Monday, August 31, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by Abhirami

If you are here for the first time, please read this post.

Around the time my first son was born, there was a song that was topping the Tamil charts. It was a song that perfectly echoed the tumult of motherhood - the ecstatic peaks and the crushing challenges - with its soaring high and lilting low notes effortlessly rendered by a teenager who served to notice to the world that she was no ordinary talent. Deivam thandha poove (Oh flower, a blessing from God) from the movie Kannathil MuththamittaL quickly became a song I would sing to my firstborn. As a new mother grappling with raising her infant in a foreign country with little support, this song to me was a reminder that hidden amidst the incessant demands placed on my time, the obliteration of my own identity as a woman, the overwhelming fatigue that set in at the start of yet another day filled with nursing, cleaning and feeding, was a little gem that I called my child. 

A few years later, I would go on to have my second son and I had chosen to have him in UK on my own, politely declining all offers of help from family in India. Ten days after his birth, we organised a small Punjayajanam and invited some friends and neighbours to the ceremony. The priest performed a few rituals and I suggested that those of gathered each sing something on the occasion. If this had been in India, there would have been much fanfare, food and celebration. Somehow, that cold, grey English afternoon demanded enlivening and warmth from songs. It seemed so bereft and soulless otherwise. When it was my turn to sing, I chose Deivam Thandha poove. It only seemed fitting that I would sing this song that tells the child how they came as a breeze into one's life and remained as air to breath. Perhaps it was the wide range that A R Rahman had laid out for his singers that they so casually sauntered across that was beyond the grasp of this amateur singer, perhaps it was the full weight of the song falling on a new mother's shoulders, perhaps it was a sense of the occasion, I could not complete the song as my throat seized up. Despite the shadow that has been cast on the song (its lyricist Vairamuthu has been accused of sexual misconduct by its singer Chinmayi), this track never fails to remind me what a blessing my sons are. 

About Abhirami

Apart from being an Akka to an illustrious sister, namely yours truly, Abhirami is a media professional and playwright who is pursuing a Master’s degree in documentary film-making while working in a film & training company. Currently, she is busy resuscitating her creative practice after a hiatus of a dozen years. 

Abhirami blogs here and you could take a look at her work on her site. Say hi to Abhi here and here

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