Longer than the English alphabets

While surfing through the net, I came across this name on a obituaty website.


All in one word with 28 English alphbets.

If dissect the name, one will end up with at least 5 Tamil names.


However the trader from Northern Province of Jaffna, Sri Lanka has shorten his name to Sivapatham.

Just wondering how he managed to write his name on a passport form or on the online forms?

Rest in peace Sivapathasomasuntharalingam!

நாதஸ்வரத்தில் திரைப்பாடல்

Tamil cinema-song played on a  South Indian classical wind instrument. This instrument referred as “Naatha swaram” made out of wood.

பத்தும் பலதும்

வரியந்தோரும் நடக்கும் யாழ்ப்பாணக் கோவில் திருவிழாக்களில் தவில் நாதசுர கச்சேரிகள் சகஜம். கோயில்களுக்கேற்ப 10, 15,25 நாட்களென திருவிழாக்கள் தொடரும். திருவிழாக் கடைசி நாட்களில் முக்கியமாக சப்பறம், தேர், தீர்த்தம் , பூங்காவனம் போன் ற  திருநாட்களில் பல தவில் நாதஸ்வர வித்துவான்கள் கச்சேரிக்கு வருவார்கள்.  இவர்கள் கச்சேரி, கடைசியில் மேளச் சமாவுடன் முடிவு பெறும்.

பிரசித்தி பெற்ற யாழ்  நல்லூர் கந்தசுவாமி கோவில் திருவிழாக்களில் 23ம் நாள் தேர் உற்சவம் நடைபெறும். காலையில் தேர் இழுத்த பிற்பாடு,  பிற்பகலில் சாமி இறக்குவதற்கு முன் தவில் /நாதஸ்வரக் கச்சேரி  மிகவும் ஆவலுடன் எதிர்பார்க்கப்படும்.  இது இலங்கை வானொலியில் அநேகமாக ஒலிபரப்பப்பட்ட காலமும் உண்டு. (தற்போதய நிலை தெரியாது).

கிராமப்புற கோவில் திருவிழாக்களில் தவில் கச்சேரிக்குப் பின்னால்  “சின்ன மேளம்” நடனக்குழு, பொப் இசை பாடல் குழு என இத்தியாதி இத்தியாதி. இதற்காக இரசிகர் கூட்டம் பல தூர இடங்களில் இருந்து படையெடுக்கும். இதைவிட இலங்கை இந்திய புகழ் பெற்ற யாழ் மகன்  தட்சனாமூர்த்தியின் கச்சேரிக்கு சொல்லவா வேண்டும். தவில் மேதையை பார்ப்பதற்கென்றே மக்கள் கூட்டம் வாரி வாரியாக வந்திறங்கும்.

சிறுவயதில் மீசாலையில்  வெறுங்கால்களுடன் மணல் வீதிகளை உலாத்தி  வெள்ளை மாவடி பிள்ளையார் கோவில் திருவிழாக்களை பார்த்த காட்சி இன்றும் பசுமையாக நினைவில் உள்ளது.  சாவகச்சேரி நாதஸ்வர  வித்துவான் ஸ்ரீ பஞ்சாபிகேசன், கோண்டாவில் பாலக்கிருஷ்ணன் நாதஸ்வர சகோதரர்கள், தவில் கணேசன், கானா மூர்த்தி –…

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Musically yours, from Jaffna

It is an  old article  about a youngster from Jaffna. Hope he reaches his endeavors in due course.

SRINIVASA RAMANUJAM The Hindu Chennai, January 27, 2016


Meet Sri Lanka-based 21-year-old Thuvarakan, whose covers of Tamil songs are gaining popularity on social media.

In all his music videos, T. Thuvarakan is a picture of concentration. Playing two keyboards simultaneously, his fingers deftly search for the right note, not missing them even on one occasion. A big fan of Tamil film music, the 21-year-old’s most recent videos are that of hit Kollywood songs, including ‘Thalli Pogathey’ (Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada), ‘Thangamey’ (Naanum Rowdy Dhaan) and ‘Aaluma Doluma’ (Vedalam).

What’s so special, you might ask. Thuvarakan is doing all this in his nondescript room at Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he was born and lived through three civil wars — in 1995, 2000 and 2006. And, he can play a dozen instruments, including the mridangam, tabla, morsing, violin and guitar. “Jaffna is famous for its culture. But due to the conflict, musicians here do not have access to technology like our counterparts in the Indian film industry. Of late though, the signs are encouraging; people are trying to produce their own albums and short films,” he says.

His passion for music started when he was just three. His father, a singer, was his inspiration at that time. “I started listening to Tamil film songs in my childhood. My father, who is also my first music guru, taught me the popular ‘Kanne Kalaimaane’ song,” he recalls in an e-mail interview. Soon, Thuvarakan was enrolled for mridangam classes, an instrument in which he showed promise.

In 2012, even as he struggled with his studies, he formed a music band called Vaanavil. Consisting of 18 members, the band plays Carnatic, English, Tamil and Sinhala songs. The reach of the band might be restricted, but Thuvarakan seems to be making use of social media to get noticed. “In Jaffna, we have very less media support; they do not give priority to Tamil musicians,” he writes. “We are dependent on social media to reach our talent to the world. It also helps us get exposed to different styles of music.”

After finishing his Ordinary Level Exam, Thuvarakan got a chance to use social media to his advantage. His first independent release was a song he composed for his school cricket match. Buoyed by the appreciation he received, Thuvarakan did a cover version of the ‘Yaendi’ song from Puli and uploaded it. “I got a lot of positive feedback for that,” he says. Soon, he was working on other covers of songs from hit Tamil films. The youngster, who considers Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman, as his role models, dreams of becoming a composer in the Indian music industry someday. “I will finish my university education in four years and then shift to Chennai to make my dreams come true,” he says.

Check out his work at

A great moment for the photographer!

There are times that you have to be at the right time at the right place!

Here is a photo captured by an Aus-Lankan while touring in Sri Lanka. One of the infants of the monkey is enjoying a drink from his mum while the other is having a cuddle.

Daljit Raj Chelliah a keen photographer captured this moment at the top of the cave- temple hills of Dambulla (தம்புளை) located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka.

The cave temple is archeologically conspicuous land mark of Sri Lanka  whose inhabitants dates back to the third Century BC.  During 10 -12 CE Dambulla was ruled by the Viceroy of Raja-Raja Cholan of Tamil Nadu.


dambulla rock temple

Family time! (Photo credit: Daljit Raj Chelliah)

Happy New 2016

Wishing everyone a very bright  peaceful new year!


Savoury milk rice with hot chillie sambal (kattai sambal)


Jaffna specialty for the first day of the year!

கீறல்கள்- கமல் ஹாசன் (Two sketches of Kamal)

An article written in Tamil on the 60th Birthday of Kamal Hasan.
The sketches were drawn by me 40 years ago.

பத்தும் பலதும்

கமலுக்கு வயது60!

நம்பவே முடியவில்லை.

இப்போது நினைத்தாலும் சிரிப்பும் வருகிறது.

அந்தக் காலத்தில் கமல ஹாசன் மீது இருந்த டீன் ஏஜ் கிரேஸ்.

யாழ்ப்பாணத்தில், கடந்த நூற்றாண்டின் எழுபதுகளின் மத்தியில் இருக்கும். கொஞ்சம் தமிழர்களின் நிம்மதியான காலம்.

எப்போதுமே MGR, சிவாஜி முகங்களை திரையில் பார்க்கும் அலுப்பு.

அதுவும் வயதில் முதிர்ந்தவர்கள் இளவயது நடிகைகளுடன் நெருங்கி நடிக்கும் காலகட்டம்.


அங்காங்கே பொங்கலுக்கு பயற்றம் பருப்பை சேர்த்தால் போல் முத்துராமன், ஜெய்சங்கர் படங்கள்.

இதே நேரத்தில் ரசிகர்களிடையேயும் மாற்றம். நடிகர்களுக்காக படம் பார்க்காமல் இயகுநர்களுக்காக படம் ஓடத்தொடங்கிய நாட்கள். இதில் முதலிடம் பெற்றவர்கள் ஸ்ரீதர், கே. பாலசந்தர் போன்றோர்.

இந் நேரத்தில் தமிழ் திரையுலகில் ஓர் புதுமுகம்.

மிகவும் இளையவர்.

சிறு வேடங்களில் பலபடங்களில் தலை காட்டியவர்.

இளவயது பெண் ரசிகர்களுக்கிடயே பிரபலமாகிக் கொண்டிருந்தவர்.

யாழ்ப்பாணத்தில் முதல் முதலாக எனக்கு பார்க்க கிடைத்த அவருடைய படம்: அவள்-ஒரு-தொடர்கதை.

விகடகவியாக காந்திக் கண்ணாடியுடன் நடித்த பாத்திரம்.

இப்படம் 75 – 76 களில் யாழ்-டவுன் பஸ் தரிப்பு நிலையத்திற்கு பக்கக்தில் உள்ள ராணி தியேட்டரில் ஓடிய நினைவு.

தியேட்டருக்கு முன் நடிகை சுஜாதாவின் மிகவும் பிரமாண்டமான கட்-அவுட் (wooden cut-out) அலங்காரம்.

சனிக்கிழமை மட்னீ ஷோ (matinee show) – சாம் மாஸ்டரின் கெமிஸ்ரி டியூஷன் கிளாஸ் முடித்து, (Sam Master’s Chemistry tuition class) சொந்தங்களுடன் சுண்டிக்குளியில் இருந்து பஸ் பிடித்து போய்…

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The Travels of “Biryani”




  Photo Credits: Sterling Travels & Twitter

Jaffna Oh my Jaffna! (WPC :Cover Art)


Palmyra  is the iconic palm  in Jaffna – the Northern Province of  Sri Lanka. The beauty of the Borassus palm  is that each part of the tree, from the root to the tip has an economic use.


Palmyra Palm Tree in Jaffna

Palmyra Palm Tree in Jaffna

The leaves of the palm is  fan shaped and the mono-cot could grow up to 3 meters.  A fermented drink   toddy (kallu) is also made from the sap of the  young  floweret (inflorescence). The chosen photo would be the Cover art if I had to write a book about Jaffna oh my Jaffna!

Cover Art.

Keerimalai Kerni – WPC : Humanity

“Keerimalai- Kerni”
Keerimalai Hot springs, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

"Keerimalai- Kerni" Keerimalai hotsprings, jaffna Sri Lanka

The above  shot  was taken  two years ago at  Keerimalai – Kerni  (hot springs), Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The  hot spring pool  is a  very well known historical site in Jaffna. The springs are separated for each gender and this picture  captures the open-men-well area. The picture shows a typical day at the hot springs when public enjoys a dip.

The  wall adjacent to the ocean was open until Tsunami in 2004. Unfortunately Tsunami waves took away few lives while they were bathing in this pool. Since then the a wall has been added as a safety measure (beige colour wall)


The great soul  Mahathma Gandhi said:

“You must not lose faith in humanity.

Humanity is an ocean.,

If a few drops of the ocean are  dirty,

the ocean does not become dirty


This photo is an entry for the daily post photo challenge:

Jaffna thavil “vithuvaan” Thatchanaamoorthy

Thavil vithuvaan  Thatchanaamoorthy is a well-known artiste among the  Jaffna Carnatic music lovers.

For those who are unfamiliar with this type of two sided percussion, here are some details:

A hollow barrel shaped “thavil”  drum is  made of  animal skin and wood.  The barrel of the drum is made from  the wood of jak fruit ( ) and the skin is from water buffalo and goat for the either side of the  barrel. The thavil is generally accompanied  with a wood wind instrument called  “nathaswaram” .  The thavil and Nathaswaram combination is  traditionally played in south Indian and north Sri Lankan Hindu Temples, weddings and at auspicious festivals. These ensembles  have 2 thavils (1st & 2nd)  and 2 nathaswarams.

The best ensembles of T & N  are hailed from  Thanjavoor in Tamil Nadu so it  was indeed  magnanimous   for maestro  Thatchanaamoorthy   to shine among the Thanjavoor thavil  artistes.

Thatchannamoorthi was well received whenever he performend in Jaffna Hindu temples. People gather in droves from far away villages to hear his drumming and  to get a glimpse of the maestro. I have many recollections of the conversations my late father had with my uncles and the other “meLLa” fans of late Thatchanaamoorthi. Legend has it that  on one  temple occasion the genius  played  for nearly five hours!

My memory serves correct, his  recorded ensembles were broadcasted  via the South Indian radio stations almost 40 years ago.  I wish success to his family in the mammoth task of  retracing some of his performances for the future generation to cherish.

Below is an article published on The Hindu where his family is searching for his old recordings:

A Jaffna thavil maestro’s Thanjavur connection

Meera Srinivasan The Hindu JAFFNA, December 22, 2013 

Thakshanamoorthi pillai

Thavil Vithuvaan Dakshinamurthy Pillai remains a peerless giant in the world of percussion

Late Dakshinamurthy Pillai remains a peerless giant in the world of percussion

It was during his few years in Thanjavur that thavil maestro Yazhpanam Dakshinamurthy Pillai saw his career peak. It was also in Thanjavur that he got rather disillusioned with the music field. Nearly four decades after his passing away, Dakshinamurthy Pillai remains a peerless giant in the world of percussion. “He was a rare phenomenon. He came, he conquered and he perished,” said Yazhpanam Ganesan, summing up his cousin Dakshinamurthy Pillai’s life.

“Just as he conceived complex rhythmic permutations and combinations, his fingers would effortlessly execute them with utmost clarity,” said Mr. Ganesan, himself a Nagaswaram artist. But until date, the family of Dakshinamurthy Pillai has not been able to retrieve a single recording of his performance in Tamil Nadu.

“We don’t have any video recording, either,” said Yazhpanam Udayasankar, carrying on his father’s legacy. He is the only one among Dakshinamurthy Pillai’s five children to stay back in Jaffna, as a thavil artise. “My brother who lives in Canada also plays the thavil.”

A self-taught genius

Dakshinamurthy Pillai — a largely self-taught genius — went to Thanjavur on the insistence of Needamangalam Shanmugavadivel, a thavil wizard in his own right. “Appa [father] made very good friends there like musicologist B.M. Sundaram, AKP annan (thavil exponent Haridwaramangalam A.K. Palanivel) and Kaliyamurthy annan. They were all passionate musicians, constantly exchanging ideas,” said Mr. Udayasankar.

Dakshinamurthy Pillai had the highest regard for Nagaswaram giant T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai’s music. “He has played for stalwarts like Karukurichi Arunachalam on many occasions,” said Jaffna-based violinist Uthirapathi Radhakrishnan, a nephew of Dakhinamuthy Pillai. He would bring artists from Tamil Nadu to Jaffna for performances as well.

Despite such strong links and artistically rewarding exchanges, the pressures of being a performing artist began daunting him, notes Mr. Udayasankar. “He had no personal rivalry with any artist. They all supported him, but somehow, things did not work out for him.” After some failed attempts at treating his depression Dakshinamurthy returned to Jaffna. He died when he was barely 42. “It is a tragedy that such a genius went unrecognised — both in India and in Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Radhakrishnan.

All that the family has in his memory are a few black and white photographs, one family photograph that looks recently colour-processed. “I was only seven when my father passed away,” said Mr. Udayasankar.


In an era when photographs were rare and audio or video recordings even rarer, much of Dakshinamurthy’s contribution on either side of the Palk Strait was undocumented. Only recently, film maker Amshan Kumar started working on a documentary about the maestro. While one part has been shot in Tamil Nadu, the crew will travel to Jaffna early next year for the remaining portion.

The family has another source of hope. Actor Sivaji Ganesan was a big fan of Dakshinamurthy’s performance.

“At his request, my father played at his daughter’s wedding. If only I could contact his family, I will ask them if they have a video recording of that concert. Watching my father play will be a dream come true,” Mr. Udayasankar said.

Family members of Thavil maestro Yazhpanam Dakshinamurthy Pillai.


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