Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Soul Music - Part 2

Post-Lunch sessions are generally reserved for Kishore/Mukesh or sometimes Rafi. But that day felt lazier than usual, so I just put shuffle on and let it roll. A few unremarkable tracks later, it was still neither here nor there. Work was not getting done. Not surprisingly aye?. More importantly, I was nowhere near drooling. And then providence struck - "Paattu paadi urakkam njan, thamara poo paithale" - I am sure every mallu worth his salt has this song ingrained in his/her psyche somewhere. This is one song that holds a special place on my playlists. A Tharattu (lullaby) that my mom used to telling effect. A gem of a song that has been passed on down the family tree. Needless to say, it still retains its potency.
"Happy-place " here I come.

It was almost 3.30 and I was almost napping, just like the good old days...I felt like a little kid again. Rushing back from school to watch Malgudi days on DD - going "Taannanna thanna nna nna hoy" and then taking a short nap before going off to play again. And memories of DD brought back memories of "Mile sure mera thumhara", the unofficial anthem of India for over a decade before Rahman's Vande mataram replaced it.

Set to the tune of Chinna Chinna asai, the huge red sun slowly rising on the screen over a wet beautiful country, is the imagery that has always defined rehman for me. He went electronic when everyone was into harmoniums and huge orchestras. And when imitators followed, he embraced world music, reinvented himself again with hindustani and carnatic strains and did it many times over this past decade. Isn't he a genius, this little guy? Copying tunes? I frankly don't care.

Refreshed by that dash down memory lane, I went about creating a quick list of 5 or 6 of my favourite rehman hits on the ipod. Boy Was that tough - ennavale??? - nah...Vellai pookal - definitely...narumugaiye - maybe...Petta rap - WTF??...Malarodu - hmmm yeah I guess...Dil se - 50:50....Yeh jo des hai - Bingo!....des mere des mere - too much patriotism..O paalan haare - hmmm....Look in Tamil songs you fool...Mettupodu?? - yup, bring it on...dhim thannana - WOW!
pachchai nirame york nagaram??? - I give up...I am better off with shuffle....Especially after the pod has started growing a brain.

My Ipod has sort of become my soulmate (pitiful. I know it is) these days. When it is on shuffle, it kind of senses my mood and selects the song. I am sure Apple has gotten an advanced AI engine in there that can uncannily sense human emotions, I am not scared of that. But I am scared of that day in office when it is gonna play - Roobaroo when I am asleep and I am gonna loose my sense of time and place and start crying out loud - "AYE SALA"..:-)

And an internal timer jolts me, as it was well past my tea-time. I make a mental note - Be more disciplined and stick to your daily routine better. As I waited while the wending machine brewed me some "Tea", I was thinking about my non-existent plans for the night. Forced offline due to a non-existent net connection, my pathetic evening routine of ORKUT - Facebook - Rediff- google news - Gtalk has been eliminated. I make yet another note - fiddle with your Ipod, it might help you sleep better...And hope for another dreamy day tomorrow..

P.S - The concept of a playlist based on your mood is already doing the rounds people. check out http:\\ You can thank "Kit" for this piece of info. Keep dreaming.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Soul Music - Part 1

This post is an offshoot of an earlier one about meditation , but don't you worry. This one will not ramble on and on about nothing and finally lose the plot. Hopefully.

It all started one morning, when I woke up to a humming prelude on my roomie's laptop and I immediately burst out in full throated vigor, even as I lay in bed - "Usilampatti penkuttyyyyyyy muththupechchu"...All i had heard was an initial couple of seconds of the instrumental to a song that i had loved, then hated and forgotten and not heard in a long time. I was wondering where that sudden recognition had come from and thus began an interesting quest and a few hours of thought.

I thought, on the bus to work, about the songs that I liked, about the ones that I loved....It was all one big clutter. "Kaatrin Mozhi" from the morning playlist was still running in my head. The soothing voice, coupled with the cool morning breeze wriggling in through the window, can be an unbelievably lulling way to start the day. I sat back and let the song take over.

The wooded pennsylvanian landscape and the moist greenery all around, felt like the lush green slopes of wayanad or Munnar back home, in all their rain drenched glory and me smack in the middle of it, taking it all in with arms wide open. And thinking about Kerala, brought back a song that asianet plays every now and then - "shyama sundara kera kedhara bhoomi".Along with it visions of dancing paddy fields, rolling clouds and coconuts. And as always managed to bring on a few nostalgic goosebumps. Strangely uplifting on an indifferent morning, I felt ready to take on the world. Felt like setting off on a long journey into the wilderness...."Jane kya doondtha hai yeh mera dil, Tujhko kya chahiye zindagi".

I must have been in a semi-dreamy state by then 'cause I felt my self spinning around on my feet, arms wide open, the sky spinning around me. I could feel the rain drops on my face, like the first refreshing drops of the monsoon unlocking the scents of the earth after a parching summer. Summer that reminded me of younger days of abandon. Cricket, tender coconuts and "Nongu" and "Veyil odu vilayadi" which again brings on nostalgia by the loads - .....A raptorous song that races through a few cherished memories, and brings to life the dust bowl that Palakkad is in summer.

A few quick shakes to my shoulder and reality hit me again. My roommate again staring at me - "Enna da, cycle gaple oru mayakkama, vazhiyuthu - thodachchukko, Stop vandhidichchu". Quickly gathering my bearing, I wipe the drool off and get back into my "professional" alter-ego. But there was this spring in my step that I felt really nice about. Sadly as the saying goes, good things don't last for ever. But I promised myself then, that I will dedicate some more time to dreaming. I mean in addition to the 8 to 10 hours that I already do.

I did not have to wait too long to fulfill my new resolution. A big can of strawberries and raisins dipped in creamy yogurt for lunch, can be one potent dream-inducer. Combined with an Ipod with a wicked brain of its own, "Happy-place" is just an earphone away....[To be continued]

P.S - Start dreaming. It does wonders.