The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

Menu Close

On music lessons, turmeric milk and gratitude…

Kausalyaatmaja nee thodumbol,
Shilayum ahalyayaayi maarunnu…

O Son of Kausalya, when you touch,
even a stone turns into Ahalya…

Thus sang Yesudas in Arayannangalude Veedu, a Malayalam film starring Mammootty, Lakshmi Gopaladas and others. The song is sung in the classical Carnatic style and Yesudas’s golden-hued voice adds such richness to the beautiful composition.

I love so many forms of music. Sufi qawaalis, Marathi abhangs, Arabic rhythms, classic rock, jazz-based fusion — all these occupy special places in my heart but a big chunk of it belongs to Carnatic classical music. Long long ago, about twenty years back, Geetu and I started learning music. I was probably eight years old and Geetu was six and both of us agreed that we hated it. We dreaded the drudgery of music lessons, we hated singing before others, we hated having to practise every day. To top it, Daddy had us practise singing first thing in the morning. I should explain here: I have an inherently hoarse voice, much like my Dad’s. In fact, I have been mistaken for my Dad so many times on the phone. In the wee hours of the morning, my voice could hardly be coaxed into speaking let alone singing! Here, Daddy would introduce his magic concoction: warm milk with turmeric and sugar – ugh! Next to buttermilk and yogurt, turmeric milk occupied the position of most hated drink… aah, those were the days of music classes! All through, Mom and Dad coaxed us to go for the lessons and cajoled us into practising regularly… all the time reassuring us that one day, when we would be adults, we would thank them for it. Not once did I believe that I’d be thankful for it… and I am positive that Geetu felt the same.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Today, I may be an average singer but the enjoyment I derive from classical music is truly one of the biggest gifts in my life. Classical music has transported me to bliss, got the tears rolling down my cheeks and I have thanked Mummy and Daddy again and again. I stopped singing a long time back (board exams, job schedules, pure laziness intervened) and then it all began again with Art of Living. I started singing at Satsangs and today I sing so often… and people have come up to me and congratulated me on my voice and singing ability… 🙂

And if you’d wonder about the slight crack in my voice, it’s only because the gratitude threatens to burst forth…

Related Posts