Sunday, April 18, 2021

Accepting Grief - 2

Trigger Warning: Death, Chinese Virus, Grief

Kindly read '
Accepting Grief' , incase you haven't, earlier.
Over the last few days, I have been in the midst of conversations around...


"I can continue to wear the taali (mangalsutra) right? or am I to remove it now? What about pottu (bindi)? hmm.. I don't think I will wear my pattu (silk) sarees now... What if someone says something?"

"May be if I had practised Reiki and prayed for him on time, we wouldn't have lost my him..."

(referring to her husband) "I asked Appa who this actor on TV was, just yesterday... or was it the day before?" 

(referring to her husband) "He had mentioned his will a fortnight ago.. May be he knew..."


"Yesterday I opened dad's draw and saw some documents / papers and told myself, "I should ask Appa about these..." and later realised "Appa dhaan inime vara maattare.." (Dad won't be back ever again).

"....When I met Appa and held his hand on Sunday (the day before he passed away), I saw a tear drop in his eyes and asked him if he was crying because he never does. He brushed it off. But I sensed he was relieved seeing me, after being in the isolation ward for 3 days with no visitors. Now it feels like he was almost waiting for his son to see him before he decided to leave..."

"I missed informing him that he became a great grandfather once again a few days ago...I should've...cha!"

"The doctor's certificate mentions 8 am. May be he passed away in his sleep..."

18th April 2021:

Bumped into a resident of the building the other day in the elevator who asked "How is dad?" and we had to tell him he'd passed away. The husband tells me he was the same guy who was doing his daily walk around the building that night and saw my f-i-l struggle to get into the car. The moment the husband said this, it brought back scenes of the night when we admitted my father-in-law in the hospital. So vividly. My f-i-l struggling to walk down the little ramp at our building, trying to get into the car, the drive to the hospital, he being taken in the wheelchair in the hospital and me waving bye to him.
And I ended up crying uncontrollably. Even now, as I write this.

We've all hardly slept over the last one week... One wakes up in the middle of the night to see if the other ones at home are doing ok (Read: alive). Apparently I woke up the other night, agitated, screaming "I am unwell unwell!" The husband checked for fever and calmed me down. I have zero recollection of this.

And there are times when we find ourselves laughing - when the m-i-l , watching Naattammai, tells us emphatically that Khushbu is married to Saratkumar... or when she asks if Jayalalithaa , Sivaji Ganesan are alive. Yes, that #GandhiSetthuttara moment only.

Growing up in the midst a huge joint family in Madras, I remember the house teeming with people every time there was death in the family. A month of nonstop visitors, never ending kaapi rounds, food for a crowd of 20-30 folks every day and rituals. The 13th day ceremony had a Sorpozhivi of sorts, where a learned person would talk about the soul that departed.

I don't know whether it's a blessing being confined to the four walls not having visitors pouring in, or it's a disadvantage to just have 3 people discuss the same thing repeatedly to console each other, for a week now.  Eyes well up every time we discuss my father-in-law. 

Just a week ago on Monday, the 12th of April 2021, the husband sat his mother down to say "Amma, oru bad news... Appa poittaru...". The lady who believed her husband was chilling next door for over a week, to be isolated from her, was just told she was not going to be able to meet him... ever again. For the first time in 19 years, I saw both my husband and his mother break down. It was heart-wrenching. I keep going back to this godawful Monday morning and wonder what was going in my mother-in-law's mind hearing this. Did she process the information?  Was she given time to process the information? She is yet to come to terms with the fact that her partner of 61 years is no more. It is not easy and it's never going to be easy.

But I can say one thing. Her unflinching faith in her family and extended family and friends to standby her forever, is what keeps her going. More than the trust, I'd say it's the kallankabadamilladha warmth she exudes and love for people and conversations is what has given her strength and comfort. And I sincerely hope it continues to be that way.

Thank you again, to all of you and to our family and friends for being with us virtually, all through this week. ❤️

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Accepting Grief

 Trigger Warning : Death, Chinese Virus, Grief

12th April 2021

We were both woken up by the loud ringtone of the husband's phone at 7:30 on a Monday morning.

"Ok.. ok..theek hai...ok", he said to the voice on the other side. 

He said to me, "Apparently Appa's breathing failed and they're trying to revive him..." the nurse called. 

8:30 am - One more call. One more "Ok ok ok..." from the husband.

"Poyittaaram..(He's no more)" husband gestured and later mentioned to me. 

6th April 2021

The husband's mother was back home after a 5-day hospitalisation after having tested positive earlier, for the Chinese Virus, sometimes called Covid 19. 

And so, we were very sure his father who had tested positive after a few days, would also be discharged in 5 days. In fact we were planning for their home quarantine , post their discharge, at around the 12th of April 2021.

8th April 2021

My father-in-law tested positive that Wednesday night . Having gone thru' the drill of sending bulk messages to friends and colleagues in search of a hospital bed earlier for my mother-in-law on the 30th of March 2021, we repeated the same, a week later.

Formatted Messages / Calls to all friends and colleagues to help us with a hospital bed for an Octogenarian were sent / made. Thanks to some kind folks who we have had the fortune of working with, we managed to find a hospital and get him admitted at 2 am. 

How do you tell someone they've contracted this deadly virus and that they'd need to leave asap for the hospital? 

"UngaLukku Adhu Vanduthu... "


Adhudanpa.. Corona vandudutthu" - The husband told his father way past midnight informing him that he'd need to pack and leave for the hospital.
"Do you want to carry your hearing aid / pallu set (Dental set)?"

"No I will take just my comb" he replied. He got ready combing his hair straight, packing a set of clothes. The long ride to the hospital went with discussing vetti stuff on the rare sight of empty Bombay roads at 1 am.

At the hospital the Duty Doctor explained treatment protocol and we admitted my father in law at 2 am. Back home, husband and I were exhausted but we slept early morning, with a lot of hope that he'd be back in just 5 days. And that one did the right thing admitting him on time.

9th-11th April

The next few days went with regular updates from the hospital and the nurses that a certain uncle ji was progressing well. And that he had Khichdi and his oxygen levels were ok. On Sunday the 11th of April 2021, the husband decided to visit his father just to reassure him that we were around and that since it was a Covid ward we couldn't visit him regularly. Husband came back later that evening, mildly worried but still hopeful of his father's quick recovery and planning his discharge, home quarantine etc.

And in less than 12 hours, we were informed of his passing, by the doctor.

My father-in-law was a simple, no-nonsense, unassuming, Independent person. He'd probably have an answer if Thillu Mullu Rajini were to ask him "Sindhu Bhairavi Raagatha Sivaranjani Ragathoda Mix Panni, Ataana Ragatha Arokkanathula Pidichi...Thodaila Aadhi Thaalam potta kidaikara Raagam Kalyaniya Kaambodhiya Karagara Priyava Shanmuga Priyava illa Sripriya va?"

A man with an amazing memory and love for Carnatic music, he had an enviable Carnatic music cassette collection and was the in-house encyclopaedia for all things Carnatic. Who needed google when we had him know all ragams and thaaLams on his finger tips?

My first memory / discussion with him was when we both watched some Malaysia Kalai Nigazchi on Suntv early 2000s featuring all Tamizh film actors. Actor Ajith was conspicuously absent in the star-studded event featuring Rajini, Vijayakanth, Kamal etc. I asked f-i-l if he knew why Ajith was absent.  "IT Raid-a irukkum!" f-i-l adichivittufyed.  Not kidding, the following week's Kumudam / Vigadan carried Kisu Kisu of IT raids at Ajith's and hence his absence. Now in hindsight, I think we missed an opportunity to host a cleaner version 'Valai Pechu' then, featuring my fil. He would've made an amazing host for all things Kollywood.

As I write this, my father-in-law is probably watching Sembaruthi on Indra TV in Heaven, eating his favourite Vadai and Aviyal watching his family here reminisce the good times they shared with him - Be it his grandkids talking about their trips to  Mother Dairy or his son talking about how he managed to keep a copy of every Govt. document / bill copy ever safe, or his loving wife wondering why he didn't eat the Vadai she made for him last month. And smiling to himself, he's probably gone back to watching the next soap opera after Sembarutti.

13th April 2021 - Today

It's been an overwhelming 2 days. We have been flooded with calls and messages of support and strength, from family, friends and acquaintances from across. We are eternally grateful for the support that's been pouring from across. Nothing but gratitude for all the gestures of affection.

Every time after a long call with a friend, I end up crying. The very thought of seeing the husband and mother-in-law coping with this loss in their own way is often overwhelming, emotionally tiring.

The husband's close knit family of 5, including his mother, are on video calls regularly, just chatting about general stuff and to reassure one another they're always there for each other, no matter what.

The discussions at home between the husband, mother-in-law and I have often been around the mindless Tamizh soap operas (Sembarutthi fans anyone?) on mil's Jayam Ravi fandom (I resign from this family) or how pretty my nighties are. Lulz.

Husband and I often remind ourselves what the other person needs to do if one of us show symptoms of Chinese virus. "The worst is over..." he reminds and reassures me almost on an hourly basis. Sometimes I just wish I could be like him. My ever optimistic, always-looking-into-the-better-brighter-side-of-things, husband.

He has, after all, taken after his mother. So we'd should be alright. We will be.

PS - I don't get "How old was he?" "Did you see his face/ body?" questions.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Enga SPB

Everybody is familiar with the ‘80s SPB during the Golden era of the Raaja... On to the ‘90s, we got introduced to Isaippuyal via SPB in Roja, Kadhalan, Uzhavan and so on. SPB continued  continues to rule even in 2000s, until now. Ofcourse, the Indhi belt keeps talking about the Salmaan SPB from the ‘90s... the only SPB they probably know of.

In Tamizh, not many people speak about the ‘60s and ‘70s SPB... atleast on social media. Except for the QFR series , Oliyum Oliyum equivalents on Sunlife, Murasu TV etc, makkal don’t quite talk about his ‘70s and his ‘60s, in Tamizh cinema. IMO, this was the most glorious era of SPB. He continued to sound the same as he did in Aayiram Nilave Vaa and Iyarkai Enum Ilaya Kanni, even now. How like that?

Thanks to my father I got introduced to SPB’s songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. That SPB era, now feels more like ‘Enga{L} SPB’ which a lot of makkal don’t know about or atleast not talking about.  When I say ‘Enga’ I include me, my siblings, parents and a close circle of a dozen friends born in the ‘70s. When I say ‘Enga SPB’ is also feels a lot personal and a bit possessive. Let me introduce you to a few of my favourites of ‘Enga SPB’.

(Image from one of the whatsapp videos on SPB shared)

1. Naalai Namadhe: Though He was not the voice of MGR in this particular song, this tops my MGR-SPB playlist. May be because my dad used to sing this really well when we were kids. This is a duet with the legendary TMS , yet SPB holds his own. When he begins with an “Anbu Malargale.....” it’s instant love! My father had tried to ‘Karaoke’ this song last year in Madras, and I hope I have a recording of it with me. This movie plays quite often on TV these ‘Lockdown’ days and I sit thru’ all the masala only to listen to this track.

2. Devan Vedamum : SPB-Susheela and Thyagarajan (Top Star Prashant’s father) singing / speaking in this song. Again, this was introduced to me by my father. V.Kumar FTW! Romba beautiful song. 

3. Ilamayenum Poongatru: No inter-collegiate hifi culturals in Madras was complete in the ‘80s and ‘90s without a rendition of this song. I have listened to this more during ‘Mardigras’ / ‘Saarang’ selection rounds, sung by the professional college music gangs than in OLiyum Oliyum. For everyone’s benefit, I’ve linked the video without the “actual video”.

4. Vaarthai Thavari Vittai: Thanks to this track being featured on OLiyum Oliyum on high rotation, I’d sing (oLarify) this, as a kid , with the “Ennadi Meenacheee...”

5. Kamban Emaandhan: The amazing Kamal-SPB-MSV-Balachander combo! That place where SPB goes “Malarendraaaannn” is sheer magic! The other magic from the same film is “iLakkanam Maarudho....”. When he begins the song with ‘Ilakkanam” Deiva Level! I’m told Kamban Emandaan is Vishwanathan Anand’s favourite too.

6. Vaazhvil Sowbaagiyam: It’s not an overtly sweet romantic song, though it featured a (then) real life couple, on screen. We owe a lot of Ceylon Radio for introducing such gems to us.

7. Thoduvadenna Thendralo : If you ask my dad his top 5 favourites, this will definitely feature in that. SPB takes you to Kulu Kulu Kashmir when he sings about ‘Pani’, ‘kuLir’ etc.. Pppaah!

8. Poopole Un Punnagaiyil: This, again was a Ceylon Radio intro. Sivaji sings, yearning for his daughter’s love...You cannot but feel the sadness of a father when he sings “Ammavendru varum kannukutti”.

9. Uchchi Vagundeduthu: A cousin , Priya , used to love this song. I haven’t spoken or met her in decades but this song and its rendition takes me back to childhood days when Priya would keep mentioning this song. Again, the sogam of Sivakumar is brought out so well in this song, thanks to Ilaiyaraaja and SPB.

10. Paadum Podhu Naan Thendral Kaatru: This song is what one calls ‘breezy’.True to the lyrics, the ‘Thendral’ification of the song oozes in SPB’s voice.

There are many many more gems of ‘Enga SPB’ that one can continue to talk about. At the beginning of this Lockdown period, I had made a series of playlists and one of the first few playlists made was ‘Lockdownil ‘70s SPB’. Never did I think I’d listen to this playlist on repeat , on a day like this.

(Image from one of the whatsapp videos on SPB shared)

Thank you, SPB for the wonderful songs and memories from the ‘60s until now🎙❤

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

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by Viju

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

Down the memory lane

A.R. Rahman’s music, being very special to me, plays a very important role in my long distance runs. A lot of these long distance runs are run by me solo and it gets very lonely. There are moments when you feel like giving up and/or hit the wall. To ensure I have some company during the run I always listen to music (naysayers please excuse!) and this has definitely played an important role in my evolution as a long distance runner.

I list below five songs that have pushed me during my runs in the past few years and they will always have a special place in my long run and also on my iPhone (previously iPod shuffle).

Ladio from I: What a powerhouse of energy this song is! There was a time I would listen to all the songs from ‘I’ exclusively during my run and time a 7k to that. Ladio is one of those tracks that just changes its form every minute in the song and that refreshes me quite a bit on my run. A target for me is to run a full marathon with 4:41 as my pace per kilometer. May I will put this song on a loop 42.2 times!

Oru Nanban Irundhaal from Enakku 20 Unakku 18: The song has a constant tempo from start to finish and Chinmayi’s vocals alongside the chorus is something that keeps one going nonstop. Also the lyrics of this song about friendship also are something I liken to my relationship with my run. Particularly - Ada vaazhkkai padhai maralaam natpudhaan maaruma (our life’s path can can but will friendship change?)

Kadhal Vettukili from Parasuram: This brilliant yet lesser known duet from an immensely forgettable movie is another song that has an energetic set of beats and an amazing interlude between the first and second charanams. This always has a place on my running playlist and gives me that high every time I hear the first few seconds of the song!

Tanha Tanha from Rangeela: As a 90s kid, all I remember from watching this song in the 90s initially was Urmila running on the beach and then an ‘ugly’ Jackie Shroff creepily dancing with her. Well, with all those memories put aside, I revisited this song a few years ago and the orchestration in this - the flute, the violins, Sujatha and Srinivas’ alaaps before the first charanam make it such a grand song. And ensuring I maintain my strides fine with the beats in the song, especially when I am doing intervals, is a blissful experience.

Arziyan from Delhi 6: This song is always going to be ‘That One Song’ for me and I end up trying to ensure my races or significant long runs start or end with this song! The divinity in Kailash Kher and Javed Ali’s vocals and the positivity in this song takes me to an entirely different zone (both during my run and otherwise).

There are more ARR songs on my running playlist and probably I will write about more of those soon! Thank you Blogeswari for this opportunity and thank you ARR for all the music!
About Viju

Zu (An)na, sometimes called Dr.Viju works with the Universities in India on understanding how computational tools are used in the curriculum and research to help accelerate the engineering and science learning process.

I'll give you a moment and more to process the above. Yeah, that's our Zu 'na. His CV will need a doctorate for you and I to decipher, dissect and digest.

A reluctant book worm, A Marathoner and a Padicha Pulla - Zu 'na has been spending this lockdown period reading, running (adhe!) on roads and running a poll on Twitter with the hashtag #FavARRite on ARR's songs and albums. Viju blogs here, here and here . 

Say Hi to Viju here and here.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by Hari

If you're here for the first time, please read this post
March 2015. The job season was at its peak, with multiple interviews lined up. ARR, too, reached his peak with the release of his OK Kanmani album. Three songs from the film played on my phone, and, eventually, in my mind, during my job search phase. 


The addictive Mental Manadhilwith all its buoyancywas one of the more accessible A R Rahman songs on the first hearing. Director Mani Ratnam enhanced the song with visuals of Dulquer and Nithya biking through Mumbai's busy streets with unbridled energy. I wondered if I should approach my job phase tension-free. I wasn't too sure. 


The structure of Parandhu Sella Va is an analogy to that of the film itself. What starts as a light and fun track turns into something incredibly romantic after the halfway mark. Each time I played the song, I eagerly anticipated the portion where singer Karthik, a Me Too accused, begins Nanaindhu Kollava Mazhai Illamale to go into a romantic high. The chills, unmonitored eyelid closure all enhanced the dream-like state I was finding myself in when listening from the halfway mark. I thought, sometimes, being in a dream-like state was an excellent way to forget being worried about my impending final round interview for which I had to travel from one city to another. I thought I aced my job interview. 


Aye Sinamika made me long for a crush that did not exist. The song also felt like life: meandering but containing the highs that felt pleasant and the lows that made one yearn for such peaks. Unfortunately (and lucky for the one who got the job), I failed to land the job. But, the crests and troughs are what make life beautiful. We should try finding beauty in small things instead of complaining about things we may not have control over. 


I finally did find a job four months after the release of Mental Manadhil, and a month after the unsuccessful interview I mentioned earlier. It happened after over 200 listens of the songs from the film from a playlist that contained only OK Kanmani's songs. Maybe A R Rahman was telling me all along, “It's all going to be OKK in the end.”



About Hari:


Hari is an engineer by day and cinephile by night. He has almost ended his love affair with cricket by sticking to just the IPL. He writes film-related articles whenever he gets a worthy topic to write about.

During the lockdown, he dabbled in song edits and realized he has taste.


Taste isn't an issue when it comes to his cooking because he's a great chef. He loves going on long drives provided he has company. Otherwise, he wastes his time on Twitter.

Say hi to Hari here.

Friday, August 28, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by Sid Srinivas

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


A R Rahman and my life have always gone hand in hand. I would even call it a rain of destiny, because his songs have always been arriving at the right time, where I was able to relate to them with my personal happenings. I’ve mostly experienced A R Rahman’s songs for the first time through audio cassettes, CDs, FM stations, in theatres and now on YouTube. But one of my most memorable first time listens would be the time when I came across Rahman’s Malayalam song Padakali. At a concert of his.

I was well aware of the composer’s hits across the Tamil and Telugu industries, but Yodha is a world I had never heard of. Enjoying all the songs one by one at the concert which took place in Sharjah, I was taken aback by surprise when Benny Dayal and Haricharan started singing this Malayalam number which was like a vintage rap song. I remember asking my fellow friends and family members on whether this song was by another composer, only to later discover that it was indeed ARR’s own composition, and a brilliant one at that.

Now, Padakali has become one of the songs that I keep revisiting from time to time. The sheer pace of the song, the way the two veterans in KJ Yesudas and MG Sreekumar carry out the pronunciations, and the amount of the entertainment that one gets from the fun-filled video.

Equal credit to Benny Dayal and Haricharan, who were pitch perfect with their renditions on stage as well. Whatever ARR concerts I attend hereon, I will wait for this song to be performed live.


Thank you Rahman, for this excellent song that is yet another stamp of your ever-widening versatility.
About Sid Srinivas

Sidhu a.k.a Sid Srinivas is an Engineer turned Entertainment Journalist who loves his cinema as much as he loves his music and cricket.
A man of many hats within the review universe, Sidhu writes for Only Kollywood and Let's OTT apart from making brief appearances on YouTube to discuss movies. He is also a Marketing consultant for an upcoming movie in Tamizh. 
While his friends and family call him Sidhu/ Sid / Sidharth etc, he's known as 'EzhaigaLin Ilayathalapathy' amongst his ardent fans. Check this out to know why.
Fans can reach Sidhu here and here.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by A M Aravind

If you're here for the first time, please read this post

The first time I heard this song was when my neighbour used to play it, and  it reached us in a muffled tone - because of the distance and the concrete walls interrupting the sound waves. I was intrigued. The neighbour played it again. And, again. And again. Several times that day. And for the rest of the week. But, I was not able to make out the lyrics or even the language, and I couldn't figure out what song it was. The introvert that I was, I never got around to asking him what it was.


What kept me hooked was these lines "Jao humko to Aati Sharm hai, Teri Aisi Adaa Pe to Fida hum hain". I found the way these lines were sung to be so fresh. And addictive. And, the tune, so unique!


Later that week, at school, some of my friends were to dance at our culturals, and were rehearsing, with an instrumental track. During a break, they played another song from the same film. And, guess what? It was my "mystery song". I finally asked what song it was. I got the reply, "Don't you know? This is A R Rahman's first Hindi film. And the song is called Hai Rama."


Though we were addicted to many of thalaivARR's Tamil songs in the 2-3 years he was in the industry, I wasn't following his work closely, and I was unaware of his Hindi debut. I quickly got hold of the cassette and it was a joy blasting all the songs from the album in our Videocon tape recorder.


What a magic Hai Rama turned out to be. If the "trailer" from my neighbour's house got me hooked, the full song blew me away. There was so much more in the song. Hariji and Swarnalatha in top form, accompanied by playful flute (the flute bit in the second interlude - from 4:45 - remained my ringtone for a long time), the vibrant percussion and passionate strings took me to heaven, not just then, but even now. 25 years after it was composed!


Thank you, Rahman sir, for blessing us with evergreen songs like this, and surprising us with extra-ordinary experiments, even after 28 years!

About A.M.Aravind

An A.R.Rahman series without a guest post by AMA? No, Never, Nahin!

A die-hard fan of Rahman, Sachin and Federer, AMA, when not RJing on an online radio station, presenting ARR's songs, is usually in and around Pallikaranai Marshlands or Vedanthangal, marathon-ing.. ie Bird Marathoning. Don’t miss following his series on Youtube, for birders.
Also, have you listened to this song composed by Rahman for AMA? Yes, Nambungaji
Follow engaL Birdman here and here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by Suresh

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


Every tea stall that played Raja now played Roja, only Roja. And yet, I don’t remember when and where I first heard the song “Chinna Chinna Aasai”. We had neither television nor any music player at home then. The song, however, was always in the air, long after it stopped playing. Any popular song in Tamilnadu at the time was omnipresent. It was everywhere, all the time. You don’t have to do anything to access the song, it’ll find a way to reach you, again and again and again. So, though I have a vivid memory of my first encounter with the other songs in Roja, I don’t have one for “Chinna Chinna Aasai”. So, I present here one of my nth encounters with the song. 

I remember the annual day cultural events in a school in the 
neighbourhood. A group of girls of age five or six, dressed as little fairy angels in pink and blue fluffy frocks, danced to the song. The dance movements were simple and cute. The girls stood in their place for most of the time, bobbing their heads, moving their upper body sideways with hands on their hips. They twirled once in a while, in stuttering, staccato steps, not a fluid rotation. Their hand gestures made many shapes in the air translating every word in the song’s lyrics into a dance step. For the line that goes “I want this earth to revolve around me”, the girls placed their hands on their chest (me) and painted a two-dimensional sphere in the air. They stretched their arms sideways and drew one half of a full circle with each arm (earth), and as they pulled the edges of their frilled frocks a little with their petite fingers, they rotated in their spot (revolve around).

The dusky girl who danced in the middle at the front was beautiful. I noticed that she was the only one in the group who lip-synced with the song while dancing. Also, she was the only one smiling throughout. She seemed pleased with her performance. Though all the girls on the stage were performing the same dance routine, each one did it differently. A girl dancing in the last row had forgotten the steps; she was imitating the one next to her, and so she was always the last to finish a movement. The girl in the corner at the front went blank, stopped dancing and picked her nose instead. The one next to the girl at the centre appeared confident, but because she had missed a beat at the start her entire performance was out of sync. A girl in the second row was performing all the steps correctly but was looking down throughout. Some girls looked excited and so gesticulated more than necessary, and some seemed shy, hesitant and rigid in their movements. Despite all the variations in the execution of the rehearsed steps, when the song required everyone to hold hands and form a circle, they somehow made it happen; they did it with perfect synchronisation.
About Suresh

Suresh's contact details are stored as 'Background Score Urs Musically Suresh', on my phone. IMO, like 'Thalapathy' and 'Thala' this can become Suresh "star title".
From John Williams to Ilaiyaraaja to the music in Satyajit Ray's films to Ghibran's compositions, Suresh writes about music across languages on his blog. A true music buff, from time to time, Suresh uploads his favourite background scores as a compilation on his YouTube channel as well. Don't miss listening to this one.
When there are days when doesn't want to listen to any dandanakka music or even songs for that matter, one can quietly head over to Suresh's YouTube playlists. I'd urge you to head to his YouTube channel and listen to the music he's compiled. Pure bliss.
Thank you Suresh, for sharing your nth encounter with ARR's debut film track, on this blog.

Say hi to Suresh here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Walk Down Rahman Lane by Dr.Gagan K

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

I am a Kannadiga and it was hard for us in the 90s and early 2000s to even get hold of Tamil songs. The only way ARR songs reached us was when those Tamil movies were dubbed to Hindi. Sometime in the year 2000, my brother had come to know through his friend, that “the new Mani Ratnam – A R Rahman movie” had good songs. Our parents had planned a week long pilgrimage and we did not have any new cassettes to play in the car during the travel.  When dad gave us an opportunity to buy 1 or 2 cassettes, my brother and me rushed to a small cassette shop in Bangalore and asked the shop owner to give us “the latest Mani Ratnam – A R Rahman movie cassette”. Luckily, he instantly identified our query like today’s Google and gave us the Alaipayuthey cassette.

All through the travel, we played Alaipayuthey songs from A side to B side. My sanskaari parents immensely loved the Snehithane track which probably appeared on both sides. We wilfully kept “fast forwarding” the fast paced September Madham since we feared our parents may not like it. My brother warned me that “fast forwarding” will damage the tape. Also, if we changed the side, we would miss one good song on the other side. So, we allowed September Madham to play and that’s when my parents started a grand lecture on the topic - “Music, Melody, Decency and Old Hindi Songs”.  My dad started, “there are so many good old Hindi songs. But you people choose to play such indecent songs here. The melodious songs of Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Latha Mangeshkar…” Mom continued, “and Asha Bhonsle…”

At this point, I found a good opportunity and said, “mom, this song is sung by Asha Bhonsle only”. Both dad and mom were instantly angry on me and asked me to stop the music and my speaking. For about an hour, there was dead silence and no songs played. I then played a cassette compilation of old, sad Hindi songs. After a while, dad got bored and asked me to stop playing it. I immediately went back to playing Snehithane and parents did not complain. We however kept skipping September Madham to keep them happy. For the next two months, we played mostly Alaipayuthey songs in our car. Every time I listen to the songs of Alaipayuthey, I get reminded of the greenery, hills, mist and water falls on the roads of Western Ghats. Twenty years later, Alaipayuthey songs sound like they were recorded recently. But due to non-listening of September Madham, this is the only song in this album I am not fond of.


About Dr Gagan K

Dr. Gagan K is a lawyer by qualification and a law lecturer by profession. His initial connection to Tamil music was through A R Rahman. And now he listens to Ilaiyaraaja, Harris Jayaraj, Anirudh, Yuvan and others.

Say hello to Dr Gagan K here, and do visit his blog.