Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Outpourings on a Tuesday night..

I went to Starbucks with a long-time friend this evening. It was just the two of us and I was all tingly with anticipation because she'd told me she had "special news" to share! Outings with girl friends are just so much more fun in some ways! You get to bond about a lot of things a guy is never, ever, ever going to get (even if it is one's husband). Back in college, Shailu and I used to regularly do this -- just hang out and do "girly" things. I miss that so much in the US! I had an awesome time just catching up on old times, talking about her guy, wedding plans, moving plans, the whole works.


Some questions just become difficult to ask as we get older. Especially, topics about marriage and salary packages even with good friends. People get defensive about their choices and even if you were just asking most innocently, the conversation goes all awkward. Can words really mean so many things? I wouldn't mind if someone I know well asks me a similar question but different people come with different baggages, experiences and responsibilities. So these days I've drawn an invisible lakshman rekha with most people (Of course, there's still the few people I take that liberty with!). Does it bode well for those relationships? Do we need to risk asking hard questions sometimes? Or does not asking very personal questions somehow strengthen the relationship? I guess the answer to most of these questions is "It depends"..:)


Speaking of relationships, I've agonized over a lot of friendships that "could have been". You really like a person and you want to get to know them well. But sometimes expectations aren't always balanced on both ends. Sometimes, people want more or they want less. Or maybe one blurts something that'd have been better left unsaid! The situation gets awkward and a once promising friendship fades away into obscurity. I've had my fair share of these and I've spent a lot of mental energy wondering if it could've turned out differently.

But these days I've had a lot of perfectly normal, conflict-less, amicable friendships fade into oblivion as well! These are due to the more practical demands of physical distance, work, school, family etc..

I've reconciled myself to the fact that if long-time friendships can fade into nothing, losing a few budding-friendships isn't so bad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Acham Enbadhu Madamaiyada..!

The 1960's in Tamilnadu must have been a time of revolutionary ideas, fiery leaders and pumped-up "I-can-do-it" attitude. It was the time when the DK was rising to power rapidly (There was no DMK-ADMK split yet) with its Tamizh-pride and anti-Hindi stances. I am not sure if the DK had already formulated its "Thani Tamizhnadu" (separate Tamilnadu) philosophy but to reach out to the masses and inspire them, the DK found a hero in Maruthur Gopala Ramachandra Menon (MGR).

MGR teamed up with Kavichakravarthy Kannadasan (lyricist), Mellisai Mannar MS Viswanathan and singer non-pareil, T.M. Soundararajan to deliver some of the most memorable songs of yesteryears. The simple lyrics were calculated to send a message to the masses while inspiring them with Tamil pride and courage. And of course, the foot-tapping melodies made sure that the songs would become a favourite in rural outposts! I am ambiguous about the MGR-DK agenda but one can't but appreciate the creativity that spawned such wonderful songs!

As I was driving to work, I was listening to "Acham Enbadhu Madamaiyada" from the film "Mannadhi Mannan". Even today, as I listen to it, I feel uplifted and enthusiastic. The lyrics go something like this:

அச்சம் என்பது மடமையடா!
அஞ்சாமை திராவிடர் உடமையடா!
ஆறிலும் சாவு, நூறிலும் சாவு,
தாயகம் காப்பது கடமையடா!

கனகவிசயரின் முடிதலை நெறித்து
கல்லினை வைத்தான் சேர மன்னன்!
இமய வரம்பினில் மீன் கொடியேற்றி
இசைபட வாழ்ந்தான் பாண்டியனே!

கருவினில் வளரும் மழலையின் உடலில்
தைரியம் வளர்ப்பாள் தமிழன்னை!
களங்கம் எழுந்தால் பெற்றவள் மானம்,
காத்திட எழுவான் அவள் பிள்ளை!

வாழ்ந்தவர் கோடி, மறைந்தவர் கோடி!
மக்களின் மனதில் நிற்பவர் யார்?
மாபெரும் வீரர், மானம் காத்தவர்
சரித்திரம் தனிலே நிற்கின்றார்!

Listen to the song here!

These days, every Tom, Dick and Harry actor gets a "cool" nick-name whether its applicable/desirable or not. But in those days, I really think MGR deserved his title "Puratchi Thalaivar"! The genius of these artists has always been largely under-appreciated. They didn't have the luxury of media exposure and the Internet that people have these days. But their art lives on and will continue for decades....