A number of Carnatic music rasikas are shooting angry missives at The Music Academy. They are all critical of its system for the sale of season tickets.
Many people who wanted to be there at 9 a.m. on a day when the monsoon was setting in the city, to be in the queue did not know that people create a queue from 4.30 a.m. to make sure they are lucky.
Then there were people who brought only copies of ID card/s (instead of originals) and the Academy staff questioned them closely, some critics said.
This was also an occasion for the critics to wonder if the snobbishness of many Academy members and well-wishers left many seats vacant at top-billed concerts because those people just didn't turn up and hence, hardcore rasikas lost out.
"The Academy must ask its members to confirm beforehand their attendance and offer the tickets for empty seats to genuine rasikas," suggested one person.
Many dread the system that requires rasikas to buy daily tickets to evening concerts only that morning.'Why can't the Academy offer to sell tickets for the concerts we want to attend all in one go? Why make us go up and down?' - is a common question.
All these barbs and volleys are aimed at the Academy in the hope that it will put out a better, smarter box office system.
On the eve of December, rasikas already had plenty on their hands, as far as music concerts go.
Concerts of leading artistes at at least three venues in the Mylapore neighbourhood!
So the Bhavan's main auditorium, which was packed to the lobby and outside on most evenings saw a lesser crowd on Wednesday evening - there were seats vacant in the auditorium - Gayathri Venkataraghavan was on stage.
"Perhaps some rasikas are at the Trichur Brothers' concert," suggested the usher at Bhavans.
Parivadini presents three days of classical music, starting December 1. As it always does, it hosts some very talented, young people and artistes who are not on stage too often but are wizards.
This season's three day fest at Raga Sudha Hall, Luz features artistes like Injikudi Subramaniam ( nadaswaram) and Ramana Balachandra ( veena) from Bangalore.
On Sunday, 10 a.m., ghatam maker U V K Ramesh will be decorated with the Parlandu Award of Excellence - an annual award that recognizes people who make the best percussion instruments and continue a great tradition.
After the event, percussionist 'Ghatam' Karthik will speak on ' Appreciating the role of ghatam, khanjira and morsingh in a concert'.
The concerts / function / talk are beamed live online.
Get the details at - https://www.facebook.com/parivadinimusic/?fref=ts
Sale of season tickets for The Music Academy opens on Dec.2, 9 am onwards ( but people begin to queue up from 4 am!!).
You need to carry a ID card - Aadhar, Voter, driving license) or send that ID with a person you depute ( in this case, also an authorization letter). Payment is accepted in cash/debit/credit card - refund of change less than Rs1000 will be made by cheque after Dec,10).
Only season tickets are on sale - Rs.15,600, Rs.5,200 and Rs.1,8000. They are limited so expect a quick sale.
For daily tickets for the twin-concerts in the evening, the practice at the Academy is to sell them on the morning of the recitals. No word yet if this is to be done or a change has been made.
If you wish to catch all your favourite artistes performing early in the 'season', then one option is to attend the concerts curated by Kartik Fine Arts.
This sabha's concerts from December 1 to 13 are held in the main auditorium of Narada Gana Sabha in Alwarpet.The artistes featured at the evening concerts include Aruna Sairam, Sudha Ragunathan, Gayatri Venkataraghvan, Nityashree Mahadevan, Sanjay Subrahmanyan, Abhishek Raguram.
The sabha says limited donor passes are available for these concerts but seating is on a first come first served basis.
Of rasikas who 'reserve' a seat in the auditorium for a friend or a relative who will turn up after a concert has begun.
On Friday evening, as K. N. Ramaswamy, who heads the operations of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai kendra in the city prepared to get the auditorium ready for the Bhavan's festival for the 'season', he could not but talk about one habit of rasikas that irritates him.
As he surveyed the main auditorium where the Akkarai Sisters were in concert for a fest that celebrated artiste O V Subramanian's centenary, he sighted a few seats with kerchiefs on them - reserved for friends for the next concert - of Abhishek Raguram.
"I just wish people came on time for a concert they want to be at," Ramaswamy said.
Only The Music Academy puts out its December Season schedule of concerts/lec-dems early. By late October.
The other sabhas always buy time to 'make changes' - which simply means they are struggling to fix those uncertain artistes who accompany the main.
This season, even the few sabhas who make public their festival calendars in early November held them back.
Reason? They were buying time to shore up their sponsorship figures.
This whole thing about demonetisation by the Indian government has soured the sabha-bank-as-sponsors relationship.
Banks are still struggling to meet the demands of their clients who are ridding the dud currency notes and looking for ATMs that are calibrated in order to deliver money. They just are not in the mood to talk about sponsorship.
This time, last year the monsoon had broken over the city of Chennai. It got to rain strong. And steady. And the city flooded.
But rasikas looking forward to the December season did not mind. This is monsoon time; November is.
But after a break, it rained again. And on the night of December 1, the night when the city sabha, Kartik Fine Arts raises the curtains to launch its music and dance festival, the rain did not stop.
The waters rose and rose and when people of Chennai woke up the next morning, they found the city was sinking in water. The deluge was on us. The rest is history.
Sabhas debated whether it was wise to go ahead with the 'season'; many decided to go ahead though some artistes nodded the other way.
Let the music play, most said. And though it was a very damp 'season', it got through on a low key.
This year, we have not even sighted dark clouds post-Deepavali. And this week, the forecast did not hold hope for rains. Which means this water-starved city will have to suffer early next year. If the rainfall is not average.
Meanwhile, the pre-Season atmosphere is just surfacing. And on Friday, November 18, the weatherman said the monsoon has hit south Tamil Nadu and will advance northwards, and hopefully bathe Chennai.
KutcheriBuzz signs off this series of jottings of Season 2015 now.
Ours may have opened to you a window to the panorama. We have our limitations in coverage and we have to draw our lines.
Even as we posted our notes here, we also published the Season's Daily news-sheet for 17 evenings to be circulated at 8 to 10 sabhas in the city. This has also been our effort to share the buzz, the info with rasikas - on the Season.
All this does pose many small challenges and we take them along.
We now say goodbye and hope to be with you all in December 2016.
KutcheriBuzz will move to Bangalore in April-May 2016 as it renews its regular blogging of the Sri Ramanavami Season in the garden city.