Love and Life with A R Rahman

Growing up with the Mozart of Madras

So much hoo-haa about being a 90’s kid. They say we are the last generation to have been forced to read newspaper opinion columns, to have come rushing outside to play under the moonlight when the power goes off, to have eaten 2 rs. Pepsi, to have seen the Onida devil guy on BPL television, to have worn baggy pants of multicolored dreams inspired by Prabhudeva, to wait by our dark green dial phones restlessly, for our friends to call only to discuss what time to meet for school at the bus stop tomorrow, to have seen the first few commercials of orange flavoured cream biscuits and so on and so forth.
I am a quintessential 90’s kid. I was born in 1990 in Madras while Besant Nagar wasn’t Bessi and Mahabs was a place called Mahabalipuram where we would go for a picnic with family, with a good supply of lemon rice, chips, water bottles and newspapers, Lots and lots of newspapers. Last week, my aunt suggested we go to Mahabalipuram again for a picnic, and my heart sank at the thought of her finding the new “Mahabs” with drugs, booze and wasted nights. Anyways, I digress.
In many ways, beyond the reasons mentioned above, I feel proud and blessed to be have been born in that year. Devices hadn’t taken over the world yet, and I was lucky enough to grow up having the time and the attention span of watching the world around me come alive with books and music.

Music, Music like I heard for the very first time, Music from my early childhood days, the first few memories of those life altering moments which are crystal clear in my mind always set against the backdrop of brilliant music.

Isn’t it funny how we can always relate to every significant event of our life in tune with one song or another? That one song that painfully reminds you of your break up, or that song they frequently played in the tea stalls where you made your best memories with your gang. I think we humans look for meaning in every song, a meaning that we can relate to. Our most favorite songs are our most favorite because, it expresses what we are not capable of, in a musical way. We use and hold music as a basic form of expression. To communicate. To understand ourselves. To be understood. As they say, you can understand who a man is, by the music he listens to. It says a lot about them. Their moods, their energy and their depth. (It also tells you if they are a feminist. #justsaying)

I was born in the beautiful city of Madras at a time the city had discovered a rare musical gem called Rahman. My earliest memories of music, and I am proud to say this, are songs that will never ever get old. I am proud to be a 90’s kid who was born in the Rahman era. I grew up with his music, and we had our phases of childhood, adolescence and we are still going strong together.

Do you recollect that flash of Madhubala dressing up her grandmother in “Chinna Chinna Aasai”? So fresh on my mind, so green and so beautiful! I think its the first song my memory contains, and you know precious that is. Her joyous silly antics, the gorgeously depicted village life, the innocent lyrics and the heavenly music that brings it all together.

I am talking about a three year old singing :

“ Vennilavu Thottu Muthamida Aasai,

Ennai Intha Bhoomi Sutrivara Aasai”

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how deep an impact this song would had on her and how it would have shaped what kind of an individual she grows up to be? :)

Well, that right there. That was the beginning of the beautiful love story between me and Rahman’s music I believe. The love story between me and MUSIC, for all I know. I can distinctly identify life incidents and relate it to his compositions which in one way or another has been an integral part of my life.

To be Continued..

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