs! I loved this wideangle


I know what I can do;  Margi Madhu : Koodiyattam - Bali Vadham
I know what I can do; Margi Madhu : Koodiyattam – Bali Vadham

For detailed photo report on 3rd day, go to Sreeni on SPIC MACAY stage
Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
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Next posting tomorrow… Love. Sreeni

SREENI on STAGE : SPIC MACAY – 27th National Convention, 2012 @ NIT Suratkal, Karnataka – Day 1

Getting ready for the inaugurals - Bhima, Yakshagana Kichaka Vadha
Getting ready for the inaugurals – Bhima, Yakshagana Kichaka Vadha


The 27th national convention of SPIC MACAY took off at the serene and breezy NIT Suratkal Campus in Coastal Karnataka. It is an annual pilgrimage of dance, music and all art forms for scores of art lovers in India, and abroad… Join me, on this pilgrimage!

The day started with people pouring in from various parts of the country and abroad into this verdant campus of NIT Suratkal, that is like an Oasis next to the Ocean! Though very weary due to the travel (many in the unreserved on Indian railway trains), seeing the old friends they get to meet after a long interregnum created the festive mood. Hugging and cheering, singing and dancing, sharing and caring the camaraderie goes on for the next one week.

Mr. Suresh Goyal, Chairman, ICCR officially inaugurated exhorting youngsters to make use of SPICMACAY and like platforms for their personal growth in every sense.

This series starts with the first day of the 2012 convention –

  1. Welcoming concert – traditional Nadaswaram by Vid. Mambalam Siva (Nadaswaram)
  2. Outstanding traditional folk storytelling of Karnataka YAKSHAGANA by Padmashri Shri Chittani Ramachandra Hegde and troupe
  3. Prof. T N Krishnan (Carnatic Violin) enthralled the young and youthful rasiks with his fabulous renditions
  4. Begum Parween Sultana (Hindustani Vocal) took the gathering to new heights with her enchanting voice and natkat adas.

The performances are lively and invigorating as is the tradition; the stay and accommodation comfortable and inviting, the food sumptuous and filling and the air vibrant with friendship and bonhomie…. I am sure this convention will be remembered for a long time.

As is my vaunt, the compelling desire to tell a story and share is taking shape here in the form of my daily vibrant and spiritual postings. So await every day visual stories from SPIC MACAY Natcon from NIT Suratkal.

Just sit back, browse and enjoy.



For detailed report on Day 1, go to my ARTS BLOG – Sreeni on stage

Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
Like my Facebook – Photo and Visual Arts Page
Awaiting for the next post? will happen. Love. Sreeni

Volunteerism fuel movements – SPIC MACAY, my experiences

My last twenty-seven years of journey with SPIC MACAY has been a journey of exploring self. It has been a very soulful one. Though initiated into Music and Dance from early childhood at home by parents, SPIC MACAY did nurture and stroke my creative pursuits. As I entered into my forties, I can say that the richness of my life is only because of the movements like SPIC MACAY, especially SPIC MACAY being a complete voluntary movement – of the Rasiks, by the Rasiks for the Rasiks.

Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar saab at SPICMACAY convention, Kohima

Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar saab at SPICMACAY convention, Kohima

As a volunteer of SPIC MACAY from my college days, I have had the great opportunity to interact with the greatest Vidhwans of our rich culture. And I have many an anecdote to share. One of them stands out –

I was a student at IIM Bangalore. It was 1994, Ustad Bismillah Khan saab was on the campus, with his grand entourage for the SPIC MACAY concert. Ustadji is a man of little needs, but a few of his entourage members had too many wants. We were running around to meet all the demands of the entourage. The manager of Ustadji called me aside a few minutes before Ustadji entered the concert arena and said, “Kindly announce that audience should clap only between the pieces and not during the rendition as Ustadji will get very angry.” So I did, before the concert began. Ustadji commenced his performance and was in full flow; went on to play shehnai with so many subtle variations. I am sure many wanted to clap, but none did, as was the command. Ustadji expected appreciation at a few moments, but none came by. He stopped the performance and asked in his inimitable style, “Aadmi bhaithain hai ki koyi aur…. Itni bhadiya Shehnai bhajrahi hai, thalliyan kyo nahin?” Everyone in the audience laughed and all pointed hand towards me. Ustadji called me, “Idhar Aao,” and when I went near him, he held my ear and twisted and gave a tender slap on my cheek and said “Kabhi suna hai shastriya sangeet?” I smiled and apologized.

110 year old Baba, Ustad Rashid Khan saab is always very spirited

110 year old Baba, Ustad Rashid Khan saab is always very spirited

The 2010 convention at IIT Kanpur had another interesting episode. As the campus is a sprawling on, I looked for a bicycle to hire. As over thousand volunteers had descended from all over the world for the convention, all the cycles with every vendor have been hired out. I had to carry a large Camera Bag and accoutrements, so I went to a cycle rickshaw hiring shop and requested the owner to lend me one. With a lot of coaxing, he gave me a rickshaw at a rental of Rs.20/- per day. Along with my Camera equipments, my wife Indira and daughter Mallika also occupied the passenger seat occasionally, whenever they wanted to head in the direction I was headin. But whenever the passenger seat was empty, there were many people hopping on to rickshaw to reach the venue. So it was photographer-cum-rickshaw service provider, that I was, at the convention. It was wonderful being of value to many.

In Kohima convention, 2008, I found this boy, Karthik, from IIT Chennai, all alone every morning at 4am, religiously cleaning the entire kitchen and dining area, even before other participants woke up at the convention. There were umpteen instances when Manish with his courteousness and graceful smile always nodded his head, even after being at the receiving end of anger of many an elder – artists and others. I am sure each one has gained immensely being part of this movement.

It is really inspirational to experience elders like Kiranji actively initiating shramdaans by setting an example, Panchamji with all his humility going to any length to make the artists feel comfortable, Singhsaab in UP taking responsibility of organizing the performances across even when he does not keep well, Neerjaji running to make it reach around the world, Gangadeviji passionately pushing the movement in Andhra Pradesh and south; and the youth brigade is no less committed : Anshuman jain’s purposefulness to get the newsletter out at any cost, Rajasthan’s youthful team to be at the forefront of the number of concerts in any state, Supriti’s crisscrossing the country with single-minded pursuit to make the movement robust, Ricky’s vehement desire to get systems and processes in place to support such a growth… There are too many of them who make this movement a vibrant, lively, engaging and enriching…… I Salute each one

Panchamji and IITK volunteers with the maestro

Young and old, all are contributing to the FOLD of SPIC MACAY

Young and old, all are contributing to the FOLD of SPIC MACAY

Vivek and Radha from the Hong Kong and the US Chapters

Vivek and Radha from the Hong Kong and the US Chapters

Vivek and Radha from the Hong Kong and the US Chapters

The two stalwarts confabulating

The two stalwarts, Kiranji and Singhsaab, confabulating

The two stalwarts, Kiranji and Singhsaab, confabulating

This movement is also about volunteerism of the amazing and celebrated artists who give their love and time to inspire thousands of youngsters. It is a celebration of talent of this nation in a humble manner.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiaji, interacting with young volunteers and sharing with the essence of artforms, in his inimitable style

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiaji's humorous interactions with the young

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiaji’s humorous interactions with the young

I am sure if each one recalls, we will have a compendium of wonderful memoirs of this glorious movement, fuelled by volunteers. It is very important to treasure this exclusivity of volunteerism, yet we need to create a robust support system for the volunteers to excel, thrive and contribute. We need to reach our rich cultural heritage to at least a fifth of the population of our nation in the coming decade, which is about 300 million. Only Volunteerism be able to fuel such a progression.

The VISION 2020 Chintan exercise by volunteers

The Vision 2020 Chintan volunteers

The Vision 2020 Chintan volunteers

Hundred winks with the music..

Though many volunteers slog to reach out the best for each of the rasikas, a few push their boundaries beyond the ordinary to help every one. For them the dawn after the overnight final concerts is the time to catch a nap in a corner…

Gangadeviji catch her breath

Gangadeviji catch her breath

Roaring lion finally snores, Manish

Roaring lion finally snores, Manish

YOU MAY WISH TO see many more vibrant photos from the SPICMACAY Collection on my FLICKR stream.

The SPIC MACAY collection

Long live SPIC MACAY, Long live volunteerism!!

Gurus and Maestros

25th National Convention SPIC MACAY - IIT Kanpur OvernightDr. Sandhya Purecha and disciples @ Parampara festival - TrailokyamNagalandSPICMACAY-2008-06-19-0047NagalandSPICMACAY-2008-06-18-0040NagalandSPICMACAY-2008-06-17-015225th National Convention of SPICMACAY - Day 3
NagalandSPICMACAY-2008-06-16-0188Indian dance form - manipuriSpic Macay 25th National Convention, IIT Kanpur 2010Ananya - Justin McCarthy - 22 October 2010 (Friday)Malavika Sarukkai's Shakti ShaktimaanSPIC MACAY 25th national convention DAY 4
Navtej Johar @ IGNITE 2010Astad Deboo @ CWG - Central Park, CPShovana Narayan - Kathak - BVB mahotsavSuraj Kund MelaKathak Samaroh 2010Guru Purnima - Dance tributes
Pt. Ravi Shankar and AnoushkaAnanya - Justin McCarthy - 22 October 2010 (Friday)Ananya 2011: Day 2 - Vyjayanthi Kashi and Shambhavi Dance EnsembleFacesSpic Macay 25th National Convention,  IIT Kanpur 2010Aditi Mangaldas and troupe - Kathak @ Trailokyam, Natya Tarangini 2011

Maestros and Gurus, a set on Flickr.

This is a small tribute to Gurus and Maestros.

I have tried to get all the gurus and maestros that I have listened to, watched performing and interacted with thus far. There are many more young outstanding performers whom I have watched and interacted with, but have not included along with these visionaries. I am sure I will in due course of time.

Wonderful Mentor’s day

Starting with waking up at 4:30am and rushing to the station pillion riding on a 2-wheeler early morning at 5am, it was a great beginning for an exciting day that was in store for me. It started pouring mid-way to station. Drenched, entered the station, bought the ticket from Durg to Raipur, an hour away. By the time train left at 6:25, I was reasonably dry and noticed young boys and girls entering the train. In a while, four of them joined my cubicle and started discussing about their subjects. Realized that they were engineering grads discussion digital electronics. On inquiring, found out that they were second year students from NIT Raipur. I borrowed the book and browsed through, as I was not able to really figure out Karnaugh Map etc that I studied way back in 1986, a good quarter century ago! It was fun interacting with the youngsters. I realized that half of the train was heading to NIT Raipur from Bhilai!!

After an adventurous ride, got to Indus World School, Raipur and was delighted to see the excitement among the young students who are waiting to treat their mentors on the occasion of Teacher’s day. The whole day then on was full of surprises with children and mentors singing songs together, the mentors dancing to the music selected by the children, an audio visual of all the mentors with an interesting backgournd music, all the way cheered by students and mentors alike.

In the afternoon, all mentors were treated to a surprise lunch at Magneto mall and it was a gala affair worth witnessing with groups of mentors running around the food joints around the court to get their favourite dishes, but eventually every one grabbing from every other plate. They almost tasted all that the food court had to offer! They were no better than kids!

The final stretch of one hour in the electronic games arena witnessed a complete pell-mell with every mentor trying to play every game and a few hard fought competitions too. Children if were around would have chuckled all the way and may even shared that ‘we are better’!

Raj, the principal, acknowledged every one by giving away token appreciation to one and all for contributing to the journey of the school. Finally Raj took pains to see me off at the airport.

To my utter surprise, I watched Kiranji, founder of SPICMACAY and a couple of more elderly volunteers entering the security area ahead of me. They too were surprised by my arrival. I admire this gentleman, Kiranji, who has given his precious life for the cause of spreading culture among the youth along with the band of dedicated volunteers. They were heading back from Chattisgarh state convention, that I missed by a couple of hours. Kiranji shared with me the developments and how the whole state – Governor, CM and ministers all laid red carpet for SPICMACAY and the promise that the future holds.. I loved the interaction, as Kiranji emphasised that we will have to grow 10 folds this year and only way to do it is to push state governments to work towards reaching out at least 5000 government schools this year. I was taken in by the enthusiasm and the passion of this 60 year young gentleman.

While standing in the queue to get out of the waiting lounge to board the flight, I noticed a very familiar face being checked by the security. I smiled at him and he too acknowledged. Once he collected his hand baggage, he walked towards me and I confessed to him that he was very familiar and wanted to know whether he is Mr. Binayak Sen, the civil liberty activist. He said ‘yes’. I was humbled by this gentleman walking all the way and asking me who I was and what I was in Raipur for, just because I smiled at him from a good fifteen feet. We had a short chat as he was heading to Kolkata and my flight to Delhi was boarding. He shared his contact details with a promise that we will be in touch with.

On reaching Delhi, I paid my humble tribute to my gurus, Kiranji and other elders by dropping them at their respective stations and homes and felt very good about my small contribution to the cause of mentors this day.

I want to say a big thanks to all mentors in my life, gurus, teachers in various schools and mentors, young and old, each one has contributed to what I am today. Love you all. mmmmch..

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