I have been listening to a pretty amazing podcast. It is on the Mahabharata and it is told by Soota S. Kameshwar. I purchased it from Charsur for Rs. 500 a year ago. When I first listened to it a year ago, it seemed fairly traditional and so I put it aside and didn’t listen.
A year later, perhaps because it is Deepavali season, I started listening and stuck to it. I am blown away! What I like about Soota Kameshwar is the facility with which he speaks Sanskrit and that the cadences of his storytelling are very Indian. He also uses modern colloquialisms like this. “And Bheeshma said, “Boss, my time hasn’t come so you cannot kill me.”
For lovers of the Sanskrit language, Soota Kameshwar is a goldmine because he makes the language come alive. He tells us the meaning of specific words and recites entire verses from the Mahabharata. The one I bought was the Bheeshma Parva, which is the war scene. I read an article in The Hindu in which Sri. Kameshwar says that he has recorded the entire Mahabharata. I want to listen to the entire story as he recounts it.
I googled him and discovered that Soota Kameshwar works in TCS and that his wife runs an NGO called Rasa in Chennai. Coincidentally, I had bought 100 bags made by children in that NGO– each bag costs Rs. 20 and are available at rasaindia.org
I have written to Rasa asking for Soota Kameshwar’s contact. My neighbor, Uma Rijhwani, who is with TCS, just dropped by and mentioned that he is “fairly senior” in the company. Uma isn’t given to hyperbole. To have this expertise in a TCS and in storytelling reflects a fine mind.
I want to buy the entire Mahabharata by Soota Kameshwar for my New York friend, Harish Raghavan. Harish and Ramaa and their sons, Sachin and Ananth, are dear to us. Harish and Ramaa light up the New York social scene with their benefit dinners and such. They are also very spiritual. Ramaa is a practising Buddhist and Harish reads the Bhagavad Gita everyday (or used to when I lived in NYC). Ramaa said that when someone asked Harish who he would like to have dinner with, he said, “Eknath Easwaran.” That, I guess, explains his philosophical bent of mind. Ramaa’s family owns a lovely property in Malleshwaram, Bangalore that is now taken over by Neemrana and converted into the “Villa Pottipatti.”
So, Harish, if I manage to persuade Soota Kameshwar to upload/sell/make available the Mahabharata podcast, I’ll give it to you the next time we meet.