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Around mid-afternoon on the day of our concert in New York, a tornado alert was sounded. It was pouring heavily as we were making our way through the Lincoln tunnel to The Arch, an auditorium in busy Manhattan. We barely managed to survive the traffic and reached the venue just 5 minutes before the scheduled start. Rain stopped soon after that and the skies cleared. There were very few Indian faces in the audience; one of the Americans surprised us with his chaste Malayalam which we ended up answering in English as we did not know the language!! It was August 15th and we had planned to play Jana Gana Mana. The moment we announced that we would be playing the National Anthem of our country, everyone in the audience stood up with hands on their chest. It was wonderful. AR Balaskandan, local mridangam artist of the NYC area, and his wife Sonali, are doing excellent service to Carnatic Music by arranging Carnatic concerts in these parts. Our compliments to them.
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