Friends! This is the last meeting of the Kalki Biography Project before the release of Kalki Krishnamurthy: His Life and Times, my translation of Sunda’s biography.  Thank you for joining us in these meetings and supporting our work. I know some of you have also pre ordered the book for which also I thank you.

Today, we begin with a song by Kalki Krishnamurthy from his epic novel Sivakamiyin Sapatham, about the magical impact of Krishna’s flute on an innocent maiden’s heart.

This audio-visual treat is presented by a trio of brilliant young artists. All three have this in common: performing widely in India and abroad, they have won prestigious awards, as well as plaudits from laypersons, connoisseurs and critics. What I find most striking in them is the intelligence with which they have developed their art in strength and beauty.

– Gowri Ramnarayan

Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath is a biotech engineer turned fulltime Carnatic musician, trained in the magnificent Dhanammal school by Vegavahini Vijayaraghavan. She has also gained by learning from eminent musicians PS Narayanaswamy and RK Shriramkumar. She has shown unusual discernment in preserving the precious tradition she has absorbed, while also establishing herself as a mainstream performer of the best kind on the stage.

Aishwarya has other fascinating facets. With her passion for painting and ornithology, she is part of the group “Artists for Wildlife and Nature”, and promotes conservation and environmentalism through her acrylic, water colour and charcoal paintings.

Apoorva Jayaraman holds a PhD in Astronomy (University of Cambridge) and an MA in Physics, (University of Oxford). These exceptional academic achievements have given her the rigorous discipline and holistic vision to follow her multi-dimensional interests in the classical arts.

As a dancer, her concerns extend beyond her own performance. A Junior Fellow of the Ministry of Culture researching The Role of Art in Knowledge Advancement, she has conceived and curated dance-related conferences called Navadhisha – New Voices in Dance, and fosters an active interest in Arts Policy in India.  She is co-founder, RootEd Foundation, which works in the areas of dance education and awareness.

Dancer Apoorva Jayaraman on Kalki Krishnamurthy and his impact

Shweta Prachande is a Maharashtrian by birth, who has opted to live in Chennai, to steep herself in the cultural ethos of Bharatanatyam, pursuing her study of nattuvangam and kalarippayattu, while also training herself in the Tamil texts and Carnatic music. Her dance-music dialogues with several artists were first flagged off by collaborations with her life partner – Carnatic musician Rithvik Raja.

Shweta has Master’s degrees in both Commerce and the Fine Arts, a diploma in dance studies (Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London). During the global lockdown, Shweta worked to raise funds for Covid relief. An engaging personal detail is that Shweta was a member of the first ever Indian Women’s Rugby team at the Asian Sevens (2009) in Thailand.

Shweta and Apoorva are students of Priyadarsini Govind who has choreographed the movements for this song by Kalki Krishnamurthy.

Special thanks to Apoorva & Shweta for shooting this video under extremely trying circumstances, when Chennai was drowning under the lashing rains, and as we went through days without electricity.

Shweta Prachande speaks about the Kalki Biography Project


Senkani Vaayil – Translation

From the bamboo flute on his luscious lips
flows nectar sweet,
Tell me dear parrot, who is he?
A tender smile blooms on his face
and steals my heart.
Tell me dear parrot, who is he?

 “A thief lives here, Kannan the sweetheart!”
Said the maidens.
Tell me dear parrot, is it true?
With his speaking eyes, the boy who steals butter,
Snatched my heart.
Tell me dear parrot, how’s that?

In the punnai grove by the river divine,
where gentle breezes play,
and the honeybees sing,
Like the andril bird
Yearning for the moon,
Tell him dear parrot – she waits for him!

Under the silver moon,
With a song of frenzied rapture
He bewitched me with love.
With bounding joy did my heart rejoice…
Why did grief follow bliss?
Tell me dear parrot, why? Why?

No shelter have I, anywhere in the world
But with him, at his feet.
O dear parrot, tell him so
Won’t his grace banish my fears? Is love so scarce?
An innocent maiden am I
O dear parrot, tell him so!

Punnai: Alexandrian laurel
Andril: mythical bird feeding on moonbeams alone


செங்கனி வாயில்

பாடல்: கல்கி கிருஷ்ணமூர்த்தி
இசை: கெளரி ராம்நாராயன்
வாய்பாட்டு: ஐஸ்வர்யா வித்யா ரகுநாத்
நடன அமைப்பு: ப்ரியதர்ஸினி கோவிந்த்
நடனம்: அபூர்வா ஜெயராமன், ஸ்வேதா ப்ரசன்டே


செங்கனி வாயில் ஒரு
வேய்ங்குழல் கொண்டிசைத்து
இன்னமுதம் பொழிவோன்
யார்? யார்? சொல் கிளியே !
செந்தாமரை முகத்தில்
மந்தகாசம் புரிந்து
சிந்தை திரையாய்க் கொள்வோன்
யார்? யார்? சொல் கிளியே !         (செங்கனி)

கண்ணன் என்றிங்கே யொரு
கள்வன் உளன் என்று
கன்னியர் சொன்னதெல்லாம்
மெய்தானோ? கிளியே !
வெண்ணெய் திருடும் பிள்ளை
என்னுளங் கவர்ந்த தென்ன?
கண்ணால் மொழிந்ததென்ன?
சொல்வாய் ! பைங்கிளியே !         (செங்கனி)

தென்றல் தவழுந் தெய்வ
யமுனா நதிக் கரையில்
தேன் வண்டு பாடும் புன்னை
சோலை தன்னில்
அன்றிலைப் போலே அவன்
சந்திர வதனம் நோக்கி
நங்கை இருந்தாளென்று
சொல் ! சொல் ! சொல் ! கிளியே !         (செங்கனி)

வெள்ளி நிலவில் வெறி கொள்ளும்
மோகன கீதம்
அள்ளிச் சொரிந்தே எனை
மையல் செய்தான் !
துள்ளும் உவகை பொங்க
உள்ளம் மகிழ்ந்திருந்தேன்,
துன்பம் தொடர்ந்ததென்ன?
சொல் ! சொல் ! சொல் ! கிளியே !         (செங்கனி)

தஞ்சமெந்த நுனுக்கவன்
திருவடியன்றி வேறே
தரணியில் இல்லையென்று
சொல் ! சொல் ! சொல் ! கிளியே !
அஞ்சலென்றருள் செய்யானோ
அன்பினுக்கும் பஞ்சமுண்டோ
அறியாப் பேதை நானென்று
சொல் ! சொல் ! சொல் ! கிளியே !         (செங்கனி)


Senkani Vaayil

Lyric: Kalki Krishnamurthy
Music: Gowri Ramnarayan
Vocals: Aishwarya Vidhya Raghunath
Choreography: Priyadarsini Govind
Dance: Apoorva Jayaraman, Shweta Prachande


Senkani vaayil oru
veinkuzhal kondisaithu,

Innamudam pozhivon
yaar, yaar, sol kiliye!

Senthaamarai mugathil
mandahaasam purindu

Chinthai thiraiyaai kolvon
yaar, yaar, sol kiliye!

Kannan endringe oru
kalvan ulan endru

Kanniyar sonnadellam
mei thaano, kiliye!

Vennai thiridum pillai
ennullam kavarndadenna?

Kannaal mozhindadenna,
solvai pinekiliye!

Thendral thavazhum deiva
yamuna nadi karaiyil,

Thenvandu paadum punnai
solai thannil

Andrilai poley avan
chandira vandanam nokki,

Nangai irundaal endru
sol sol sol kiliye!

Velli nilavil veri kollum
mohana geetham,

Allí sorindey ennai
maiyal seidaan!

Thullum uvagai ponga
ullam magizhndirunden,

Thunbam thodarndathenna?
sol sol sol kiliye!

Thanjam endanukkavan
thiruvadi andri vere

Dharaniyil illaI endru
sol sol sol kiliye!

Anjalendrarul seiyyaano
anbinukkum panjam undo,

Ariyaa pedai naan endru
sol sol sol kiliye!