4.30 AM February 23rd 2009 – The alarm goes off. Waking up with the same excitement as if it was Deepavali, I got ready quickly and switched on Star Movies first, only to find some football movie going on. Soon, I flipped the channels and came to our very own 24*7 news channels and found that only NDTV was covering the Red Carpet live. The excitement started building up. It was a long wait before we actually caught a glimpse of ARR with his wife on the Red Carpet 🙂 The Slumdog team walked in smiling, the whole team including the child stars, who just stole the show away. NDTV gave quite a good coverage of the Red Carpet except the ARR part 🙂 It was a long wait till 6.30, before the show would start on Star Movies. In the meanwhile, the buzzwords Slumdog and ARR were echoing everywhere. At that moment, I don’t know what I was feeling about the prospect of ARR winning. Infact, I wasn’t thinking so much about it as I was about seeing ARR performing at the Oscars. The show started on Star Movies at 6.30 with the Red Carpet! So, again, it was back to flipping channels till 7 AM, when the show finally started! From the time Hugh Jackman started off with his antics, the excitement started growing more and more. Resul Pookutty started off the dream run of the Indians at the Oscars. It was a heart-warming moment seeing him give his acceptance speech. It was 9.15 or so. Without any warning, the nominations for Best Original Score were announced 🙂 My heart was beating so fast and I was just elated hearing that ‘The Oscar goes to.. A R Rahman’ 🙂 It was totally unbelievable. What a speech he gave! Speaking in English, Hindi and Tamizh, he was just amazing. Again, without giving us any time for it to sink in, ARR started performing O.. Saya and Jai Ho. He performed pretty well and I liked the way he and the other singer finished off together in the end. Yes, finally, the Americans were ready to see Indian film music in the same standing as theirs. Again, this time more unbelievable, ARR’s name was announced. ARR had made history! The words he chose to accept his award this time were even more touching. He chose love over hate all through his life and he was there! ARR would always remain such an inspiration – be it through his magical music or just from the kind of human being he is! In just 15 minutes, ARR had created history; something that is going to have an everlasting effect on the fate of Indian music, his career and his fans, of course. ARR always sees the hand of God in all of his creations. This feeling is translated to us too when we hear his music; yes, it’s God’s own. It leaves us with a feeling for which bliss is too small a word! It makes us wonder if it’s some divine music. It makes us lose ourselves. We become one with the music. I feel it’s something like resonance. The frequency of our soul matches that of his music and there’s resonance. We have found our natural frequency. We have found the ultimate state. And we see God.
Yes, I did see God last night. But this time, in a more gross form. It was Sivaraatri last night and what better way to celebrate it than going around Siva temples all around Chennai.
9 PM, 23rd February, 2009 – I started temple-hopping with my family. It was a non-stop journey. Chandramouleeswarar temple @ R A Puram. Sringeri Saaradambal Temple @ R A Puram. Tiruvottiyur Vadivudaiyamman temple. Komaleeswarar temple @ Pudupet. The Mylapore temples: Vaaleeswarar. Viroopaaksheeswarar. Malleeswarar. Kaaraneeswarar. Teerthapaaleeswarar. Apparswamy temple. Kapaaleeswarar. Velleeswarar. Mahaalingapuram temple. Siva-Vishnu temple @ T Nagar. Kasi Viswanathar temple @ West Mambalam. Sankara Mutt @ West Mambalam. Sringeri Saaradaambal Temple @ West Mambalam. Agasthiyar kovil @ T Nagar. Sringeri Saaradambal Temple @ T Nagar. Marundeeswarar temple @ Tiruvanmiyur. Jalakanteswarar @ IITM. Came back to IIT at 4.30 AM in the morning.
The 24 hrs turned out to be such a wonderful time. Whenever I was at home, it was ARR all around. Every channel wanted to show something or the other. For once, I was not irritated with the way news channels kept harping on the same thing 🙂 Just didn’t want to miss a single thing about ARR that was being said or shown. The Sivaraatri experience was equally enjoyable. Though I started feeling sleepy by around 2 AM itself, it still was worth it. The only two places where we couldn’t see the main God because of unimaginable crowd was Marundeeswarar and Kapaaleeswarar. Other places were pretty peaceful. It was interesting to see how everybody had their own way of spending the night. Temple-hopping was one option, of course. You could see a lot of vans taking around people to various temples. The other option was to spend the night in one temple – either awake chanting slokas or even sleeping in the temple! This last option found so many takers that in many temples, we had to find a path with great difficulty to do a pradakshinam.
The non-stop 24 hours had made me tired I guess. I fell asleep at 4.30 and got up only after 5 hours, with phone calls and alarms failing to wake me up from my slumber. Hence, the punyam I had acquired by staying up for Sivaraatri is lost 😦 Nevertheless, what a day it was! and what a night!