As soon as I decided to become a “Writer”, the obvious question came to my mind, what should I write about? I mean, it’s my first blog and it will be closely monitored (Assuming that at least one person apart from me does read this blog!!) So what should it be about? Maybe I should write about my life. No…I wouldn’t really want my first blog to be blank! So moving on I thought about the things I like. There are a million things least to say. I am famous for being the joker of all trades. But then I thought I should start my writings with the thing I love most. …Music.
It is strange that a guy who does not have any musical background can be addicted so much to music. Till I reached some basic maturity level, which would be like some 12th grade, the only thing that interested me and which I thought could be the only pass time a man could have, was cricket!! All I used to do was play cricket and get about my life’s routine. The only knowledge that I had about music to start with was the amazing slokas my Amma would sing. Her “shree chakra raja simhasaneshwari” still resonates in my ears. The other source of music was from the mallu songs that used to play in Vividhabharathi. Some of those songs still give me creep. It brings back the memories of me heading to my nursery school weeping through out my way!! Then came a “National” Tape Recorder to the very stringent electronic resources found at my home. I still remember me and Vijay (my Bro) trying hard to find out how to play back, after pressing the pause button. It took us a day long to find out that we have to press it again to release it! Then came the luxury of listening to songs whenever we wanted. But still our resource of music remained very minimal. Most of the songs playing would be the slokas that Amma would play early in the morning in the likes of good old Vishnu Sahasranamam and Lalita Sahasranamam. Vishnu Sahasranamam in M.S.Subbulakshmi’s voice, I believe, is still the best thing that has ever happened to music!! Hear it once in the morning and your day will be good at least, if not great.
It was long before we started to get some Hindi and Tamil songs recorded in a plane cassette. Buying cassettes was like buying a 29” flat TV. So Vijay used to get the songs recorded from somewhere and we used to listen to them till the tape used to get stuck in between the head and gave up. Again I did not even know Bappi Lahri then, Leave alone the likes of Madonna and MJ.
One day Vijay came home recording a new Tamil album called “Roja”. It was supposed to be this huge hit. That was my first acquaintance to Boss! (Ok …I got the idea of calling him the Boss from Jhankar Beats!!) . I heard Chinna chinna aasai (Choti si aasha) and it sounded kinda cute. My favorite then though was Rukmani Rukmani. Never had I heard such rhythm. I wont say that Roja swept me off my feet and I became a music fanatic. It kinda told me that, yes there is something called music in life. After that it was like, if it is Rahman’s album we have to get it recorded and listen. And that was fair enough given that the albums he came up after that kept on being fantastic. The hits kept on coming: Bombay, Gentleman, and Kadhalan…..The list kept growing. His first Hindi album Rangeela announced that he was here to stay. By then I had graduated to buying cassettes saving the small pocket moneys I used to get. My Appa till date believes I waste lot of money on music.
I was in my tenth grade when I heard Dil Se first. This time it did make me a fanatic. That’s the first time when I started idolizing Rahman. Have you ever noticed the Background score in Dil Se? I saw the movie 8 times in the theater just to listen to the BGMs. Things changed around then. There was a song for every occasion. Happy, sad, romantic, frustrated whatever was the mood I started to associate it with a song. I still do! The love for music became a passion when Vijay gifted me with a keyboard. Even though it was an one and a half octave one I cherished it like it was a 15” long bar of gold. I played a tune from Daud first. I went to the moon and came back when I played a tune out of the blue. Now I have a proper five and a half-octave keyboard with me. Guess what? This one too was gifted to me by Vijay. Thanks Vijay! Since then I have developed my love for all kinds of music. From carnatic classical to hard-core rock I adore every kind of music these days. As I said there is a song for every occasion and I like to sing my heart out (My room-mates would agree to that sorrowfully).
So Rahman kept on scoring music and I kept listening to them. One thing that amazes me of the man is his consistency. Imagine, not one album has gone by in which at least a couple of songs are good. If you ask me, I would say all are good!! Every song of his found a place in my life. Of course he has come up with some songs below his standards. But then again he compensates by giving another masterpiece the next time. From Roja to Rang de Basanti and many many more to come I will be glued to his music. I am not here to argue whether he is better than the greats like Illayaraja, R.D.Burman or whomsoever. For me, his music drives me crazy and I am proud to be a Rahmaniac.
To Rahman I would quote:
“ Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
And then the world would listen
As I listen to you now. “
Well, I started off talking about music, and ended up talking about Rahman. For me it’s one and the same! I know, I have not done anything to music yet. But I hope to, sometime. And my ultimate dream still remains the same: Working with Rahman!! They say it takes courage to disclose your dream to someone. But I think it’s good to have a dream, which is close to impossible. You still would have something to look forward to in life! Music is my food of life and I will play on!
Vinod R Iyer.
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