A labour of love...
There are publications and publications. But some are special. Swara Raga Kadambam will always be special to me. Brought out by Ms Anuradha Reddy of Saptaparni, and written by Sri Suryanarayana, who teaches music there, this is basically a book for students of Carnatic classical music. Beginning with an introduction to the seven notes, this book goes on to describe various raagas and their characteristics, geetamulu, swarajatulu, explanation and pratipadaarthalu of various 'kritulu'. There are exercises, of course, and interesting fillers giving info about the lives of great composers.
I did not do much for this book. I just gave advice on the design (and got credited as 'design consultant!). But it was a pleasure because, one, the book was a great team effort and done with love and adoration of the students towards their guru; and two, they took my suggestions very seriously, and didn't try to twist my arm, for which I am grateful. This resulted in a neat and user-friendly publication, that I feel very proud of (despite the typical editor-speak whispering into my ear that it could have been better!).
The book had a fitting release by Sri Nookala China Satyanarayana at Saptaparni. Before and after this, there were concerts by the students and then by Sri Suryanarayana, who has a good command on the craft of carnatic music (I do not know much of this genre of music, but I can say this much).
My own great moment was when the music teacher said to me..."Meeru chayyabatte eee pustakamu inta baaga undi. Memu artist cheta chala muggulu, designlu dimpinchukunnamu. Anni vaadadamanukunnamu...meerocchhi "Ivanni vadakandi, oka chinna design matrame use cheyyandi," annaru! Mee maata vinakunte, idi muggula pustakamu laga kanipinchedi!"
(It is because of you that this book looks so good. We got the artist to draw many muggus [rangolis] and designs, and wanted to use them all in the book. You came along and said, "Don't use any of these...just use one pattern throughout!" If we had not listened to you, this would have become a book of rangolis!")
This is one of the best compliments I have received in my career! I will cherish this moment always.
My compliments to Anuradha, Rajini, Sri Suryanarayana, Sri Durga (who painstakingly did the layout) and the artist K Sukumar, for the expressive drawings on the cover and inside pages.