Thursday, 31 January 2013


About 4 years back when I was on an official tour to a city where I spent my formative years, I took a stroll after my dinner. Since the hotel was not very far from the place I lived nearly 3 decades back, I decided to go and see the house, and the school where I studied for 4 years. As I was walking by the side of the road, my heart rate increased. Just before the ‘gully’, something caught my instant attention. That object seemed so familiar to me. It was a huge tamarind tree. It was old now but surely seemed to recognise me. I went near that and gave it a caressing touch. The feeling I had then, is very difficult to express.

Nostalgia is a very special feeling. Though Eckhart Tolle may not agree, the past also has its own power. We are what we are because of our past. It is the past that has guided us to the present which in turn will take us to the future as the present becomes the past in future.

Show me one person who does not indulge in nostalgic trips now and then and does not enjoy it.

School, favourite teacher, dearest friend(s), objects, cycle, neighbours, pranks, games, music, radio…
The last two are the most relevant here.

Let me go back to the first paragraph. The house that I referred to was the place where I got my first transistor radio. Of course, I had an old valve set radio too which would receive Radio Australia, BBC and ah yes.. Radio Ceylon. If the first two introduced me to the finer nuances of the game called cricket through the voices of some great legendary commentators, the last mentioned introduced me to the world of music. The ‘Binaca Geetmala’ on Wednesday nights between 8 and 9 pm was one programme which I would never miss. The Hindi film songs attracted me so much that I became addicted to it.

Since the city I was living that time was about 750 kms from Tamizh Nadu, my exposure to Tamizh songs at that time was through Vividh Bharati during a 15 minute slot between 4.30 and 5.30 pm, and the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation Asian Service between 4pm and 6pm.

Post-1976, I would be glued to the radio during this time for reasons that are obvious and I am sure this needs no elaboration.

I vividly remember the first time I listened to each and every song of his not just during this period but also post-1978 when we moved to a place in Tamizh Nadu about 150kms away from Madras.

Even very recently he himself has said in an interview about how people recall various incidents in their life through his songs and also how they always remember the first time they listened to the songs.

The rare gem of the day also talks about nostalgia.

Rendered beautifully by Deepan Chakravarthy, ‘Paaduthamma Aatrin alaigaL’ from the film ‘NaNdu(1980) moves like a gentle breeze.

The prelude starts with his favourite instrument during early ‘80s(refer my previous post) followed by the soft humming of Deepan. The Pallavi in ShankarabharaNam is breathtakingly fresh.

The eloquent flute dominates the interlude. The one- stringed instrument that nods its head in the first part gives a folksy feel while the keys towards the end gives that western touch with the dilruba in the middle kindling our deepest emotions.

The CharaNam is mellow and tranquil with some meaningful melodic lines.

The first two lines are graceful and the next two lines move like a gentle stream.
The lines that follow are resplendent with the alien note at the end giving a diffused glow.

Glow of nostalgia..