Chennai sabhas draw curtains again

RR-Sabha-HallNarada Gana Sabha has two auditoriums. Some 1250 plus seats. For over a year, less than ten percent have felt human warmth. For obvious reasons - the pandemic has caused the sabha halls, popu­ lar destinations for concerts, plays and religious discourses to close their doors.

Narada re-opened a bit in February this year, hosted a few concerts and events, and now, has to pull the curtain across again. Like most other sabha halls which throb throughout the year in Myla pore.

But the sabha's secretary, K. Harishankar has, despite loss of revenues from companies which hold AGMs and schools, their Annual Days, kept paying two people - his sanitary staff and the pest control agents.

Says Harishankar, "Our sabha members understand the situation and don't complain. Just now, it is not about losing revenues and closed halls. It is about being safe. We also have to maintain the facility."

This sabha and Kartik Fine Arts cancelled their April events as virus cases start to increase all around and SOPs announced. Both have hosted a few events since they had a soft re-opening earlier this year.

Kartik had lined up its popular Thamizh theatre fest, where new plays are premiered - Kodai Nataka Vizha - in end April. This fest stands postponed now.

Said K. Harishankar, "Revenues have not been good since the top of this year. We have had to dig into our corpus funds."
Rasika Ranjani Sabha, Mylapore though continues with its monthly events, ask­ ing guests to observe SOPs. But attendance is small. A sabha team member says less than two dozen people attend concerts but all shows are webcast.

"We are internally bearing the stiff costs and we have a loan to repay," he said. R. R. Sabha completes four years in its new avatar on Sunda­reswarar Street.

Also, Arkay Centre in Luz, a small and cosy music concert space continues host­ ing concerts - currently a fest by Sampoornam Foundation. Rasikas can be present but SOPs are followed.

Arkay also webcasts con­ certs but is yet to get volun­tary financial support from rasikas.