Sunday, February 5, 2012

The tale of two events

Two completely unconnected , and perhaps insignificant, events in Bangalore provide the fodder for this Sunday's post. Both were unadvertised, and both were free in the sense there were no tickets. But the contrast could not be bigger

Today I went to a short Carnatic recital by Ranjani and Gayatri who are renowned singers in this genre. Carnatic music is enjoying a revival after it had gone comatose some 15 years ago. The recital was in Chowdiah Hall , Bangalore's only decent theatre hall. To my amazement, the hall was full; some 1000 people came to hear the duo sing. Granted the audience  mostly had white hair (or no hair) , but still ......  . Ranjani and Gayatri sing very well , they tandem together beautifully. Even if you don't have a taste for this genre, try listening to this piece from them. Lovely music. But even then, the packed hall stunned me.

A week ago, the National Badminton Championships were held at Bangalore. India is near world class in badminton. China, Indonesia etc are a class apart, but India nowadays features in the first division. Saina Nehwal was not taking part, but there was enough class on display. This year saw the emergence of the highly promising talent in 16 year old PV Sindhu who won the women's title. She is already near 6 feet and has a lovely game which will improve with age. In two years time, the prospect of Saina and Sindhu representing India in the Uber Cup makes you want to drool in anticipation. But back to the Nationals. Total audience - 50 ; of whom 49 were parents or friends of the players. Yours truly was probably the only unconnected  fan.

Getting a crowd in India should be no big deal - after all there are a lot of people in India. Chowdiah Hall fills up for any type of concert; any genre of music. Rock or Hindi film concerts have to be held open air in Palace Grounds to accommodate maybe 10,000 people. And there were 50 people to watch the badminton Nationals.

Now you know why India produces soulful music - Hindustani, Carnatic or Film. Now you also know why India wins nothing in sport.