Reality check

Around the same time last year was when THIS happened. Now, K is away yet again, for more than a month this time, and we are back to the Skyping business. So last evening, with great difficulty, I managed to make Pattani sit in one spot so that he could talk to Appa over Skype on my phone. And just as Appa came online, Pattani was smothering me with baby hugs. Needless to say, Appa was instantly drowned in homesickness and I was not helping matters by flaunting the advertisement-level display of affection by Pattani. Indignant, he called out to him – Pattani, Appa va vandhu katti konjiko! We Skype with my parents once in a while, despite all of us living in the same city and seeing each other every week. Grandparents can seldom have enough of their grandchild. Everytime mum or dad tell him – Kattiko!, he immediately scoops up the iPad in his arms and gives it a tight hug. Virtual affection at its cutest :). And yesterday, when Appa made the demand, the bub gave the phone one long look, grinned and went – Nenaa! Adhu Appa illa. Adhu chone! And he rushed off to play! Do babies HAVE to grow up ? 😦
*chone = phone. As is choto = photo. Mazhalai, don’t go away. Pretty please ?

Pattani now goes to “playschool”. I typed that out in the hope that it would help me get over my disbelief that still lurks despite the fact that it’s been more than a month already. And I want to put it down here because the transition from day 1 has been so huge that now, it almost seems like Day 1 never happened.

We had been conditioning him for many months before he actually started going so that he’d learn to think of it as a fun place where he could play with other kids his age. The only catch was that he imagined we would be part of the fun too. So, he was quite inconsolable when we bid him goodbye on day 1. I was prepared for this to an extent but all the same, it was heartbreaking to see that baby, still shy of 2 years, to be taken away from the comfort and familiarity of home for 3 hours. The whole of first week was like this – we would talk to him very encouragingly about school every night to prep him up, he would turn enthusiastic, then the hesitation would start creeping in the next morning as we got him ready and would blow out into full-fledged crying which would flatten any out any attempts at consolation. I must take a moment now to put down that the playschool Pattani goes to is pretty unconventional and run by this wonderful lady (calling her PP here), who takes in just a handful of kids and does the most awesome job of keeping them engaged and teaching them values that I hope they’ll carry for a lifetime. I think I should do a separate post on stuff he does in school. So, getting back to week 1, the minute I entered home from office, I would ask him – Pattani, enna ma pannina iniku school la? And he’d go – amma, amma ayuden. Vera enna panna ? Amma amma ayuden. I couldn’t get out another word about school and started second guessing myself despite PP assuring us that it would take a while, but definitely get better. Week 2 was much better – he’d cry for a while as soon as we dropped him off , but settle down quickly and busy himself with activities there. But his stock response at home remained unchanged – Enna ma pannina iniku school la ? Amma amma ayuden. Things slowly fell into a pattern and he was visibly excited at the prospect of going there every morning. We were kept abreast of happenings and his activities there, and about other kids who came there by PP, but Pattani staunchly stuck to “Amma amma ayuden” every time we asked him about school. By week 3, PP told us that he was not so much as shedding a tear when I dropped him off and almost seemed reluctant to leave when Thatha went to pick him up at noon. “Amma amma ayuden” has since become a standing joke at home. He says that till date, and gives us a cheeky grin. Like he is saying it so that we feel consoled that he does indeed miss us in school. The brat. But I know he has a ball there now, and looks forward to it every morning. It’s hard to get him to bunk school even when he falls sick( I wonder how long this enthusiasm will last).

The prospect of going to PP’s house is the magic wand that helps me achieve the herculean tasks of waking him up, brushing, bathing and feeding him his breakfast in a matter of an hour or so. His bedtime stories mostly involve kids from his playgroup, and when he’s lost in his own world playing with his toys, he is usually heard mumbling some story or shloka that he’s picked up there. BUT if I go closer and ask him to say that again, did PP teach him that? What else did he do at school today? pat comes the answer – “amma amma ayuden”. K and I look at each other and laugh. K reasons – “maybe he needs his privacy and wants to keep his social life off our limits??”  Yeah, right!

100 Happy Songs : Day 42

If you asked me to name my favorite playback singer, the name that would pop out off the top of my head, despite being spoilt for choice, would be Shreya Goshal. There are very few things that I gush about more than her singing when I’m listening to one of her songs. That voice that makes the rest of the aspects of the song either pale in comparison or serve the sole purpose of elevating her singing to a whole new level – be it the music, or the interludes or the co-vocalists.

And then this song comes along and changes that for the first time. I knew that honey-voice to be hers, those little nuances could be only hers, also those tiny slips in Tamil pronunciation that I’ve always forgiven with a bias in her singing, while needlessly picking on the same when it came to the likes of Sadhana/Udit. But there was something far more compelling about the song that overshadowed her portions effortlessly. Limelight, get ready to embrace your next guest – Haricharan. The song is just him , through and through. First, that mind-blowing singing in Kaaviya Thalaivan(should do a separate post on that) and now this. It was his diction and clarity, the vocal emotion and the classy rendition that had me hooked to the song right away; not Shreya, not even ARR. Pookale sattru oyivedungal – first love of I.

The other songs in the album (with the exception of Ennodu nee irundaal which I’m pretty sure I’ll grow to like) hardly fit the appeal-on-first-listen bill. Merselaaiten has more or less been rejected outright – it carries too much of a Simbu flavor to even warrant more attention. Too early to comment on the other two songs.

For now, though, it is Haricharan, and Pookale settru oyivedungal …

Maya, have you listened to I yet ? 🙂

Literally speaking..

“Meena!”, the Pattani calls out, tugging at the MIL’s saree pallu.
“Shhh – Pattani! You can’t call her by name. Paati nu koopdu”, I tell him firmly.
“Meena!” Yet again.
I just glare.
“Meena Paati?”, he tries, tentatively.
Not wanting to offer any leeway, I tell him firmly – “Onnum theva illa. Verum Paati nu koopdu, porum.”
He pretends like he hasn’t heard me and scampers off.
He returns to the kitchen exactly a minute later, runs up to her and confidently addresses her – “Verum Paati! Akkam venu.” <I want water.>

***

When we watch nursery rhyme videos, we usually keep the Pattani involved in some chatter about what the mouse/cat/duck/anna in the rhyme is doing, so we can spin stories from those later on.  Sometimes we do it just to hear him talk and gush over it. Yes, we are yet to reach the “Oh shut up already!” phase. 😀

Anyhow, there is this rhyme that goes

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie
He stuck in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy I am!<Fat moral, but that’s not the point>

Pattani, anna enna ma saapadran ? (What is he eating?)
Cake!
Hmm.. ok. Anna cake lendhu enna eduthaan ? <What did he take out from the cake? >
Appalaam.
Whaaa !
Now read the rhyme again. Dang! A plum indeed!

***

The Pattani’s assisted story telling of the lion and the mouse story :
Oru oorla ..
oyyu liyon (a lion)
lion was?
hungee (hungry)
so lion enna pannithu ?
Tacchu mammu chaaaptu, akkam kuchu, thooyi la taachu! <It ate curd rice, drank water and slept in its thooli>
Some quintessential tam-brahm lion this, huh?

100 Happy Songs : Day 32 – Day 41

The original post was intended for just one song, but for no particular reason, I have decided to make this an Ulaga Nayakan post. I am not a great movie critic, and watched very few movies(across languages) growing up, but if there is one “hero” that I’d have to pick through all these years, it HAS to be this man. Here are ten songs(in no particular order).

32. Neela Vaanam from Manmadhan Ambu
I have no clue how this song propped up all of a sudden in the middle of a very random discussion with K last night. I remember how we used to trip over this song even before the movie came out. It HAD to play atleast once during our work commute and made many such mornings beautiful. The movie seemed so promising, we promptly went to watch it the weekend it was out, but it turned out to be such a dud. It is not possible to dislike the Marar man, but it was so disappointing to see Madhavan wasted thus. This song however, stood out – hard to believe it has its origins in the DSP stables(Yes, I am VERY prejudiced like that).

And of course, there was a huge hungama over the video. I personally thought it was beautiful, but there was a huge hate wave going around that the reverse motion was completely lifted from a Coldplay song. My two cents on copying/inspiration of ideas/music – I think it is perfectly ok to bring a novel concept implemented elsewhere in the world to an audience that is completely unaware of its exsitence. Only, PLEASE credit the original creator. I am fairly sure half the population of Tamil Nadu, which was the primary target audience for Manmadhan Ambu, had no clue about either Coldplay or the original video, or got to know of it only after all the hungama happened. So yeah, recreate something awesome, and give credit where it is due.<Note: No, I am not Deva’s onnu vitta Chitappa ponnu, and this is not about that kinda “inspiration” at all>

33. Poonguyil paadinaal nalla sangeetham from Nammavar
College politics/problems, well-defined relationships(Gautami-Kamal, Nagesh-Brinda Master, Kamal-Srividya) – I really liked this movie. Not sure if it did well though. And what a pretty song, no? Pretty in a way only SPB and Chitra can make it!

34. Nee oru kaadhal Sangeetham from Nayakan
This film has been dissected and analysed so much that there is really nothing much left to say, except that it is one of my favorite movies ever. Whattey cult movie! Mano, FTW in this song. Chitra – usual perfection.

35. Poovasam porappadum penne from Anbe Sivam
Yet another favorite, favorite movie of mine. I think I’ll never tire of this movie – the angst, the love, the hope, the despair, the joy – everything soo beautifully put across in understated performances by BOTH Kamal and Maddy. Oh how I love this movie! And this song, a Vidyasagar gem!

Meghathai ematri mann serum mazhai pole
madiyodu vizhundhaaye vaaa..

36.Valai Osai from Sathya
Haven’t watched the movie, but this song is sheer IR magic. Served with a fantastic topping of Kamal-Amala chemistry.

Few more songs that almost constantly feature on my playlist(though I haven’t watched some of these movies) and are total gems:

37. Nee Partha Paarvai from Hey Ram
For IR. Period.

38. Unnai kaanadhu naan from Vishwaroopam
For SEL, the awesome Shankar Mahadevan. Btw, Kaapi or dwijawanti ?

39. Swasame from Tenali
Love everything about the movie and song, except Sadhana Sargam. Not a big fan of her singing in general, especially in Tamil.

40. Enthan Nenjil Neengatha from Kalaignan
For the one and only Yeshudas and the beautiful Nalinakanthi!

41. Idhazhil Kadhai ezhudhum from Unnal Mudiyum Thambi
IR – the beauty of the composition!

The list would be incomplete without the mention of Sundari Neeyum, which is an all time favorite and has already featured in this series.

100 Happy Songs : Day 29 – Day 31

I’ve been reading very good things about the soundtrack of Ramanujan, and I’ve just started listening to the playlist. Music is by Ramesh Vinayakam – remember Nala Damayanti? Azhagiya theeye ? University? These are the only ones I can recollect, but just a handful of songs from these three suffice to speak for his work. Posting three of my favorites from his albums today. The male vocalist of all these songs is the composer himself, and to be honest, I am not a big fan of Ramesh Vinayakam – the vocalist, but Chitra and Chinmayee more than make up for it in the first two songs. From what I’ve heard so far, tomorrow’s post is most likely to be a pick from Ramanujan.
<Skipping youtube links, because of unsatisfactory audio quality.>

29. Kadhalai valarthai – University :

A beautiful composition. Vidyasagar-esque. Chitraaa! Every single time she goes Yen indha nenju vimmi vimmi thulludho

<The stylish Nenje thulli po(by Karthik) is another song I really like!>

30. Enna Idhu – Nala Damayathi :

Firstly what a nice, clean movie. And this song! Lilting, simple and that lovely singing by Chinmayee – makes you smile every single time.

31. Vizhigalin Aruginil – Azhagiya Theeye :

There was a phase in college, where this song used to loop endlessly in multiple hostel rooms. Dreamy, beautiful song. Makes you go ahaaaa! at several points in the song!:) My favorite of the three songs that I’ve posted today.

100 Happy Songs – Day 28

Rotten work day. Sometimes I REALLY wish I could fly away to a parallel world and do something apart from stupid programming for a living. Like, writing maybe? Knitting? Singing? Settle down in Heidi-esque hills, bask in nature’s glory, glutton on yummy food and read away like there’s no tomorrow? Reality check. I may not be terrific at any of these things. They are not going to pay me for doing all this(obviously). Glamorous as it sounds, the parallel world is a big myth(yes, I know. I am smart like that :|). And it is not everyday that the real world sucks as much. I can just make do with it. As if I have a choice, anyway.
Ok. Happy song. Had to rack my brains to come up with something. But what I did manage is an absolute beauty. Nondescript movie, an even more nondescript cast. But ARR it is! And vocals by the honey-spewing Srinivas. There is another beautiful version of the song by Sujatha too, but this one is the winner for me. Chotta Chotta from Taj Mahal !