Thursday, 15 November 2012

Energy sapping or Energy giving?

Bringing up a child is a great challenge.

Sometimes I wonder as to how people managed to bring up so many children those days. One of my oft-repeated questions to my father even now is this-‘How did your parents manage to bring up 8 children’? With FP being an unknown word those days, it is not surprising that the families were big (at least 3 times bigger than what a normal family is now).

There was also no particular pattern in terms of the gap between 2 children. The gap varied between 10 months (?) and 4years.Therefore, the age difference between the first child and the last one will be 18 plus years-almost one generation. The generation gap that we talk about between the parents and the children now must have existed between the eldest son/daughter and the youngest one!

There are a lot of questions in my mind.

There will be a lot of excitement when the first child is born. Was the level of excitement and happiness same when the last one was born?

How did the lady manage so many deliveries? Don’t we all know what labour pain is? How did she manage to stand this?

What kind of attention was given to the elder ones when they started going to the school?

Did the parents even remember the classes their children were in?

Was any quality time spent to teach them the beauties of life-for example music, books?

What happened when the children reached adolescence? Were they given proper guidance?

From the father’s point of view, how did he manage to get new clothes/toys/books, how did he manage to pay the fees, how did he even run the family?(I am saying ‘father’s point of view’, because it is a known fact that there were no working women those days).

Though I have not got satisfactory answers, all I know is that all the children grew up, studied well, got well-placed and settled down well in life. Of course, I am speaking from my observation of the big families I know.

In any case, isn’t this amazing?

Now-a-days, despite a plethora of services available to us thanks to the modern-age technology, we find it difficult to manage even two children (at times ONE child).

‘Feeding’ them food, looking for the right kind of school, making them ‘do’ the home work, trying in vain to strike a balance between their demands and our commands, answering all their questions and asking them to shut up if we ourselves do not know the answers, forcing them to do things that they may not have an inclination for…
..and ah!yes, ‘monitoring’ them.

The last mentioned-according to me- is one of the toughest to accomplish. If we do not monitor their activities, we fear that they will be misguided. If we overdo our monitoring, we will be branded as people fit to join the Scotland Yard. How do we manage this?

While monitoring during formative years needs some tact, doing the same in the early years is a tough ask. How many times have we handled cases of breaking window/car panes, breaking somebody’s head (at times even ours…or is it most of the times?), and of course breaking things in our own place itself.. Really wonder how parents during that era managed this..
The father in today’s rare gem also seems to have had the same problem. The song-‘Peththaalum Peththeada..’ from ‘Anbe Sangeeta’(1980) echoes the thoughts and sentiments of the father of a ‘under-12’.

The father (in the voice of Jayachandran) says ‘Making you do the morning activities and sending you to the school sap my energy. To top it all, you cut the nose and break the heads of other children with your kite and the cricket ball. You notorious one! How is it that the God forgot to keep a tail behind you?’

The mother defends the son in the end saying a mother understands a child better and asking the father to mind his business.

The song, beautifully tuned in the minor scale (Nata Bhairavi+Kiravani) with the prelude and the three interludes reflecting the emotions.

I have not seen the visuals of the song(thankfully), but I can easily visualise the sequence thanks to the Master’s orchestration.

The prelude is full of energy with the strings and the electric guitar making us see a sketch of the notorious boy.
The dialogue between the flute and the strings in two octaves in the first interlude shows how the boy manages to escape from his father while brushing the teeth, bathing and while going to the school even as the father keeps pleading with him and chasing him. The strings and the electric guitar towards the end reflect the travails of the father.

The organ in the second interlude shows the notorious boy in full flow while the short string pieces in the higher octave show how the boy indulges in many activities.
The humming of the mother (Shailaja) and the dainty flute that follows symbolises motherhood.

The pieces after the ‘nose-cutting’, ‘head-breaking’ and the ‘victorious’ whistle at the end after the mother’s defence show the sense of humour of the composer.

What stands out finally is the fact that bringing up children is a pleasurable pain. Do you agree?


Suresh S said...

Thanks much Raj for this delightful song. I haven't heard this before. Thanks to you I have been hearing such beauties.

A real fun song. Any idea who the lyricist is? A very typical Raja late 70s song I would think.

Raj said...

Thanks Suresh! Though I am not sure as to who the lyricist is,going by the style, I feel it is Panchu Arunachalam.

Vijay said...

Beautiful song and nicely written article. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Raj!

Raj said...

Thanks Vijay!