Sunday, November 26, 2006

Music and me

Music has definitely been a big factor of my life - my failed attempt to learn carnatic music, my love for singing ( mostly limited to film music), listening to ARR and other filmi music.

Somehow, I don't know why, but whenever I listen to a song, I get transported to the time when I listened to that particular song the first time. Here's a list of some favorite songs and my thoughts associated with them.

1. Thenpandi Seemayile from Nayagan

My first cinematic experience from what I recall is nayagan, though my parents keep telling me
that they have taken me to numerous films before that. Coming to the point, this song affected me a lot, with a soulful rendition by Kamal Hassan and the effective use of this song twice in the movie makes this an unforgettable song. Also due to my dad's extreme temper, I was used to a thwack now and then and the line "Yaar Adithaaro? Yaar Adithaaro" makes me sneak a glance at my dad(or recollect one thwack or the other from my numerous ones) even when I'm 22 now!

2. Raaja Kaiya Vecha from Apoorva Sagodharargal

This is surely another reflection on my upbringing. My father has lots of fixed ideas about discipline, one of them being not singing film songs as they have lewd lyrics. Though I support his thoughts, my love for music, my incompetence with Raagas and Swaras leave me with no option other than to sing popular tunes from films. I remember it was a Friday evening and my dad was home from office unusually early that day and it was the day of the much awaited "Oliyum Olliyum" and since my father was around, the TV was not switched on and my mom was away cooking something when, I heard the "Raaja Kaiya Vecha" song somewhere in the distance (my neighbor?) and I involuntarily sang along and suddenly I heard a disapproving remark when I realized it was my dad and as suddenly as I had started I shut up. Though I didn't receive any other rebuke from him, this vision comes to me everytime I listen to/ sing this song.

3. Meenamma Meenamma from Raajadhi Raaja

I have two left "hands" when it comes to drawing and I can never go beyond anything than a line (not a straight one, mind you!) when given a pencil and paper. And it was in my 1st standard when I had a lesson on respiratory systems and when it came to gills and fish, I was at sea trying to draw one. I remember very well that the first time my mother was trying to test me before my actual exam, she asked me to explain the respiratory system of a fish and when she saw my answer she asked why I had drawn a picture of a lizard instead of a fish! After many hours of painstaking coaching, she finally gave up and till now, I draw a fish using the following steps:
a. Put a huge X
b. Complete LHS with a mirror image of 3
c. Complete RHS with a half of an elongated oval
d. Complete with a dot for the eye and some unrecognizable shapes for gills, fins etc.

I remember whenever this song was played on TV, I was scared stiff reminded of my "fish". Now this song just reminds me of my mother sitting on a chair and trying her level best to make me draw something which at least remotely resembled a fish (dead or alive!)

4. Karpoora Bommai from Keladi Kanmani

A purely circumstantial feeling for this song. It was 1990 and my mother was pregnant with my sister and blame Tamil cinema, I thought the survival rates of mothers thorough childbirth was almost zilch. I agree it was stupid, but at that age I was convinced that among the most dangerous things in life was childbirth. My mother left for Madras somewhere around July and there was this film which showed a child coping with the loss of her mother and this song shows her mother in the flashback. Whenever this song was within my earshot I used to run and hide myself so that I couldn't hear it.

5. Nooru Varusham from Panakkaran

I was one of the most naughtiest kids any parent could have and I was so troublesome one Saturday afternoon that my mom, to keep me quiet for sometime, told me that I was becoming a girl and I was paranoid all afternoon praying to all Gods to leave me as is. It was somewhere around this time that Rajini Kanth comes dressed as a woman in 100 varusham song and I'm always reminded of that unforgettable Saturday afternoon.

6. Sundari from Thalapathy

One of those days in my "aarva kolaru" (subt - eagerness), I tried my hand at karaoke singing when a popular song came on the radio and I blissfully sang along, when suddenly I realized that I had unknowingly had pressed the record button and though I could listen to my own rendition, it was on top of Sundari from Thalapathy cassette and I was horribly sick as I knew it was one of my parents favorite album. I had to hide it in various places till my parents actually forgot about the cassette finally.

7. Chinna Chinna Aasai from Roja

It was the time when we had finally settled down in Madras. I remember seeing this song first on SUN TV (Seeing SUN TV itself was I think a new experience for me) and even now, whenever I see this song, I'm reminded of my first day in PSBB and the first few days in Lotus Colony, Nandanam, Madras.

8. Muqqabula from Kadhalan / Telephone Manipol from Indian

Both these songs take me back to my middle school days, when life was pure fun, with zero worries. Crikcet was religion and Sachin was God (he still is. :D). Endless street (gully) matches and useless arguments with anybody who had the time to talk to me. I wish I was there once more.

9. En Peru Padayappa from Padayappa / April Madhathil from Vaalee

Tenth Standard exams holidays. The wonderful trip to Kerala, especially the temple at Varkala and the green pond there are etched in my memory.

10. Desingu Raja from Dum Dum Dumm

Though this is a romantic song, this song takes me back to April 10th-11th, 2001 when my beloved grandfather breathed his last. He was always a source of great support and envisioned lots of things for me, but unfortunately did not live long enough to see pass my 12th standard exams. I would say next to my parents he was one soul who wanted me to attain a good status in life. Wish I could get an hour to spend with him once more.....

11. Azhagiya Theeye from Minnale

The song which defined my 12th standard holidays. Entrance exams, results...Whew...It was one hectic period! Some useless guy planted the idea in me that I resembled Maddy and I was fooled by it, for the next 5 years! Added to this was Anbe Sivam and a coincidence when both Maddy and me had the same hairstyle... seems funny now - my happiness at being likened to Maddy.....

12. Enna Idhu Ena Idhu from Nala Damayanthi

2nd year holidays. The time I broke my wrist.

The most unforgettable day in my life - July 11th, 2003 - ...................

13. Yeh Jo Des hai Tera from Swades

I'm reminded of a dialog which I said to my friend while watching this song. We both had applied to universities in Florida and I remarked that we could be there in FL soon and even now whenever I hear/see this song, I'm reminded of my own prophetic words.

14. Songs from Chandramukhi and Anniyan

The last 2 movies that I saw with my mother and sister. One of my least worrisome periods in life. Post baccalaureate and Pre Masters, that time-period was heaven. The fun I had with my sister, my mother being with me 24X7 and my dad's softening were all an experience which I think would never come back or be forgotten.

15. Aararai Kodi from Ah Aah (BF)

This makes me go back to one of my toughest period of life - August 2005 - new world, away from home, confused, frustrated, desolation, excited - a cauldron of emotions.

16. Sutrum Vizhi Sudare from Ghajini

My first salary and happiness!

One song which has the ONE reason behind it - Kannampoochi Enada from Kandukondein Kandukondein

Friday, August 04, 2006


"Follow Lane 12 for Lufthansa" screamed the signboard! Ram veered hard and was relieved to see a old woman give him way into the lane. After a couple of more lane changes, Ram found himself lugging the huge suitcase to the checkin counter. Ram was fascinated to see the people who were there checking passports and issuing tickets to the scores of people who were there, impatient to board their planes and be off. Ram's reverie was broken by "Have a great trip to India!" from the officer at the check in. The suitcase checked in, Ram found himself outside the Starbucks Shop. A cauldron having a variety of characters co-existing in a 200 square foot space - The Corporate Traveller, with the unmistakable business casuals, the students with their queer fashion sense..... Ram was thrown back to his own student days, when he boarded his flight from Madras that night. He was a far cry from the kids he was seeing here now. Half terrified (of leaving his parents) and half thrilled, Ram found speaking a difficult task when he had left India. But things were different now, what with a Masters Degree and a H1B Visa, life had become topsy turvy. Ram was not able to see things as they were 3 years ago...

Ram could still visualise the first few days in USA; Excited - about the new world into which he had come, Scared - of Dollar to Rupees Conversion, Desolate - without Appa, Amma and Thambi! Even to this day, he couldnt imagine how he put up without the "vambu" sessions with appa-amma, chocolate sandai with his bro and ofcourse the long winding drives on his bike. But all that were in a previous world, eons ago it seemed. Ram couldn't resist thinking what each of them would be doing when he would go home - dad tending to the plants, mom reading the sunday magazine, brother seeing CNN-IBN.

"Thanks, Ram for the ride. I shall meet you parents and give them the stuff you wanted to give them" said Ram's roomie as he started moving towards the gate, and Ram started to go back to the parking lot and thought about the production deficit which he had to counter before tomorrow's meeting

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Morning's Walk

Sanjay opened the gate to the park and joined the many people there who were already there, having their morning walk. Ahead of him, Raman and his wife were also among the morning crowd. Raman was as usual discussing the latest news from the morning's paper with his wife. Presently, he was trying to make his wife understand why reservation in educational sector was important and as soon as Sanjay heard this, he immediately remembered Anand, the couple's son, who had been the envy of many of a couple in that locality. A truly extraordinary boy that Anand was, had topped every exam that he wrote and when he topped the nation in his senior secondary school, nobody took notice. Anand had been a model son also, as rarely anyone knew Anand having any vice. On a general consensus, Anand had taken up higher studies in the United States in some Ivy League University and even today, Sanjay could remember Raman's pride in having such a son. Anand's achievements in the academic field seemed to double once the boy went to USA. Every email to his parents described some academic achievement or the other and Raman never tired of telling us of his son's success. But among all this pride, Sanjay knew that Raman and his wife were missing their only son, on whom they had showered their love and affection for 17 years. The boy seemed to be working very hard and it was not until that he got a job and a green card that Anand was able to come back to India and what a homecoming it proved to be! Raman had unable to hide his excitement even 4 weeks before his arrival and almost constantly talked to us about him. His wife on the other hand made every delicacy she knew that Anand had a liking for. But all the hullabaloo had come to a naught the moment Anand introduced his wife to his parents at the airport! Mrs. Raman had a massive cardiac attack and if not for timely medical help available at the airport, might not have been here today, talking the walk with Raman today. That day had been the last day when Anand had seen his parents at all, as the Ramans decided to estrange their son and live their lives on their own. Even now, Sanjay felt a bit heavy whenever he thought about the couple.

'Hi Sanjay!". That was Ashok. He was another regular at the park everyday and Sanjay thought that if anybody wanted time off, it had to be Ashok. An average student, Ashok took wing as soon as he started his own business. What started out as a two room venture was now worth a few hundred crores. While luck also played a major role, Ashok's hard work was the pivot for the success of the business. Having been left orphaned due to a fire accident when he was five, Ashok was brought up his uncle and though loved by his uncle, always missed his parents. The business proved to be a diversion of sorts and Ashok spent every minute of his waking hours in developing his business and it showed in his unparalleled success. Though happy at Ashok's success, Sanjay felt saddened at the lack of any familial ties for Ashok. The guy had been an introvert all through and though was respected and admired by everybody, there were no one who was romantically interested in him. Sanjay knew how hard it could be for Ashok with huge success on one hand and being family less because of the success on the other.

Amid these thoughts, Sanjay smelt the fresh bloom of Lakshmi's flowers on the sidewalk. Poor girl! Being born to a wastrel father meant that she had to do whatever odd jobs to support her mother to make ends meet and one of them was this 'platform' shop which somehow paid her educational expenses. The evening phase of the shop contributed to household expenses and sometimes for her father's binge too!

Thinking about all this Sanjay felt how hard life was and was thankful for none of that happening to him and as he reached the gate, Sanjay called out for his driver and as he settled in the car, took the latest Braille edition of Business Week to know the latest trends in the stock market to plan his next investment option.