Two women and their music

A wedding  holds unequivocal attention. Always. For, it means a new set of promises. A new beginning in togetherness, love, joy and such else.

I sit in one such wedding today.

Before proceeding any further, I must make a confession of sorts: Every time I am at a wedding, for some reason there are tears in my eyes.

Its a curious kind of emotion tinged with joy, resulting in the odd tear to pop up first and then opening the flood gates. There have been occasions where random strangers seated in the next chair would shuffle their feet, slowly lean away and do everything possible to make it known to the everyone in the vicinity and passing flies on the wall, that we were seated next to each other by quirk of fate and nothing else.

Sometime back, me and missus were invited to a wedding. The groom was a friend. The bride was an acquaintance. They were really nice people. We wished well for them. As the wedding vows were exchanged, tears commenced their solemn roll down my cheek.
The missus, visibly embarrassed, left to herself, would have gone incognito. She did pass a few boxes of tissues with delectably discreteness. ‘Stop it’, she said in a hushed tone, ‘before someone thinks you had an affair with the bride and still long for her.’

That thought stopped those damn tears on their tracks. Since then, I have tried to adorn a monk like poise wearing a visage of intensely meditative calm, at weddings. The tears somehow contained just before they broke free of the eyelash. Or thereof.

Those memories run amuck as I sit in this wedding.

The bride is almost family. The young lady, who my mind still places as the school kid from next door, is getting married today. All the interspersed years between her being a school kid to now stand in reams of gleaming Kanjeevaram she is draped in. I realise that ‘time is fleeting’ is a saying that is greatly understated.

The wedding is at Tirunelveli. Down in the deep South. The quaint place and all the simple conversations hold every inch of my mind.

As the music wafts in, the aroma from a surfeit of jasmine flowers on many several heads are only suitably contrasted by the bright jewelry on many necks. The atmosphere of a Tamil wedding in Tamil Nadu, with food served on leaf, is barely settling down with filter kaapi beginning to course the veins, when I slowly become aware of the tears are brimming at the corner of my eye. Again.

I let them be. But this time, I realise that it is the music that is playing its part. There are two women playing the nadaswaram. I keep looking at them and soak in every nod of their head, tap of their feet and the wafting tune from the instrument. They have poise and panache, suitably matched with a certain playful practice to their craft.

They seemed to be in the flow. It shows on them. And on my eyes too. These were two women with many years behind them. They must have taken to music a long time ago. They are devoid of the slickness that city dwelling offers and retain a familiar rough edge to the smooth music.

They finish.

As they are packing up, I walk upto them and tell them that their performance was awesome. They fold their palms in unison and say ‘thank you’. Head bowed. I linger.  I ask them where they are from. ‘Valliyur‘ they say. A small picturesque town that is a distance away. Some more conversation reveals that they have a pretty busy calendar.  They have been playing the nadaswaram since they were eight years old.

I have a lot more questions to ask. How did they start? How do they survive in a man’s world, in a small town? How many hours do they practice and so on. But they don’t have time for me, as they reach for the filter kaapis from the brass cups.

There is something in them that moves me. My eyes brim again with precocious tears. There is something in these women that move me beyond words. The tears lurk and then fall over the brim.

Then I think of a poem a colleague shared.

I should be content
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not a comment on my life
David Ignation

I think of these women and their music.  Somethings become clear.  Ah, poetry. Somethings remain muddled. Maybe thats were the music is.

Transformation !

To the uninitiated, this photograph may pass to be a boy next door. Or perhaps a snap from some nondescript place. To me this seems like a boy pulled out from the the middle of mid summer day cricket match. Or out of a juvenile home. Or out of typical scenes from a movie. And so on. ! I mean, the ‘next-door’ ‘ next-door’ type.

Wouldn’t you agree ?


And so, it must have taken a awesome effort, mindless grind, endless passion, untold determination and some sprinkling of luck to emerge as this man.

Personally, the music this man composes just blows a whole lot of people away. And if there are any left standing, the humility he exudes, takes care. Some people inspire by the way they are. He is one.

It must have taken all that awesome effort, mindless grind and endurance to get there ! And of that this man is testimony to. And sure he has found riches awaiting !

Whilst there are others who rake in the riches by making a story of the transformation ! Just putting photo one and two together, writing well, and putting it out as a magazine !!

And to see this wall poster advertisement for a Tamil magazine, right here in Mumbai made the missus nudge and my camera capture !

And her comment that about those that still believe that ‘hope is a method’ was of course not directed at me. Really.

She told me. Ok ?

Music. Not to the Ear !

The evolution of technology has brought about a revolution in the way we live our lives. Examples galore. Post offices, Greeting cards, Diskettes, Video Casette Players ( VCRs / VCPs ) etc.

Add to that list : Simple Ring tones !

Over the past couple of months, i have been privy to some rather strange ring tones. Mobile phones these days, come with de riguer features of being able to create / download your own ringtones ! And sometimes people use it so very well, that you want to grab their mobiles and throw it in the Mumbai flood !

Sample these :

a. We are in the middle of Dasavatharam, the now popular Tamizh movie. Time is in the vicinity of midnight. A mobile goes of. Not the usual ring, ring…. But ‘Kausalya Suprabatham…’ Loud and clear ! The guy picked up the phone and spoke. ( I seriously think it was an ardent kamal fan waking up people). That aside, you get the point.
Suprabatham for ring tone !

b. ‘Excuse me boss. You have a text message’. Says a message tone. For some reason, the junior most keeps getting this message, essentially so in the company of the senior most. In the loudest volume possible. That could be hidden agenda there too !

Babies wail. Movie stars croon. Dogs bark. Buses Honk. Elephants trumpet. Politicians Howl. Singers talk. Cows chomp. Friends chatter. Micheal Jackson says ‘Dangerous’. Football fans singing. Geese cackling. And other unexplainable ‘sounds’.

Imagine such strange noises emanating from deep down. I mean trouser pockets. In the middle of a conversation. Or worse, a presentation to a potential client. Imagine you standing there and finishing with a flourish, ‘Gentlemen, this is the most innovative product of this century. when do we get the cheque ?’ And there goes a ring tone. Of dogs barking or cows chomping. Or worse, a song like ‘ You cant touch this’ !

While ring tones help distinguish yourself, these take things too far. Especially if you bring them to the conference table !! And especially so if you set them to go off at the highest volume !

Many years ago, a colleague played a prank on another, who we shall call John. John had left his phone unattended. This colleague picked up John’s phone and barked into the phone.

‘” John, pick up your fu***** phone.”
‘” John, pick up your fu***** phone.”

He then proceeded to set it up as a ring tone and left the phone where it was. John came back to the cafetaria and in a pre-planned quiet moment, a call landed on Johns mobile which promptly translated to

‘John pick up the fu***** phone’ !

Momentary perplexity confounded John. It took longer for him to realise that it was his phone after all. And an eternity for him to understand what hit him ! Well, well, well…those were times.

I drew inspiration to write this after reading about a new ringtone that adults cant hear. Only children can !!! Its just above adults listening frequency. Read it here ! They call it the Mosquito Ring tone !

The world is moving to a strange tune. And i am not sure if it is music. Especially to the ear !