remembering 2008

The year 2008 was an eventful year for me. This was an year which provided me with loads of opportunities and challenges. This year played a significant role in crafting the course of my life in the right direction. 

I got the chance to do an internship at IIT Madras during summer. I learnt loads under the guidance of Dr. C. Pandurangan. I studied about cryptography and advanced algorithms. Those two months helped me learn loads and improve my knowledge. 

Probably the first ever interview I had faced was the telephone interview for the post of Campus Ambassador for Sun Microsystems. After a few initial confusions, I was selected. And then I was called to Noida for a three day training programme. This trip turned out to be the one most memorable trips. The trip helped me learn loads, enjoy loads and also brought me loads of friends. It was an event which i will never forget. I am working for Sun, conducting workshops and seminars in college and also utilizing this opportunity to learn and improve. 

The next interview was for the Goldman Sachs summer internship. Almost 200 students wrote the written exam out of which 16 of us were selected for the next round. The group discussion round was the first for me. Then came the interview, which was conducted at 12:30, midnight !! I really liked the interview session, remained cool and answered the questions. I liked the smooth way in which the conversation proceeded in the room, despite it being a really odd time of the day. When they announced that I was one among the five who were selected for the summer ’09 internship, I literally jumped in joy…

Probably the most unexpected jolt was my dad’s transfer to Thanjavur. It is really hard for anyone to bid goodbye to Chennai. We had to forgo loads of things – music concerts in sabhas, the beach, weekend dinner at hotels, meeting friends, visit to temples… The shift from the vibrant energetic and musical life of Chennai to the rather silent and boring life of Thanjavur was really difficult. 

Music suffered a great setback this year. On September 8, my Guru, Padmashri Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan passed away. It still pains me to think that he is gone. He was the master who brought out the talent in me. He provided me loads of opportunities to accompany him on the violin. I performed many concerts in 2008 along with my Guru, in Bangalore, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. In fact, I even accompanied him in his last public concert. His demise has been a great loss for me, for all his students, his family and the world of music.

The Thyagaraja Aradhana was conducted in my college. Along with the event, competitions were also orgaized for the school children. I was also made the vice President of Amruthavarshini, the Carnatic Music Club of NITT. I was also included as a member of the Music Troupe of my college. Then there was the JIPMER culturals in September where our college team won the first place in the instrumentals category in which I participated. But there is more to it. The event brought me and my childhood friend together…

My first trip to Chennai after shifting residence to Thanjavur was on December 21. I had been to Chennai for a concert at Kunnakudi Hall, Raga Research Center. December 21 and 22 were two of my happiest days. On those two days I met all my friends in Chennai, spent time with them after a really long time. I only wish I will meet them again soon. 

And the last day of 2008, today, my semester results….9.73.. much more than what i expected… 


Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer

Peace and Prosperity with Ragas – Part II

[This series of six posts are excerpts from my Guru, violin maestro (late) Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan's interview with 'The Hindu'. The therapeutic effect of music has been elucidated. Also in each article is a picture of one famous musician from the Golden era of Carnatic music.]

Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer


Shanmugapriya has the effect of sharpening the intellect of the singer as well that of the listener. It instills courage in one’s mind and replenishes the energy in the body. This is not surprising. Shanmugapriya being the beloved raga of Shanmuga, who was born out of the blazing wisdom-eye of Shiva. I would attribute the success and prosperity I have attained in life to the constant chanting of Shanmuga stothrams in the Murugan temple of Kunnakkudy. “Parvathi nayakane,” “Saravanabhava Ennum Thirumanthiram” of Papanasam Sivan are known for their sparkling verses. Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavathar’s “Vallinayakane” is another example. Shanmugapriya was beautifully used to make the song “Maraindirundu Paarkum” in the classic “Thillana Mohanambal” immortal.


The power of Sankarabaranam is incredible. It cures mental illness, soothes the turbulent mind and restores peace and harmony. Sankarabaranam, if rendered with total devotion for a stipulated period, can cure mental disorders said to be beyond thescope of medical treatment. Arunachala Kavirayar, Muthuthandavar, Suddhananda Bharathi, Marimutha Pillai and Mayooram Vedanayakam Pillai, have rendered many sweet compositions in the raga. Sankarabaranam has the power to shower wealth. Papanasam Sivan’s `Mahalakshmi Jaganmatha’ is a gem in this raga. Muthuswamy Dikshithar equates Sankarabaranam with `Akshayapathram,’ which supplies endless bounty in all forms. `Akshaya Linga Vibo’ composed by him is a popular kriti.

« Part 1

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar

Peace and Prosperity with Ragas – Part I

[This series of six posts are excerpts from my Guru, violin maestro (late) Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan's interview with 'The Hindu'. The therapeutic effect of music has been elucidated. Also in each article is a picture of one famous musician from the Golden era of Carnatic music.]

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar


BHILAHARI is associated with love.  ‘Naajeevadara’ of Tyagaraja in this raga has always been popular. The saint, it is said, composed this in order to alleviate the acute stomach pain a man was suffering from. His prayer was answered and the man had relief. ‘Krishnaleela Tarangini’ of Narayana Tirtha has the song `Poorayamamakamam’ in Bhilahari. The saint cries out, “Hey! Gopala, bestow me with all the goodness so that I can continue to sing your praise”. This Bhilahari song ensures one vigour and good health.

In “Konjum Salangai” Ramalinga Adigalar’s bakthi verses ‘Orumayudan Unadhu’ set in Bhilahari and rendered by Sulamangalam Rajalakshmi was a popular hit. Another popular song is ‘Unnai Kandu Naan Ada Ennai Kandu Nee Aada’ from “Kalyanaparisu”. “Thalaiva  Thavapudhalva,” the song I composed for the film “Agathiyar” was set in this raga. The Hindi song “Korakagaz” (“Aradhana”) owes its melody to the charm of Bhilahari.


Rathipathipriya adds strength and vigour to a happy wedded life. This five-swara raga has the power to eliminate poverty. The very prayoga of the swaras can wipe off the vibrations of bitter feelings emitted by ill wills. ‘Jagajanani Sukavani Kalyani’ composed by M. M. Dhandapani  Desikar is a very popular song in this raga. Singing or listening to Rathipathipriya bestows on one happiness and has a stimulating effect.

How safe are we?

How safe are we? Can we be confident that we will not receive a bullet to our chest? Can we tell with certainty that every time we go to a market, we would come out intact; every time we board a train, we would alight too; every time we check in at the reception desk of a hotel, we would check out too? How sure are we that when we go to bed every night, we would wake up the following morning?

Every one of us lives in fear – A fear that our most precious possession – life – might be lost; a fear that we might be victims of terrorism; a fear that we are incapable of defending ourselves. And this is the same fear that incapacitates the brave in us. We can also say that this is the same fear that is being exploited by the inhuman killers.

We know that no one has the right to kill another human. No one has the right to take away the life of a fellow human being.  The world is ours and life is our gift. It is the duty of every human being to ensure that the world is a safe place to  live in. We must safeguard ourselves and our fellow humans. We must be brave, face our enemy and win them. Yet we hesitate to come out of the cocoon called fear. We hesitate to stand up against the evil. We hesitate to fight terrorism.

No one was born with the ugly paint called terrorism. No one enters this world as a terrorist. It is the world around him that changes him into one. Every one has a family. Every one has someone to care for. Every one has a human within. But the good is being blinded by the bad. People are brainwashed to believe that terrorism is the only way to solve the problems the world faces. They are made to believe that killing is the only means to teach someone a lesson. They have been pushed to the extent of calling this ‘liberation’. This is a war, a deadly battle.

But this is not a war between countries. This is not a battle between religions. This is an attack on humanity. It is our unity that is being put to test. The integrity and the secularity are being tested for their strength. If we break down or split apart under such stressful situations, then we stand to lose. The purpose of such brutal terror acts will be achieved. Their motive will be fulfilled. We must not present any opportunity for this. We must stand united. We will never be able to make an effective protest until we achieve solidarity.

We will not be safe if we lock ourselves up in our rooms. We will not be safe if we wait for someone else to take action. We will not be safe unless we overcome our fear. There is no use in worrying about the past or waiting for the future. We must learn from our past, act in the present to make the future a safe one. If we are not ready for this battle, then we will be forced to stop every person we meet on the streets and ask, “Sir, I’m concerned. Are you a terrorist?” ..


SENSEX – My understanding

SENSEX - What is it ???
SENSEX – What is it ???

What is the buzzword now in India? The SENSEX. All that I knew a few weeks back was that the Sensex was at 21000 points, and now it is at 9000 points. What exactly are these points? How are they calculated? What is Sensex? What is happening in the financial world? A quest for answers to these questions helped me in understanding the market scenario. Now when I watch NDTV Profit, I am able to understand what they are speaking about!!!

A small story…

Suppose I buy a hotel, say for 50 lakh Rupees Then I manage the hotel successfully for one year with high profit, say 10 lakh. The profit continues for the next year also. So the establishment can be considered as an investment which gives profit in interest. Now how much is my hotel worth? If I plan to sell, there might be a buyer who might offer 100 lakh, considering the fact that the hotel is already running successfully yielding a profit of 10 lakh, and the profits might increase. So I plan to sell it at 100 lakhs.

There might be 10 buyers willing to buy. But none has 100 lakh. So, I plan to sell ’shares’ in the hotel. I can sell one share at 10 lakh to each of the ten buyers. Or I can divide the ownership into 1000 shares, at 10000 each. Or I can have 500 shares for myself and sell the others. This will help me retain a majority of shares, and remain in control of the hotel establishment. This is the basics of what shares are.

A different scenario. I need to start a hotel. I don’t have money to invest. So I request the public for money. This is called initial public offering. I can sell 1 lakh shares at 50 Rupees each, to get 50 lakh “Rupees immediately. This money I use to build and establish a hotel. The first year I get a profit of 10 lakh. I can do two things with this. I can share the profit with all shareholders, giving a ‘dividend’ of 10 rupees. Or I can save profits for further development of the company, which in turn will increase the company’s value and the share value. A shareholder can then sell his share and get profit (or loss, if the company’s value goes down)

Shares of public companies are bought and sold in stock exchanges. The BSE is the oldest and the largest stock exchange in India. The index that BSE uses is called the Sensex.

Free float market capitalization

An understanding of the Sensex requires the knowledge about ‘free flow market capitalization’. The word ‘capitalization’ or ‘market capitalization’ of a company refers to the ‘net worth’ of the company. This includes the total assets of a company. This is actually equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding of a public company.

All shares of a public company will not be available for the public to buy or sell. Some shares might be held by the founders or directors, the government might own some shares, associate companies might own some, and so on. The free float shares refer to the shares that are available for trade in the open market. The free flow market capitalization is the total value of all shares that are available for trade by public.

Specifically, the following categories of holding are generally excluded from the definition of free-float:

  • Shares held by founders/directors/ acquirers which has control element
  • Shares held by persons/ bodies with “Controlling Interest”
  • Shares held by Government as promoter/acquirer
  • Holdings through the FDI Route
  • Strategic stakes by private corporate bodies/ individuals
  • Equity held by associate/group companies (cross-holdings)
  • Equity held by Employee Welfare Trusts
  • Locked-in shares and shares which would not be sold in the open market in normal course.

The remaining shares come under the free-float category.

Free float factor

The percentage of free float shares among the total number of shares is calculated for every indexed company, based on the information specified by them regarding their shares. This percentage is rounded off to the higher multiple of 5. The corresponding fraction is the free float factor.

Let 43% of all shares come under the free float category.
43% when rounded off to the nearest multiple of 5 gives 45%
The corresponding factor is 0.45.
The free float factor is 0.45
This free float factor means that only 45% of the total market capitalization of the company will be taken for index calculation.

SENSEX Calculation

Sensex is calculated taking into consideration stock prices of 30 different BSE listed companies. This means that the level of index at any point of time reflects the market value of its 30 component stocks relative to a base period. The year 1978-79 is considered as the base period and the base value has been set to 100 index points.

Sensex value = Current free-float market value of constituents stocks / Index Divisor

The Index Divisor adjusts the original base period of the Sensex to its present level. The Divisor is the only link to the original base period value of the Sensex. This keeps the Sensex comparable over time.

The calculation is ‘claimed’ to be simple, involving basic mathematical concepts of ratios and proportions. If the free-float market capitalisation is Rs 9,00,000 crore and if the Sensex value is 14,500 — then, for a free-float market capitalisation of Rs 9,50,000 crore, the Sensex value will be 15,306.
9,50,000 x 14,500 / 9,00,000 = 15,306 (approx.)

[ Not much is known about the Index Divisor value. The value has not been released publicly, and there are doubts whether the divisor is a true constant or not. As far as I know, the value lies somewhere close to 64. ]