Finally. Got me some time.
The flight to Sri Lanka was bad. We flew Jet. The Pilot taxied and surged up during take off, lurched a few times on the 50 min flight and plonked on the runway during landing....And the aero bridge refused to let itself get unstuck from the flight before take off. And when it did, since it was slightly cold, I asked for a blanket which smelt like it had never been washed. Almost choked. And the food came and then Tipu took off with some wise cracks which made me feel like I wanted to puke. I literally begged him to let me off. Since I am sensitive to toilet humour. He caught on to that note and didn't let go. Uncomfortable flight. To say the least. And a lady came up to me and said she would like to have my pic taken. That was one of the nice things about the flight. ;)
We were put up at Colombo Plaza. Awesome Hotel. Intended to do some swimming there. But couldnt manage it. Regret that. As soon as we landed, we dumped our things in the room and headed out to do some shopping. Some stuff are gr8 at Lanka. Clothes. And we headed out to House of Fashions. One of the countries that India is an advantage as long as the curency is concerned. They were having a long weekend. With Buddha Poornima and all. Its major there. The shopping centres were no doubt teeming with people. That done.
By the way inflation is horrendous in Sri Lanka. A kg of onions is 75 bucks, one caulifower is 300. And they confiscated all the mangoes we carried at Chennai Airport. The airport can open shop and sell mangoes. They would be so much richer.
We went to Sugadadasa Indoor Stadium, seating capacity of close to 6 thou, to do a sound check. After waiting for quite some time, my turn came. Mathangi, I came to know was very meticulous about checking out ALL the songs she had to sing. I have never done something like that, cos, at the end of the day, the final show has nothing to do with the rehearsal. Harish Raghavendra had once come straight from the Airport to the show and he said that it was one of his best concerts...... We went back to our room at close to 1 a.m.
Had a sound sleep till ten in the morning. Went again to do another sound check which didn't happen cos the Sound Eng. didn't turn up. Back to the room around 2:30 and we went to have lunch at close to 3 at a chinese restaurant. The food was just awesome. Didn't expect it from Sri Lanka. By the time it was close to 4:30 and had only enough time to take another shower and try to dress my hair. We reached the stadium and the show started on time.
This show was actually a talent hunt. Shakthi FM had organised Radio Superstar, to bring out all the local talents. The final 5 were chosen to sing on that day before Bharadwaj sir who gave the verdict that a Prashanthi from Colombo was the winner. She sang Poo Pookkum Osai and is richer by 1 Lakh local currency. Wonder why we didnt get stuff like that when I was taking part in some of the competitions. We got countless trophies and medals, which wouldnt have even our name inscribed on it. Its sad cos I might as well have not taken the trouble and gone to some place, bought the metal, and stack it up at home. *sigh*
The show started bang on time at 6:31. They were under pressure because the show had to go live on air from 7:30 onwards on Shakthi FM. To start with there was a crowd on some 1000-1200 in a 360 degree seating area. Thats tough. Half the people were behind me. The VIPs in the front. The Run Order was slightly upsetting. Harish was the opening batsman. And then Tipu and Mathangi sang 4 songs back to back. And Manicka Vinayagam sir got in a song of his which was based on the tsunami. Bharadwaj sir came in after that and he performed. And the competition started. After another couple of songs after the competition I finally went on stage. I had almost lost steam by then. It was first time performance for Jassie Gift Sir and me. Worse was Jassie Gift sir's entry was much later than mine. They could have given some consideration to two new people who were being introduced to the local audience for the first time. I sang "Ennai Theendi Vittai" from Kuthu, which they claimed was a super hit in Sri lanka, 4 lines of KMI before that, "Noothana" from Karka Kasadara, Dhoom and my song from New. Manicka Vinayagam sir could sing only 2 songs even though there were people who were waiting to listen to him.
Harish makes no ado and has an excellent sense of humour. He has this uncanny ability to mimic almost anyone to a T. Once he starts talking I have to really clutch on to my stomach so that I dont split my seams laughing.
The other songs that featured on the show were Kisu Kisu Manusha, January Maadham, Koduva Meesai, Andangakaka, Lajjawathiye, Raa Raa, Nyabagam Varudhe, Gilli, and some more.
The show over we got to sign a lot of autographs, with some books landing right on our faces. Some threw it at me to get the attention. We had to sign and throw it back since they were at the gallery and they had to lean down a lot to reach us or even throw the pens and papers at us. Some were like "akka akka please" or "anna anna".
Got back to the hotel and fell asleep. Didnt really get anything to eat since it was too late. Had ice cream :) Its a lot of work for mom during shows, right from the smallest thing to the way I sing and managing my tracks. Once a documentary film maker, researcher, now just a mother.
Some times she jokes that she is just my Aaya. Its not really a joke. But I know she misses her work. And its very tough for a die hard intellectual to not to do any intellectual work than run around behind the daughter's career.
Got up late the next morning, and we left to our friend's place to have lunch. And to the airport from there. Since it was a BuddhaPoornima, shopping was not possible as its a national holiday. So if you wanna holiday in Sri Lanka, make sure u dont get caught on one such day. Wanted to check out Odel, which is a great shopping place. Couldn't. They have also opened up in Chennai at Spencer Plaza but I dont know whether it will be that big here.
Swarnamaalya was on the flight with us. I chatted up with her. Hadn't seen her in a long time. I know her since the Anbulla Snehidhiye times. So we got updates on our lives, came to know she was an avid reader. She also hosts a show called Dhimi Thaka Tha on Shakthi TV.
Anbulla Snehidhiye is how I got to know our friends at Sri Lanka. Mrs. Mala Sivendran. Mr. Sivendran is a Civil Lawyer.They have two sons and a daughter. Nishendran, a Tennis Player ranked somewhere around 400 in the international arena, under 18, Harendran and Mayuri. Mayuri was the start point. I first met her at Apollo Hospitals. She was in there due to brain cancer. She is a fighter. All of 7 years. I first met her 3 years back. Her mom wanted to keep her as happy as possible and indulged her every wish and whim of her seeing actors like Jothika, Vikram, Vijay, Ajith, Shalini, Trisha and then someone like me. The kid loved the title song of Anbulla Snehediye. And she wanted to meet me and hear me sing that. Since Mrs Mala is friends with Mrs. Khushboo, things were a bit easy. She called Madras Talkies and got across to us. So I met the girl and her mother there. And for that the family was thankful. They placed their Merc at our disposal whenever we wanted throughout the trip, in addition to the transport provided by Shakthi Group. We share a great bond now and I hope and pray it lasts.
One request here, though the kid has recovered miraculously, it would be nice if who ever is reading this blog could just pray for her for one minute. So that her parents, could enjoy her company for some more time, so that a family can be fuller for some more time, so that they can hear her laughter and prattle for some more time. Collective Prayers are super effective.
Coming back to Chennai, the Airport authorities thought we were smuggling gold in to the country since they saw a lot of metal. So we opened our baggage and showed the disappointed authorities that all the metal they saw was costume jewellery.
As soon as we stepped out, the heat almost slapped our faces. But regardless of the heat, the grime, dust, I love my city and my Home. Its where my heart is ....