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There’s always a first time!

Hyderabad has just happened to me. A year gone by, and I nostalgically look back as to how the city has given all it has to offer. I found my ground, made my network, had people go out of the way to help me, danced to make merry and have had a lots of ‘Firsts’.

One such very overwhelming first was a personal invite from Raj Bhavan. Little did my initial excitement settle down and my husband’s spurred up with this self claimed esteemed status of having been invited personally by the Governor and the First Lady. Let me mention, the event was a Bharatanatyam recital by Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant titled ‘Tyagaraja Ramayanam’ viewing our idol man Rama thorough Tygaraja’s kritis. Hence we were in the picture.

So we had a few days in hand to bask in the happiness, massage our ego by exclaiming it to friends and relatives and decide/google on the right trousseau for the evening. At first I wondered why there were blank stares back at us when we enquired directions to the Raj Bhavan, but realized their expressions were justified. The sojourn of His Excellency and the First Lady was a plush space where entrance upto the parking covered a kilometer and the same distance from the parking to any suite inside! Here started the royalty! The lady is to be gracefully dropped at the venue while the man parks the vehicle. (What a feeling, for the concerts that we visit require two people to pull and push our cheeky two wheeler so it could stay intact to say the least!)

As I waited endlessly for my man to accompany me in, I gazed at high end dignitaries in tailor made suits walk past with their better halves sashaying in shiffon and silk sarees. Where all of them were senior citizens and formed the inner most political circle of the Governor, we were the only representatives of the young brigade still in existence.

High tea was too high for an appetite which could not differentiate it with dinner! We quickly slipped into a cozy hall specially equipped for cultural evenings (barring the backdrop!)The Governor embodying simplicity to the core and his Lady having the Tamil Nadu charm written all over her, graciously welcomed each guest.

I guess I must subside this awe feeling and talk about the programme now. Dr. Ananda’s work does not need any introduction neither any glittering descriptions. She starts off subtly and builds on her theme gradually where her audience travels along with her and reach a peak of common vibrance. Whether it was the hummable ‘Sita Kalyana Vaibhogame’ or the crisp ‘Okka Mata Okka Bhanamu’ or the heavy ‘Marukelara Oh Raghava’, Dr. Ananda re-visioned the Ramayana to a very apt audience with her ever commendable music ensemble. Venu Madhav’s rendition of Marukelara Oh Raghava was nothing short of heaven and the few but impressive jathis of Shri Renuka Prasad supported by Shri Balasubramanyam on Mridangam and Shri Sai Kumar on flute scaled the performance to greater heights.

Finally as the politicos had their sweet doze of culture, His Excellency coated the evening with an even candid vote of thanks. With his diligent sense of humour and humbleness he lauded the effort and expressed that his promise of ‘Okka Matta’ made to Dr. Ananda was finally full filled and how! For us it was a double bill of excitement and enrichment at once.