‘Shree Mahaaa Ganapathim……………,’ the invocation to Lord Ganesha wafted through the early morning air.
I sprang up from my bed.
Had I been re-transported to my home in Chennai from my new flat in Mumbai?
From the time I was introduced to the world, every bit of this composition was in my blood. For three decades, to be precise.
My mother, a Carnatic music artist with the AIR*, always greeted the rising sun with this song.
She earnestly wished that I too learned music, but my apathy made my mother capitulate on persuading me to step into her shoes.
However, I had always been a keen audience for her practice sessions.
“Amma, why do you always close your eyes while singing?” As a small boy, I would ask, patiently waiting to show her the ‘good’ remark I got in school.
“When I close my eyes, I see a different world composed of characters in the song. Like, when I sing about Lord Krishna, a chubby child eating a blob of butter, flashes in my inner eye.” She would explain, hugging me.
The songs did sound mellifluous when my mother sang it with her eyes closed, completely enthralled, and absorbed into another world.
Presently the female had begun the next resonant song. It filled the air with particular reverence to Lord Shiva, on whom the composition was based.
Intending to meet the vocalist, I paid a visit to their house.
A middle-aged lady answered the door while the song reverberated from within the house.
“I am your new neighbour; I just thought of getting acquainted,” I said.
She ushered me courteously.
“Who is singing so melodiously?” I enquired.
“That is my daughter Ananya. Sorry did she disturb you?” she asked ruefully.
“No, not at all; her songs are so soothing,” I said and went on to explain that I too belonged to a musical family and that my mother was an artist in AIR.
“My daughter, too, sings for the AIR,” she said.
“Can I meet her?” I asked, making a wild guess that the singer should be a young girl in her twenties if she were this middle-aged lady’s daughter.
The lady took me to the room where I caught a glimpse of a girl’s rearview. Her cascading hair conversed with the ground.
The room had a divine aura. There was a picture of Carnatic music maestro, Saint Thyagaraja, and some musical instruments.
She carefully placed down the tanpura* after finishing the song.
“Ananya, we have a new neighbour who wants to meet you.” The lady said.
The girl turned with her hands folded in a formal ‘Namaste.’
Like her melodious voice, her beauty fascinated me, but then she would never know that a handsome man had come, appreciating her song!
Now I realised why her songs were so very musical. She envisaged her world from an inner eye!!!
Mother should meet her!!! She could fulfil her ambitions of having a singer progeny through a daughter in law.
AIR—— ALL INDIA RADIO
Tanpura—-A musical instrument
Loved the story. Apt for the title.
Such a soulful and heartfelt story of love! A perfect ode to the movie title!
Loved this Sudha. Music does bring people together . Can also cause strife if people like me sing:)
Love at first note. Music does bring people together. Well written, Sudha maam.
Loved your story Sudha.