Friday, February 19, 2010

Of Ability, Music and Following the heart

Been a hectic week. Last Saturday attended the Ability Awards, organized by the Ability Foundation, Chennai. An evening of light, music and dance, that culminated in a felicitation of a select few achievers. Achievers would be an understatement, considering these people had done things you and I couldn’t, and had done them despite being differently abled.

My association with the Ability Foundation goes back to 2005, when they conducted this competition called “60 seconds to fame”, as part of Ability Fest ‘05. This was a one minute short film contest, the topic being “An Inclusive Society”, the jury comprising Maniratnam, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Nandita Das, Revathy and other people from the film fraternity. My film “Credits” was among the top 50 films, screened at the Ability Fest, at Anand Theatre. It was great to be part of another of the foundation’s initiatives, the Ability Awards ‘10.

Srinivas sir had been approached to perform for this event. He graciously decided to compose a new song for the cause, and when good intentions and music combine, nothing short of magic is created. We recorded the song in two days, and had super fun doing it! Singers included Ajesh, Ravi, Prasanna, Santosh, Ragini, Ranjani, Renu, Divya, Sharanya and myself. Others who contributed to the song were Navneeth, Aalap Raju and Keba. We also performed this song at the award ceremony.

Was at the MRF racing event to sing along with Pop Shalini. Apparently actor Ajith had been the main attraction, so when we performed a couple of Surya songs, the crowd got unruly and spilled onto the racing track in a bid to get the dj to play ‘thala’ songs. They wouldn’t submit unless ‘thala’ himself came. And come he did. He pleaded to his fans to stay put in their seats, and if not give him a good name, at least spare him disgrace. The fans obliged. Now that’s star power I say! We had to cut the concert short by then as it was time for the next racing session to begin.

Al jarreau started my week, and jazz is elevating to say the least. And humbling, as Srini sir says. Often I get the feeling we begin to concentrate more on the technical aspects of music as we learn more, and this leads to approaching a song very mechanically while composing or listening. In doing so, we miss out on the aesthetics of the song, and the very underlying purpose of music: happiness. Music is and should be from the heart, and not the mind. Typically, the kind of horripilation an untrained ear would experience listening to a Rahman song, would not be so pronounced in someone who bents on dissecting the song for chords, basslines and leads! Of course, from a musician point of view, such technical aspects are necessary for learning, but ultimately, I feel it is imperative to keep in mind, that the heart is the ruler!
Jazz does precisely this to me. It is profound, yet there is so much expression and emotion and happiness in it, that all you feel like doing is sit back, relax, forget the world and enjoy the music! Even if the guy next to you in the bus is a little too big for his seat and cramps you up!

Looking forward to an exciting week ahead musically :-) More news as events happen!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Of Love, Bones and V-Day Vendetta

Long back, when Orkut was the latest craze, and creating communities like Gethu than aambalaikku sothu* was cool, I started one. Called V for Vengaayam. V-Day carnival posts (the latest buzz in office blogs) suddenly reminded me of that. Yeah I know totally irrelevant, but that’s the closest you could get me to writing on the topic! :P

So now you’re wondering if I’m the un-romantic, humourless bloke who cringes at the thought of celebrating love. Of course I’m not. I’m happily in love with a lot of people and things (like my Sennheiser headphones, Catch 22, Shreya Ghoshal …) And no, I’m not the kind who thinks our "Kalachaaram" is going down the drains with "western" influences like dating, mating etc. It’s just that I can’t seem to come up with mush or even write bearable fiction (read lowe stories) just because V-day’s around the corner.

I love observing people. That good looking girls constitute a majority of my observations is sheer coincidence. I mean, just imagine: there’s hardly any time to "observe" considering there’s very less scope during office hours, owing to a number of reasons, of which work probably figures in the last five, and scarcity of eye candy features in a very prominent position. Outside office, well, like the great Russian philosopher, Figaro Karektzovsky has stated, when you look for what you want to see, you see what you’re looking for.

So what’s this post about and what the hell does it have to do with V-Day? Well, this is about a few observations I’ve made. About good looking women? Maybe, but more about people in love, and what it does to their and others’ well being!
Here we go!

Music should touch the soul. And hence, when you sing, you should sing from the heart. But then, Oaayiye sung in less than half tempo, with oodles of expression and "peelings" was a little too much for us to take during one of our trips. This friend just wouldn’t stop. We didn’t complain, and call me the most unromantic person on earth, but isn’t singing Jalakku Jalakku Jariga Selai with extra peelings crossing the limit?? (For my non-tamil speaking readers, this would be equivalent of crooning What is your ishtyle number in "My heart will go on" mode for your sweetheart). The things love does to people!

And then there’s the Kabab Mein Haddi (Soathula Kallu) syndrome. A friend of mine recently found himself transmogrifying into the Haddi. Of course he loved his new role and found great pleasure in irritating his friend. The best part of having a friend who seems to be smitten, is the confusion that arises out of not knowing for sure if he’s in love. So our Haddi, who travels to work every day with his friend, let’s call him Buddy for convenience’s sake, finds himself politely offering his seat to Buddy’s Cuddy (the girl, named thus, coz it sounds similar to "cuddly" and cuddly is a…well cute n cuddly word). Now Haddi and Cuddy are good friends too, but Cuddy politely (and embarrassedly) refuses and takes a seat few rows ahead.

Little does poor Haddi know how badly pissed Buddy is, with Cuddy for refusing the offer. His attempts to strike conversation with Buddy are met with glances that chill him…to the bone! Haddi gradually realizes his new "Bone Identity". After the initial few moments of realization, it occurs to him, this could be great fun after all. As Buddy and Cuddy furiously type away on their mobiles alternately, Haddi realizes sending a few forwards to these two would be a lovely idea.
Haddi now lies in a hospital, suffering from abnormal calcification and multiple fractures suffered from accidentally being pushed off a moving bus.

Now we come to the desperados. There’s a lot of these types... The ones that are suckers to Orkut and Facebook fraandships. Oh how we laughed when a month old online relationship ended in an absolute fiasco when the two finally decided to meet at a restaurant and what followed was more or less like the "thangachi manimegalai" comedy :-p Our poor guy was in for a shocker when the girl ( who by now you would’ve guessed was quite contrary to what he had imagined her to be) turned up with her BIG brother and proposed right in front of Bhayya. I hear these days he’s switched to Facebook.

Yeah I know it’s easy to make fun of others. But hey who cares. You guys can make fun of me and Shreya and watch us blush! *naadirdaana dhirenaana naa plays in the background Goa style* ;-)

Those of you who are single and saved, here’s wishing you loads of girlfriends and boyfriends this V-day! And those in love, here’s wishing you a great life and speedy recovery J

*I couldn’t translate this one literally, as the word Gethu is pretty difficult to translate. The expression more or less means : Composure is a man’s treasure (I find myself going yuck at the poetry!)