Saturday, December 31, 2011

SAPTHAK; A dream come true in Bengaluru. An update!

 Sapthak recently celebrated its Seventh anniversary at the prestigious Chowdiah Memorial Auditorium. Two leading artists, Pandita Shubhada Paradkar (Vocal) and  Pandit Bhudaditya Mukherjee (Sitar) performed. A grand success and a well attended program. Particularly satisfying for Tara as Shubhada Paradkar was her teacher for a while when we lived in Bangkok. It was  nostalgic as Shubhadaji stayed with us. In addition our friend Lakshminaryan,  M.D. Harman Kardon, also a well-wisher and a supporter of Sapthak, inaugurated the function along with Mr. Sri G.K.Veeresh, President of Academy of Music, Chowdaiah Hall.The program was well reviewed in The Hindu and other papers.

Here are few pictures of the occasion:
The Banner with the names of the sponsors.

Tara Srinidhi was  the compere of the program
G. S. Hegde thanks M. Lakshminarayan
M. Lakshminaryan, G.K. Veeresh and Hedge lighting the lamp.

Pandita Shubhada Paradkar


An enjoyable moment for the artists and the audience.
Sapthak family!
A close up
Pandit Vyasmurti Katti being felicitated.

Udayraj Karpur receiving a bouquet of flowers
G S Hegde thanks Sushila Mehta, Presedent of Sursagar
The audience

The artists with Dhananjay Hegde and Gurusangappa Hugar

Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee


Pandit Ravindra Yavgal being thanked.

An introduction to Sapthak:
When Hegdeji called me one day and announced that he is retiring from the Karnataka Bank, I was a bit surprised as he looks too young to retire. As another retiree, I wondered 'How is he going to keep busy?'  In fact, he is deeply involved with SAPTHAK, an organisation he has created on his own. Hence, while the bank  misses a hard working employee, music has gained a very dedicated and a genuine devotee!

 I had met G. S. Hegde about a decade ago, the time his wife Geethaji came to Bangkok to teach Hindustani music to Tara and Viji and a few others. Bangkok which was starved for good teachers benefited immensely. The trio, Viji, Tara and Gayathri, also arranged concerts of her son Dhananjay and Hegdeji accompanied him on the tabla. But, it is only after my return to Bangalore that I got to know Hegdeji better and his total dedication to music and about his organisation Sapthak.

Sapthak is dedicated to promoting Hindustani classical music and other cultural activities. Hegdeji says: like the Seven Swaras in Sapthak, it has seven core objectives.
  • To provide a platform to budding and upcoming artistes.
  • To organise concerts of renowned artists and music maestros.
  • To encourage by awarding scholarships to the needy, but talented students of classical music.
  • To promote classical music learning by conducting lecture and demonstration workshops by eminent scholars.
  • To honour senior musicians, music teachers and organisers of classical music concerts.
  • To extend a helping hand to elderly musicians by way of monetary help.
  • To join hands with other institutions and organise music concerts by famous musicians.
Hegdeji, to make his dream come true has built a beautiful concert hall on the second floor of his house, Sushravya, which has a capacity to accommodate about two hundred people.

Hegdeji has been active for many years with music in varied ways. He founded Sapthak on 6th May 2006, registered as a charitable trust and since its inception has crossed many milestones in a short period of five years. He is rightfully proud of its achievements so far, which he hopes to continue to promote and sustain into the future. Here are a few highlights:
  • Organised numerous music concerts by well known and outstanding musicians from all over the world.
  • Conducted workshops at the Sapthak 'Sabhangana' for the benefit of students and lovers of music.
  • Felicitated  senior music maestros to honor their contribution to music and its upliftment.
  • Encouraged needy and talented students by awarding scholarships to the tune of Rs. 82,000/- per annum,
  • Helped senior musicians by offering medical aid to the extent possible.
  • Encouraged other art forms and  introduced them to music lovers, by organising Thalamuddale, Nudinamana and Nada nudi yaksha namana programs.
  • Celebrated Gurupoornimas regularly by arranging concerts at Sapthak Sabhangana to inculcate guru-shishya paramapara and also to prepare them to give public performances.
  •  Organised many Baithaks with the intention of providing public platform for upcoming talented young artistes.
  • Released Audio CD's under the banner of Sapthak, of  kumari Anagha Bhat, a disciple of Smt. Geeta Hegde.
  • Helped other institutions by organising culturally related programs.
 I was curious and asked him how, with a career in a bank, he had developed such a deep passion for music in all its varied forms. He said that he treated music in an 'Aradhana Manobhava'    (A worshipful attitude towards music)  even as a young man. In fact, one of the attributes he sought in the girl he would marry was her ability to sing! Geethaji, his wife, belongs to the Keramane  family of artistes in the tradition of  Yakshagana.

His dedication to music became stronger as his son Dhananjay Hegde, a renowned young vanguard artist of today, was discovered to be a child prodigy. He chose to dedicate all his time and energy to encourage his son's talent for music. He even opted to forgo his promotion as a manager, as he wanted to live in Bangalore, so that his son's tutelage under the guidance of Pandit Vinayak Torvi went unhindered.

Geethaji began learning classical music after her marriage and is now a very sought after teacher in Bangalore. Her speciality is that she gives one-on-one lessons to students thus providing individual attention. Many of her students are now well known in the field of music as performing artistes.

It is remarkable that the family is totally involved in music and is dedicated to it in all its genres. Not easy, as the admission to the concerts are free. The artistes, however are compensated directly by Sapthak, except  in a few concerts, which are arranged jointly with the help of donors and sponsors.

He says his dream is to make Sapthak a center for encouraging Hindustani music in all its aspects. He feels he could to do more by building a corpus fund, which will enable him to arrange more programs and encourage even greater number of artists. To this effect, Sapthak has obtained an exemption under section 80G(g) (vi) of the Income Tax act 1961, and donors can avail of this tax rebate.

We feel that Sapthak is an organisation which deserves to be encouraged and supported  to the fullest. As you can see a phenomenal amount of work is done and more can be achieved with help.
  • By donating generously to build the corpus fund.
  • Sponsoring Programmes.
  • Creating an endowment fund for either conducting programmes or to award scholarships
Today, Sapthak is deeply indebted to Karnataka Bank, Mangalore, Balachandra Naikanakatte Trust, Bangalore, Sackhumvit Trust, Bangalore for their continued support and patronage and a few individuals as well. We hope and urge that more will come forward to help.

Here are a few pictures which illustrate the extent to which Sapthak has grown, mainly due to Hegdeji's efforts and some well meaning organisations.

The stage at Sapthak Sabhangana

Seeking the blessings of Lord Ganesha

Press clippings of the many concerts arranged by Sapthak
A full house is a normal feature at a Sapthak concert.

A few more clippings.

Artist Shafiqe Khan on Sitar and Raghunath Nakod on the tabla.

Pandit Taranath on the Sarod and Pt.Partho Chatterjee on the Sitar
Pt.Praveen Godkindi on the Flute

A collage of the many programs.

The class room at Geethaji's home.
Students felicitate their Gutu Geethaji during Gurupoornima.

Dhananjay Hegde at a concert. He also works as a Manager at Karnataka Bank.

The very dedicated couple!

The first generation!

The present and the future. Dhanajay, Pratima and Suyog

A review in the news paper Hindu about a sapthak program

A link to one of the programs organised by Sapthak.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It is optimism time!

Merry Christmas and Happy new year!

Being totally immersed in the Mahabharata times, I  found it hard to blog about anything that will bring a cheer! 

 Scanned papers and my mail and luckily found something to cheer about. 

The common man's voice: Abhay KDec 14, 2011, 12.00AM IST --TOI

Creation of a global parliamentary assembly at the UN would be in India's interest.   

A second chamber at the UN - directly elected by the people across the world as a new subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) - can make the world's citizens stakeholders in the UN system and global governance. In the UNGA, India has just one seat and so do, for instance, Samoa and Tuvalu, both of which have a population of just a few thousands...This major lacuna in the present Westphalian world order could be overcome by creating a directly elected United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA).

In the beginning, members of the UNPA could be elected by the parliaments of the 193 UN member states... But at a later stage, its members should be directly elected by the world's citizens. The UNPA will probably have about 800 elected members, distributed on the basis of degressive proportionality with each member state having at least two seats.

  India, being the second largest country in the world in terms of population size (and soon to be the largest), should have the second largest number of seats in a UNPA. Indian representatives in the UNPA would be a formidable force and could become a source of great influence for India in shaping global affairs. This would complement India's global influence as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (whenever India becomes a permanent member).

India itself is a laboratory for democracy on a large scale and thus can offer its extensive experience in building a workable UNPA.

  If you are worried about foisting Indian parliamentarians onto the world stage, looking at the antics of our fathers of the Nation, we are right to be worried! Hope is round the corner. Here is a Fw. I saw recently in my mail box.

Winds of Change....
 forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list;
in turn ask each of them to do likewise.

In three days, most computer literate people in India will have this message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

_*Reform Act of 2011*_

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

Parliamentarians collect a salary while in office but should not receive any pay when they're out of office.

2.  Parliamentarians should purchase their own retirement plans, just as all Indians do.

3. Parliamentarians should no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Their pay should be linked to the CPI or 3%, whichever is lower.

4. Parliamentarians should  lose their current health care system and participate in the same health care system as the Indian people.

5. Parliamentarians should  equally abide by all laws they impose on the Indian people.

6. All contracts with past and present Parliamentarians should be void effective 1/1/12. The Indian people did not make this contract with them.  Parliamentarians  made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Parliament  is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in India) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX Parliamentarians !

Friday, December 9, 2011

My fashion statement.

Last week while at the golf course, I noticed Ram looking at my shoes with an expression which said 'What kind of shoes are these?' To be honest they look terrible!
My Designer shoes

Here is the story why my shoes have this strange look: The shoes were brown to begin with.
Being in a rush one early morning I used black polish instead of  brown. As I soon as I realised my mistake I applied black allover, hoping that it would take the middle path become dark brown. I remember we used to have only brown and black shoes when young and I guess dark brown was invented only to help chaps like me! Anyway it did not work and the shoes have splotches of black on a brown back ground. They are my best golf  shoes, very comfortable and so what the heck!

I call them 'Manufacturing defect.
Then the lace broke and I went to the shop and bought lace with same diameter as earlier. But I had picked up much a shorter boy's laces, actually the shop keeper gave me a strange look, but kept his counsel. Did not check it till it was time to leave for my game in the morning and discovered my mistake. Too early for the shops to be open. So I had to use alternative holes in the shoe to make it work. In fact, it is good value engineering as we save 50% of the thread in the new style. I know  I will get around to it and change the lace, but I have decided to live with my discolored shoes as long as they last. In any case Ram thought it was a new style!

While on the subject, take a look at these slippers.
 I call them 'The manufacturing defect'!

They are neither shoes nor slippers. My guess is that the company produced a batch of shoes with a defective heel and a value engineer  redesigned the shoes to salvage them. In any case, they do not come any cheaper and use less leather!

I just noticed  a layer of dust on my slippers. I took the picture after my walk! Time for Cherry Blossom co. to invent a 'Bangalore Brown' shoe polish.  Will avoid being told 'Your slippers are dirty, wipe them!'  In Bangalore it is a no-win situation for a fellow who likes to walk. Dust is inevitable!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My paradigm vanished.

When we announced our plans to move to Bengaluru, friends asked: 'Where are you going to stay?'  We replied: 'We have booked an apartment with all the facilities in J P Nagar. It should have been ready by now, but we hope we can move in an year's time.' Then Tara would add: 'Till then we will stay on the first floor of my father's house. He lives in the ground floor and manages very well. It is remarkable the way he does it. He has two paying guests. A cook who comes in the morning and make breakfast, lunch and dinner. And a maid who takes care of other things. He is totally independent and amazing at his age. He is 90 plus.'

Then a few close friends asked us both in Bangkok and Bengaluru 'Why go elsewhere?'. The answer was 'Nidhi likes to play tennis, use the gym and go for a swim. The apartment complex has these facilities. Moreover he loves (addicted!) to play golf and his club is closer to JP nagar'.

Anyway that was my paradigm! The scientists may frown that I have used basically a scientific term, but I have seen that people love to use the word 'pardigm shift'. I think it is the management gurus who hijacked this word and it is now a cliche'.

Then it happened! Tara got a job as a teacher at CIS in Yelahanka. A 30km ride from JP nagar. While the apartment got ready, shifting there became impractical as it would have been too hard on Tara. My first reaction was, let her know what it was to commute 50 kms, the way I did in Bangkok! But  we realised soon that asking appa to move with us, which looked easy while we were in Bangkok, had many issues that had to be resolved. He was well set, sentimentally attached to the place and was still fairly independent! There were moments when he needed Tara around, but very rarely. Also my very close friends Mouli and Raghu both felt it was better not to contemplate a move at this moment.

But I was getting restless and bored and Tara said she was ready to move and would manage to take care of appa when necessary, but would prefer to stay in a place closer to Kumara Park! We looked at some other bubbles which had all the facilities and liked them. But the apartments on offer were all second sales and owners wanted money in two colors in spite of all noise made by Anna Hazare. He of course was targeting corrupt politicians and officials, not enterprising investors. (Hopefully their time too shall come!). Desperate, I even wished that there was an ATM type of machine, govt approved, which changed color of the money, for a reasonable fee!

That is the moment when my paradigm vanished. You may be tempted to correct me and say it was a paradigm shift. For a while it was more of a paradigm paralysis, failure to look at the reality,  then it became clear and thoughts of moving out from here just 'vanished'.

We Indians also call it destiny! While playing golf , Gopi visiting from Seattle, asked me 'When are you moving to JP nagar?'  The answer came to me as if  I heard a voice from above, (The effect of blogging about Mahabharata!) and I said 'It all depends on the stars of Bhuvana and at the moment it is very strong!' And explained before he thought that I had lost my mind, 'She is appa's maid and she has taken care of him all these years and she does not want him to move!'

Believe me that there are no paradigms in one's life and it is in a constant flux and is influenced by factors beyond one's imagination and understanding!  I know what my friends will say! 'I told you so!