They have taken up this art form, unmindful of their disadvantageous situation.

It has now become fashionable to talk business model for everything. Everything is viewed from the prism of RoI (return on investment). Even art is talked in terms of commerce! May be it is the reflection of changing times. Or, may be it is the curse of the modern age. There are refreshing signs, though. And, they certainly provide a lot of hope.

Los Angeles lad

Very many summers ago, I had a chance to meet up with Sandeep Narayan. He was a shy lad and sporting a long hair. He was in Chennai to give concerts during the music season. Many seasons have gone by since then. Today, he wears a completely different lay-out. With a red line dividing his forehead and studs on either ear, Sandeep Narayan has transformed into a typical Chennai bagavathar! This student of senior vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan has come a long way from Los Angeles to anchor firmly in Chennai. This American born native of Chennai is a permanent fixture in the Carnatic music world. ``Performing regularly in Chennai, and constantly challenging one to reach greater heights helps an individual grow both as a musician and a person. It’s comforting to see all the efforts to pursue my passion have been worthwhile,’’ he wrote in The Hindu on December 30, 2010.

Inner joy

Early this month, I had a chance to meet another youngster from Los Angeles. Like Sandeep Narayan, Anirudh Venkatesh, too, is passionate about Carnatic music. Doing Computer Science course at Stanford in California, Anirudh is typically not from a musical family though his sister is a Bharathanatyam practitioner. He is learning Carnatic music from Padma Kutty, and has come under the tutelage of P.S. Narayanaswamy. ``I pursue it for my own inner joy, and for the sake of art,’’ says Anirudh about his pursuit of Carnatic music. Being a part of the December season in Chennai ``is a unique and refreshing experience’’ for him. ``For an aspiring musician, it is an important opportunity to gain experience,’’ he adds. What Sandeep Narayan faced, this lad, too, is experiencing now. He isn’t quite sure if he should pursue Carnatic music as his profession. But his heart is very much in Carnatic music, and, hence, does not rule out migrating to Chennai!

Attracting youth

Carnatic music encompasses multi-languages. Sandeep and Anirudh are Americans of Tamil origin. Yet, they have not hesitated to embrace this highly traditional art form (Carnatic music). For all that, they aren’t non-serious pursuers of this art form. They have taken up this art form, unmindful of their disadvantageous situation. Well, this art form has the power to attract youngsters from across the globe! Let there be no doubt about it. If there is a will, there is a way. Ask these two youngsters. They will vouch for it.