Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Journey

I was doing my 3rd grade at Karaikudi. You can imagine that I had no affinity towards any genre of music, then. My first exposure to Raaja’s music came when my neighbor used to play “Mudhal Mariyaathai” and “Sindhu Bhairavi” songs all the time in their tape-recorder. It is really amazing that I still remember those incidents. The songs “Naanoru Sindhu Kaavadi Sindhu” and “Andha Nilava thaan Nan Kaiyila” that our neighbor used to play over and over. (He must have been a hard-core IR fan, I guess)

My parents used to take us to a movie once in a year and that too after doing a background check on the film with his colleagues to ensure it is kind of free from violence, adult stuff etc. If I try to do that today, I probably would end up having none to watchL. So, anyways, since we watch movies very rarely I never got a chance to get hooked to the songs.

With the kind of exposure today to cartoons, music, rhymes CDs that even my 8 months old daughter gets, I look back at our first 2-in-1 Philips Set we bought around 1988-89. And the first and the only cine-cassette we possessed for a long time was all time hits of MSV and KVM. The 2-in-1 used to play Vishnu Sahasranamam, Bhaja Govindam and occasionally the sole cine-cassette.

Meanwhile, our school got a new bus around that time and our new bus driver had installed a small music system in the bus. (Very nice of him) “Vetri Vizha” was released at that time and Balu (our bus driver) used play “Maarugo Maarugo” song and I didn’t realize that the tune got into me. One day, when I was getting dressed to go to school, my mom observed me all the crap lyrics I was singing (Paathu Paathu Engudhu Love Pannu …kalyani veli kattu etc.) and scolded. It was the same time, “Keladi Kanmani” movie was released and like many of you, I tried to sing “Mannil Indha Kaadhal” by holding my Dhum with no melody whatsoever. I still managed to get 4-5 fans for my singing in the school bus.

Within a year or two, Sun TV ‘in Tamizh Maalai entered Tamil Nadu and we again had a policy at home. Sun TV - only during the summer holidays. Now, I got a chance to hear more and more of IR songs. I remember, “Maadathile Kanni Maadathile” used to be in the first for several weeks of Top 10 compeered by Priya. Humming a tune, even if heard once was my strength. I used to hum almost every song I heard then.

Enter Yejamaan. When I went to my cousin’s place during the vacation time, he gifted to me “Yejaman” cassette. That was my first cassette and it made a great impact later. He explained me how Mottai (He used to call IR that way) is different than Rahman, in style and output. I got a passion for collecting His creations and didn’t have any money for that. I waited till I got into my college. We never had any pocket money concept at our home. I need something, I explain and I get it. I used to save the change from Xerox, Petrol etc. Once I have a decent Rs.30, I used to pull my friend (Badri) and drive to Adayar New Music India. Occasionally, I end up buying more cassettes than the money I have and end up getting a loan from Badri. Remember, loan for Rs.35 INTEREST FREE and I used to pay back in 7 installments. No kidding.

Later, I went on and on to collect around 150 cassettes, all IR.

It is very nostalgic when I recollect my journey towards IR’s music. Thank God, now I have enough money to buy all of IR’s creations. But, I have a new found wish now. Guess what? I want to meet our Maestro and prostrate. If possible, see with my naked eyes one or two recording sessions.

If it ever happens, I will consider myself blessed and that day will remain as the most unforgettable day in my life.


முருகேஷ் said...

:-) :-) Your dream will come true one day. Me too have the same wish. I think I'll at least get a chance to look at equipments in the recording thetre.

Vignesh said...

Wow... It was like reading my own mind. We must be around same age group I guess. I had similar experiences in my childhood and "Yejamaan" cassette was gifted to me by cousin and I still remember how I used to listen to the songs again and again.

Very nostalgic...

Suresh Kumar said...

Emjay - Good read. I wrote something like this on A.R.Rahman in my blog... on his 15th year in Indian Film music...

kumar.s.r said...

Emjay ,
You have narrated my story with your name !! except the songs and period.
Nice re-cap.

Emjay said...


Very nice to know that you all had similar experiences :)

Vijay Krishna Narayanan said...

Very nostalgic. Though I belong to a later generation (4-5 years younger ;) ), I can resonate with almost all of what you've written. I distinctly remember trying to dhum-katti sing Mannil Indha Kaadhal Andri. Cha, those were great days!