Today is World Music day. No.. Actually it is Make music day. It originated in France in 1981 it seems. At that point of time one child out of two in their population was trained in one instrument or other. Music had always fascinated me. I tried my hands on it and failed miserably. But it was a journey to remember.
In 1997-1998, the state government had a department called “Jawahar Siruvar Mandram”. In a quarterly leave, they had arranged various art classes for kids to enroll and learn. The classes included Karate, Painting, Mirudhangam, Oyilattam, Karagattam and Flute. My brother usually got busy in holidays. He will be out in the morning by 6 AM to the cricket ground and mostly returned home after I slept. I was always a lonely guy and didn’t have too many friends. So I enrolled in Flute classes. And that was the only sane decision I made in that decade.
The classes were conducted for free. We were given flutes for free. We had classes all day long. My busy brother took time to deliver lunch for me at the classes so that I never had to leave the campus. Since it was free lot of people attended just for the heck of it. After the quarterly leave, they charged us 9 rs per month and only ten percent of the students remained. That is how I was introduced to Carnatic music. To be true, I was not interested in Carnatic music at all. It was too hard. I was not taught to enjoy it but only to follow it. So it became bit hard to appreciate the music. I remember irritating my master asking him to teach me cine songs. That actually gave something for me to flaunt in the school.
Like all good things, I had to end my musical journey too. But I never stopped appreciating music. The master still likes me. I had accompanied him to forests to cut the bamboo and watched him make flutes. It was a surreal experience.
I always wanted to write about Carnatic music. When I came to Chennai, I became friends with Vid Dev, who is a trained carnatic singer. Sometimes she gets carried away when we talk about music oblivious to the fact that I don’t understand half the things she say. I could see that her addiction is music. One drizzling December evening, she took me to a concert in Sivagami Pethatchi Hall in Alwarpet. Truth to be told, I went there because she promised me to buy Kasi Halwa in the canteen. The caterer was Mountbatten Mani Iyer. So I had to go.
The concert gave birth to my novel Sarigamapathani. It was there I had this spark and developed the story in few minutes. While we traveled back in auto, I narrated the entire sequence to Vidhya and she was OK with it. The story initially had no female characters and a different ending. it took three years for that idea to evolve into a novel. Now the novel boasts some of the strong women character I had written and I am happy for them. I have already given it to people to beta read and I am glad that how few female characters stayed with the readers. The concept of the novel is how the characters who are dealing with different problems find peace through music. To me it felt like a brave attempt. Because I didn’t know anything about Music. Thanks to Vidhya who had suggested songs according to the situation and helped in the whole music part of the novel, which is like 99%.
As mentioned in the cover, the book is not ground breaking literature or anything. It is like a good coffee in a rainy day. I shall be sharing more snippets from Sarigamapathani in this space.
Coming back to Make Music day, I can only say this.
endarO mahAnubhAvulu-andariki vandanamulu