A new year dawns…

Firstly, a very Happy New Year to one and all reading this. Let me get on with the blogpost now. I didn’t realize it’s been more than a year since I wrote something here. So here goes my first new year resolution. I should write my next blogpost this year itself 😛

Anyway, this year is going to be quite different from the earlier ones. My last semester at IITM has begun and I don’t know where I would be heading in the latter part of this year. Life is surely going to be interesting. Coming to the present, this semester seems promising, with just two courses and the famous BTP (B.Tech. Project), of course. Had a good time with BTP last sem. Hope to enjoy it more this sem.

As far as expectations for me from this year goes, I don’t want to miss a single concert of Sanjay before I leave Chennai. As the music season draws to an end and with me having attended all but one concert of Sanjay till now, I am just totally crazy about his music now and don’t even feel like listening to anything else. That gets us to the next thing. I hope, not too many of ARR’s albums release this year. I want to be able to listen to all of his albums atleast in the same year they release, unlike what happened last year. I still can’t identify which song belongs to Ghajini and which to Yuvvraaj! Another thing I am excited about is the fact that Sonu Nigam would be doing the LM proshow at Saarang this year. As of now, it looks like the Golden Jubilee Edition of Saarang is going to be really grand.

Already feeling lazy to write more 😦 So let me stop here. Gonna watch ‘Maargazhi Raagam’ today evening at Sathyam 😀

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Azhagiya Thamizh Magan

It’s been more than two weeks since the audio of this movie released and finally I got the time to sit down and listen to this, last weekend. The album is pretty good on the whole and no song is bad, as is always the case with all ARR albums 🙂

EllAppugazhum – ARR

Catchy song. Though not very impressive in the first listening, I am hooked to this song now. The feel of this song is like the ‘Ah Aah’ title song. From ‘Eh Thozha..’ to ‘Azhagiya Thamizh Magan nee dhAne’, the way the music builds up is awesome. It doesn’t make you lose interest in the song. The interludes are magnificent and when the line ‘Naalai Naalai..” starts, the way the music combines with ARR’s voice is too good. And again, from Eh Thozha, ARR’s voice and chorus dominate the background music. ARR has changed the pitch at 4.12. This is something we don’t see often in his songs nowadays but very common in the older days. Very good use of chorus in this song. The last one line could have been avoided. On the whole, I like this song a lot.

PonmagaL vandhaaL – Aslam

A very good remix, with the right mix of everything 😉 – the voices, the rap, the beats, retaining the voice for two lines from the original song. The CD says Krishna Chetan has remixed this song. He has also done additional programming for the album. I listened to the original song once 🙂 The extra frills and nuances of the original song have been perfectly cut off to suit the mood of the remix. As in the cases of other remixes, the pace of the song has been stepped up in this too. I see people talking about the ‘remix’ of Thottaal poo malarum in some blogs. Thottaal poo malarum is in no way a remix. ONLY the lyrics was used. The tune is in no way related to the original song.

Nee Marilyn Monroe – Benny Dayal, Ujjayinee

Undoubtedly the best song of the album and the longest too. Though I find the kind of female voices used for the line ‘ Hey Saturday night partykku…’ irritating generally, especially since it is quite often heard in Hindi film songs being unnecessarily used, it perfectly suits this song and it has been used at the right dosage. The pace of the song is just right. The first time I heard it, I thought it could have been a bit faster but not anymore. The interlude at 2.48 and the line ‘ullAsamAi urchagamai..’ are very pleasing to the ears. The various kinds of sounds used in this song adds a great flavour to the song. This song is sure to be high on my list of songs I repeatedly listen to.

VaLayapatti – Naresh Iyer, Ujjayinee, Madhumita

This should have been the best song, had it been a little more structured. Maybe it would be better on seeing the picturisation, but I don’t think I would be seeing the videos of these songs, with Vijay in it 😉 Anyway, the highlights of this song – the swarams in different ragams, Naresh Iyer’s voice :), the very first interlude in the song and almost all the interludes. Things that made me decide this wasn’t the best song in the album 😉 – the similarity of the tune ‘vaLayapatti thavile thavile’ to the line ‘Avalukkenna ambA samudhira Iyer hotel’ from the song ‘Kummi adi’ in the movie Sillunu Oru Kadhal, the abrupt change in the music after the first two lines. This song has a folk touch, for instance after ‘Un sirippo sindhubhairavi and those other lines sung by the male voice, and a classical touch to it in the lines immediately following in the female voice. But I feel that the blend of these two flavours could have been much better. The tune as such is not extraordinary. But, a very enjoyable song on the whole.

KelAmal – Saindhavi, Sriram Parthasarathy

A very soothing song. Saindhavi’s voice has been masked by the background music in many places, which could have been avoided. But the background music running throughout the song is what adds beauty to this song. The use of violin is excellent and builds up the pace of the song. Sriram’s voice is quite deep and suits the song very well. The tune of the charanams is quite ordinary again. A good song, which again could have been made to sound much better.

Maduraikku pOgAdhadi – Benny Dayal, Archith, Darshanaa

A typical folk song with all the elements in the right proportion. Though it’s not my kind of song, it’s a very good song of this genre. The beats, the lyrics, the use of so many voices and the catchy tune makes this a perfect folk song. Lyrics are quite funny, especially the lines quoting the specialities of the places in TN. Looks like this song would suit KaragAttam very well 🙂 Good song.

ARR rocks yet again 🙂

“We are the sum of all the moments of our lives”

I love that dialogue from the movie ‘Before Sunset’.
That’s so true. It was a big realisation when I came across that. Each moment becomes a part of the experience you have had in your life. This led me to think about why a person behaves in a certain way in a certain situation. I feel that the answer is closely related to the above statement. When you are faced with a certain situation, the way you react should logically be connected to some other moment of your life, where you have either faced a similar situation yourself, or read about it somewhere or a person you know has faced a similar situation, etc. The way you react again depends on how you judged the outcome of that moment, as in, were you convinced that it was the right decision that was made. If you were not satisfied with the outcome of that past moment, then you would react differently at the present moment. The judgement of that past moment depends on your sense of right and wrong, which again has been built by several other past moments. In the case of situations that we face quite often, our reaction is pretty spontaneous and the level of thinking involved is almost nil. It is as if we do things mechanically and it has become a routine. For example, when you want to brush your teeth, you don’t think hard about what you have to do after opening the toothpaste. So, for each situation, the amount of thinking involved to perform the action differs. Going back to the question of why a person behaves in a certain way in a certain situation, there is another possibility. Let us say that the situation we are faced with is a completely new one. So, we cannot go back to any past moment. In this case, we can either consult another person or some other source before we choose to act. And we need some time to do that. So, another factor that comes into play is time. Suppose we have no time. Then comes the role of intuition and presence of mind,which can be quite unpredictable. When the time given to us is very less, sometimes, even if there exists a past moment which can guide us through the present one, we end up doing something quite different. So, as far as I can see, our actions can directly be traced back to our past moments, time involved and intuition.

Is a person wholly responsible for his/her actions? Though many claim that the answer is Yes, I prefer to think otherwise. Again we go back to the title of this post. The past moments of our lives shape our thoughts and consequently our actions. The past moments are heavily influenced by other people, the books we read and so on. In a society, it is impossible for anybody to remain isolated. How much ever we try, there is only a certain degree up to which we can achieve this. So, the point is that the influence other people have on us cannot be controlled much, especially when we are pretty young and the mind accepts any new thing that it perceives. Probably, we get the sense of right and wrong when we see more and more people and come across new ideas. Anyway, we get to see both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people and sometimes it is hard to classify the actions of anybody as right or wrong even within our domain of right and wrong. Infact, I feel that right or wrong is a relative term. It differs with each person. Yet again, we go back to the title and say, it is the influence of the moments of our lives and since they are quite different for each person, this has got to be different too. And hence, we cannot blame anyone entirely for their ‘bad’ deeds, because they have been through a different set of moments than you have. If you bring that time factor in, things change. Lot of actions that happen on the spur of the moment have unpredictable results. But still, a lot depends on how we develop the sense of right and wrong. That’s a question to ponder about. Might revisit that in another post.

P.S. : This has turned out to be something quite different from what I intended to write. And I just realised that I am interested in Human Psychology 😉

Jaage Hain

Jaage hain der tak hamein
Kuch der sone do
Thodee see raat aur hai
Subah to hone do
 
Aadhe adhoore khwaab jo
poore na ho sake
ik baar phir se neend mein
woh khwaab bone do

These lines from Guru are very touching. Unsaid words, unfulfilled dreams, missed chances – life is full of these. If only, we had not behaved as we did. If only, we were given another chance. If only, we had had the time. If only, life hadn’t taken the turn that it did. If only….

Life goes on. Time, the Supreme Healer is always there. But memories remain. Forever. These lines from Yaadein are very apt.

Nagme hain, Shikhwe hain,
Kisse hain, Baatein hain,
Baatein bhool jaati hain,
Yaadein yaad aati hain.
 
Yaadein.. Meethi Meethi yaadein
Khatti Meethi yaadein..

Memories bring back those moments in front of your eyes again. You can’t escape them. You live through them again and again, only to realize that you didn’t do your best.

But there’s hope. For a better future. Life goes on only because of this Hope. If there is no hope, we can do nothing other than sit and cry forever.

The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope. – Samuel Johnson

Life goes on…

Aayitha Ezhuthu

ae1.jpg

How do you think I cleared the JEE? The most often heard answers from IITians for this question maybe their coaching classes, parents, God, their supreme intelligence (yeah this is more likely), their friends and so on and so forth. Agreed that I attribute my ‘achievement’ to these things but there is another uncommon but important factor which I believe helped in my preparation for JEE. And that is Aayitha Ezhuthu music (you read that right). So here goes my story.

One fine day in the last week of March 2004, I came back home from school and found an audio CD of Aayitha Ezhuthu.With a lot of excitement, I opened the CD and listened to the whole album once. It sounded different and fresh. I knew I would like it but what happened later is something I never expected. From that day onwards, I kept listening to it again and again and again – the whole album. Whenever I was at home studying, I needed that in the background. I went crazy. It seemed odd to study without Aayitha Ezhuthu. It wasn’t restricted to listening at home. Whenever I went to my coaching classes in car, I used to listen to it. It was magical. It inspired me to study, cheered me up if I felt a little discouraged, made me feel relaxed and on the whole helped me concentrate and study well. That, I feel, is the magic of A R Rahman.

Coming to the songs of Aayitha Ezhuthu, I still am not able to pick one as my most favourite. The whole album running for nearly 30 minutes is a package in itself. It’s a separate class of music.

‘Hey Goodbye Nanba’, with some beautiful vocals by Sunitha Sarathy and those soft beats, makes you fall in love with it immediately. Lucky Ali, though sings for a little while only, makes a great impact.

Jana Gana Mana – ARR rocks in this song. Full of energy and some inspirational lyrics by Vairamuthu.

Sandai Kozhi – Madhushree does complete justice to this song. The cheesy lyrics go really well with her voice. Not to forget ARR’s bit. It comes for about a minute. Nobody else could have sung that the way he did.

Dol Dol – Blaaze rap. Those ‘ethnic vocals’ by Shahin Badar are simply out of the world. Perfect dance number.

Nenjam Ellam – Though I don’t like Adnan Sami’s voice that much, it sounds good in this song. But the best thing about this song is Sujatha’s voice. She perfectly creates the mood of the song.

Fanah – ARR rocks again. Wow what a song! Instantly likeable. Some cool lyrics by Vairamuthu. Only ARR can sing swarams in a disco song!

About the movie, it’s a Mani Ratnam classic. It deserves a separate post.

ARR rocks!!!

Endsems!!!

Portions??? Notes. Overflowing xerox shop. Lib!?!? Night out. Drugged. Nth cup of coffee at Tifanys. Tutorials. Group study?!?! Philosophy. Mug. CCD. Chess. Room. Mug. Half the portions unfinished. 5 already! Comp. Blog post. Chat. Watch a new episode. Mug. Mug. Mug. Crash at 7. Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. 8.50! Pack bath. Lucky T-shirt. RUN. Last minute (re)vision. TEN minutes late! Cell phone! Smart Card(where is that??). Calci. Borrowed pen. Neighbour Freshie’s pencil. Bulb. Sleepy. 12 finally. Sigh!

Yes, Endsems are a week away!!!

P.S. : I have seen this format of writing in many blogs. Thought I would try my hand at this.

The Myriad Hues of Carnatic Music

I was introduced to Carnatic Music at a very young age. But it was some time before I started enjoying what I was listening to and singing. Music is one of those things which touches the soul and Carnatic music holds a special place in my heart. The most amazing thing is that it brings out such varied emotions. It’s as if each ragam brings naturally along with it a certain mood. You need no lyrics to understand the emotion.

 

Trinity of Carnatic Music - Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Thyagaraja and Shyama Sastry

 

For example, Sindhubhairavi ragam always makes me melancholic, a sadness which I actually like, which is as if it’s required and gives a sense of completeness. One of my most favourite krithis in this ragam is ‘Chandrashekharaa Eesha’ by Papanasam Sivan.

Next, Abheri. ‘Nagumomu’ by Thyagaraja is unarguably the best composition in Abheri. And to hear Dr. Balamuralikrishna sing this, transforms me to some other world. The pace, the utterance, the mood he creates is just so different from what the others do.

Reetigowlai is another lovely ragam which makes me feel pure bliss. ‘Nannuvidachi’ by Thyagaraja is my favourite in this ragam. I happened to hear a beautiful rendition of this by Ganesh – Kumaresh (Violin) during Saarang 2006. ‘Janani Ninnuvina’ is another beautiful composition and I love hearing MSG playing this. His is the best rendition of this composition I have ever heard.

Khamas. ‘Brochevare’ by Thyagaraja is my favourite, which is of course, a very popular song. ‘Seethapathe’ is another song I like, especially Madurai Mani’s rendition.

Sahana. Only one word can describe Sahana – Beauty. That’s exactly what I see in Sahana. There are numerous compositions in this, but my favourite is ‘Oho Kaalame’ which Sanjay is heard singing quite often nowadays.

Well, there are a lot more ragams that I love and it continues to amaze me how each one evokes a different emotion. Did Carnatic music really result from divine inspiration? After listening to it for so long, I truly believe so. Infact, any form of music which touches the soul, I believe, comes from a power that is beyond us. Carnatic is one such genre of music which has a very structured form and which has been preserved for a long time and at the same time, adapted to changing times.

Bhakti is closely associated with Carnatic music. All the compositions of the Trinity (I would like to know if there are any exceptions) express their devotion or prayer or some form of their connection with the Gods. Even now, when the singers perform, it really shows when they sing with the real spirit with which the song was actually composed. I believe that we can reach God or that higher power through Carnatic music. I feel that whenever i listen to Carnatic, when sung with the real feeling.

Well, I started off with something and ended with something. Anyway the point is that, there is an inherent depth in Carnatic music. You don’t need to know the technicalities to enjoy it. I think everybody should atleast try listening to it sometime.