“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
The weekend would have been like any other and Saturday was just that. On Sunday morning however, I received a phone call from a friend inviting me to attend a Carnatic Music concert in the evening. On an impulse, I agreed to attend and recovered a forgotten ear for that genre of music.
In my childhood, I used to hear my parents, particularly my mother sing songs in the Carnatic style and we were inundated with Carnatic music from the radio. Even Tamil film songs used to be based on the classical system but arranged by music directors to please a public not quite familiar with the classical music. Apart from these influences, close family friends were deeply in to the genre and we used to listen to two particularly playing on the Veena. And, all our weddings inevitably had musicians playing Carnatic music with Nadaswaram and in the evenings during the receptions, leading vocalists entertaining the guests.
As was the then custom, we had a teacher coming home to teach our sister and our cousin to sing, but alas, despite his best efforts, these two worthies could never master the technique though they did as all of us listening to their efforts did too, learn to appreciate the finer aspects of the genre. Apart from all these influences, our father had a penchant to associate himself with lady singers and would drag us to meet them to listen to private performances.
I grew up in that atmosphere but lost touch with that part of Chennai life with the advent of Rock and Roll and Elvis Preseley etc. That led to other interests and I eventually ended up coming to appreciate Hindustani Classical music due to living in Pune where it is de rigueur to be seen attending concerts with two very big festivals, the Sawai Gandharva and the Pune festival, celebrating it.
The Sunday concert by Nityashree Mahadevan and her troupe, was three plus hours of sheer magic. I was surprised at my ability to sit through the whole concert without losing interest. Nityashree and her accompanists were all inspired and it was a once in a life time evening. The audience response was no less in appreciation and involvement. I had the music playing in my ears till Monday afternoon. I have decided to become a member of the local society promoting this genre of music and attend more concerts that they regularly arrange. No, I have no intention of learning to sing though!
When I posted about this development on my Facebook page, the sheer joy of my dear ones welcoming me back to the fold left me stumped!
Thank you Koushik for rekindling that inner fire and being the other human being too! Thanks to you, another human being Nityashree too did that.