I told you that I was going to do something new every day in January.  A bit much, but as and when I remembered, I did do a bunch of little new things.  Oh, and one BIG thing.

I wrote about my on-again, off-again relationship with paatu class – rushing to quit, and pining for lessons immediately after quitting (  In the spirit of trying something new, decided to bite the bullet.  Last week, I tried out for a paatu teacher, who lives less than five minutes away and has an open slot on sundays at 8 am.  Super convenient that even I couldn’t come up with any excuses.  I belted out my (relatively) newly learnt “Enna Thavam Seidhanai”, and felt v. pleased to hear teacher say that I probably would have been really good when I was singing as a kid.

So.  I showed up nice and early on sunday, eager to learn a new paatu.  I had told the teacher that my short-term goal was to learn 10 new paatus before the next Golu season.  And my long-term goal was to eventually be able to sing the Pancharatna krithis.  Sounds cool, no?  Anyway, I showed up and the teacher said, “Before we start learning keerthanais, let’s first revise the Aabhogi varnam.  You know Aabhogi, right?”  I asked her “which one is that?” (red flag, right there), and upon being told that it is “Evvari”, sufficient light bulbs went off in my head to confirm that I did know this varnam.

I started singing, and realized that beyond the first couple of lines, I had no clue as to what was going on.  Agreed, my last lesson was 29 years ago (eeek!!!!) but still couldn’t believe that my memory was this bad.  Realized later that I should have offered to sing “Ninnukori” instead (although, would probably have been distracted by Amala’s Agni Nakshatram version playing in my head).  Stumbled through the swarams, declined the teacher’s offer to “review” the saahityam as well (“let’s do that next week, please”), and made a borderline dignified exit.

Later, while practicing at home, realized that I had actually quit paatu class right in the middle of learning this particular Aabhogi varnam.  Yikes!!  Was momentarily thrown off with the realization that I now have to sing all the swarams correctly next week, on a song that I have actually never learned.  Hmmmm…. Still.  Aabhogi is simple and elegant (as my friend, L put it), and seems very logical in construction to me.  Plus, this is the first varnam that L typically teaches her students, apparently.  Which I find encouraging.  And am liking the daily half hour practices that I have been subjecting the family to since sunday.  I feel like I am actually making progress, and am only stumbling on every other line now.

So.  I am not licked yet (is this the right terminology anymore?).

Yay to Round 2 of Paatu (ooooh, that rhymes!). 🙂


2 thoughts on “Varnam

  1. Good for you Kavita. You go Girl!!
    BTW please pass me the number of the teacher and where she lives, lets see if I have the same luck……..:)

    • Rani, will email you the contact info for the teacher. Maybe we can go to class together and kalakkax next Golu season!! Aana, you might be senior batch, I think, after having heard you sing over the years.

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