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Part 2 – Coffee With Suresh S P

23 March 2008 5 Comments

Hi All,

Lets continue our discussion with Suresh from where we left. The first part of the interview with Suresh is here.

Coffee With Suresh S P (Part 2)
Me: Sundar Rajan G S
SPS: S P Suresh

Me: Hi Suresh! What are you other interests? Can you also tell us something about your research in sanskrit?
SPS: There are lots of interests. Carnatic music, PG Wodehouse, cryptic crosswords, chess… I wouldn’t say I do any research in Sanskrit. Atleast not yet! I am a student. One of the other pros of being in academia. You can find time to enrich yourself as a person, by pursuing some of your interests. I started learning Sanskrit around 2001. After two years of learning the basics, I started systematically learning the basics of Nyaya, Mimamsa, and Vedanta from my revered Guru, who is a retired Principal of the Mylapore Sanskrit College, and is a renowned expert on Veda bhashyam and Vedanta, and is a brilliant expositor. I even gave some exams in these subjects for around four years, but couldn’t complete the full course of exams. I am especially fascinated with Nyaya, the school of philosophy which gave primacy to the process of logical reasoning, and has developed lots of brilliant theories of logic and knowledge. All the other schools of philosophy borrow these logical tools from the Nyaya to advance their own positions. Vedanta is also amazing for its counter-intuitive ontology, which also displays a very high degree of logical consistency at the same time. I have not been spending much time on philosophy recently. So much to study… Should get back to it soon! πŸ™‚

Me: You have built a good understanding of the grammar of carnatic music. When did you start this? Are you learning music?
SPS: I do not have that much of an understanding of the grammar of music. After all, I have never learnt it formally. You cannot count an ability to identify ragas and keep the tala during a song as an understanding of the grammar. Maybe I have learnt a bit more now than, say, five years ago. Because now I definitely know of more things that I do know than I did before! But I agree that I do `get’ Carnatic music in the sense that I have some idea of what is the point behind an alapana, or a swaraprastara, or a neraval.

At the same time, I do not feel I need any of these when I listen to the musician I worship — Madurai Mani Iyer. For him the point behind every aspect of music is melody, sukhanubhava. You just get transported to a different world! Now I shouldn’t start off! I am aware that all my responses are very long already, but this might become longer than all of them put together. Karukkurichi Arunachalam on the nadaswaram is another artiste I completely adore. I am in heaven every time I listen to him. Of course there are lots and lots of favorites and not a day passes when I am not regaled by the best masters.

I think it was while I was in 11th or 12th class that I started seriously listening to Carnatic music on AIR. At some point I suddenly decided that I will become a rasika, and just kept listening. Slowly I began to understand the nuances, which made me want to listen more, and so it continues…

Me: Suresh.. Finally, what do you think about this initiative – Coffee With Sundar?
SPS: This initiative is very nice. It is good that you take the time to blog at all. I have just one little post so far. Just don’t have the required energy. But you seem to have progressed to the stage where you want to keep your readers engaged, judging by your efforts at these interviews. That’s nice. Keep it up! By the way, if you can find the time, read John Gruber’s interview on Shawn Blanc’s blog. Gruber has a lot to say on blogging. (Of course I am not providing links! You have Google, don’t you?) I guess you’ll quite like it.

Let me close with a blogger joke that I saw today (at Marginal Revolution, no links again!)

How do you tell if a blogger is extroverted?
When he talks with you, he looks at your shoes.

All the best with your present career, future careers and your blog. Who knows? This could be the beginnings of another Daring Fireball, or kottke.org. All the best!

Me: Thank you very much Suresh! Long way to go before reaching the levels of Daring Fireball et al. But yes, journey of thousand miles begins with the first step! I have started it. I need support from people like you to reach there.

Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts. For previous episodes of Coffee With Experts, click here.

Originally posted at http://coffeewithsundar.com
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  • hema said:

    That was really good. Suresh has talked about a lot of his interests. Thankfully not some of his strong leanings!

  • Sundar Rajan G S (author) said:

    @ ht maam,

    Thanks for the comment! It was indeed a great interview with lots of interesting topics..

  • Sudeep D'Souza said:

    It feels nice to connect to some of the RECT (NIT) guys through this blog.

    Keep up the good work and looking forward to reading some more interviews. I enjoyed the interview with HT Ma’am.

  • Sriram said:

    I ve started to like this man,, way to go…