Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This weekend was the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal. We drove west to spend time with the family, for this festival which is a wonderful gastronomic delight, a bit like American Thanksgiving. Saturday night was a meeting of the local Tamil association (an rapidly expanding group apparently, caused by the relocation of many companies outside London - cheaper rents etc - especially IT firms). The evening was a bit of a variety show with lots of small children showcasing their poetry, dance, and singing skills (even a rendition of Abba's "Dancing Queen!"). There were wonderful performances by genuine musicians too, playing the veena (a stringed instrument), mridangam (type of drum) and violin.

South Indian violin is the same instrument as the western violin, but it is played in a different way. The musician sits cross-legged on the floor with the violin propped on his/her knee and resting on the chest (no cricks in the neck!). To the audience the musician appears totally relaxed, and as though playing requires no effort at all, which is obviously not the case. Our particular event saw the very talented Balu Raguraman from the Institute for Indian Art and Culture in London, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, which runs excellent music and dance classes (we've been to concerts there over the years).

With a six hour round trip, reading HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX out loud to the Giri is coming on apace. Harry has received terrible detentions - writing out I must not tell lies with a special quill that writes not in ink on the paper, but carves the word into his hand, blood welling (urgh). All school organizations and teams have been banned, by order of the High Inquisitor and Harry is planning to start extracurricular tutorials on Defence Against the Dark Arts for his fellow pupils. Drumroll...


Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Days before Pongal I made a mental note to come here and wish you, but forgot to do so! Anyway, here's wishing you and hubby a Happy Pongal, albeit belated, it sounds like you had a nice time!

11:59 pm  
Blogger equiano said...

Thank you dear lotus, and also to you - I'm guessing you celebrated similarly.

1:27 pm  

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