The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Expressing the Inexpressible

After silence, that comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music—Aldous Huxley.
Last evening I availed myself of an occasion to soak in music. The artist was one Ms Vidushi Bombay Jayashri, the Carnatic vocal singer in whose introduction the organizer SPIC MACAY, North Zone Chapter printed the following words on the reverse of the invitation card: Bombay Jayashri Ramnath is among the most sought after musicians today. She has written, composed with Michael Danna and Sung “Pi’s Lullaby” in Ang Lee’s film “Life of Pi”. The song has been nominated for the Oscars 2013 under the category of Best “Original Song”.
Oh yeah, before I forget to mention it, the venue was the cute and unpretentious auditorium of National Academy of Audit and Accounts, Shimla.
Vidushi was accompanied by K J Dileep (violin) and Sumesh S Narayanan ( mridangam). And the rendition consisted of some four compositions or maybe five, and at least one of them was from Surdas: “हे गोविन्द हे गोपाल, राखो शरण अबके जीवन हारे”. Singing from Surdas’ devotional verses in Carnatic style is definitely an innovation of sorts and the effect was tremendous. Before that she started with the invocation of Lord Ganapati and the raag was Hamsadhvani. Then she went on to render Thillana composed by Lalgudi Jayraman. There was another song credited to Kanakadasa of sixteenth century and that was something like this: कृष्ण निवेगा निबारो बेगा निबारो मुखबन नि तोर. (Krishna Nee Begane Baaro) I’m not sure if I had noted it correctly but definitely what she sang made the audience feel the spiritual thrill of it, as if the singer was in real communion with lord Krishna.
Later I tried to search the net if her rendition is available in the net and got one at the link [click here] and another at this link,  but I can say that the one I listened to in the auditorium was definitely a class apart.
The best part of the musical evening was her explanations of the music in snippets, of the typical musical instruments used in Carnatic renditions, of the meaning of the lyrics she chose for the evening, and finally, of the spiritual content of the music as an art form. According to her, alaap is the free flow of emotions of the performer and that allows her to sing the same song with different flavours and effect at different times. She feels that every human being is born with music in him or her and it is for the fortunate ones that move in the ladder of perfection through practice. How true! Speaking for myself, I cannot sing a song that at least I myself should relish but there is no occasion that I have not liked good music. The song of Lata ऐ मेरे वतन के लोगों ज़रा आँखों में भर लो पानी brings tear into my eyes as it does to the million other listeners. The bhajan of Anup Jalota wherein Krishna the child pleads innocence before Yasoda मैया मोरी मैं नहीं माखन खायो fills my heart with as much love and devotion as it does to others heart. The ghazal of Ghulam Ali चुपके चुपके रात दिन brings me as much romantic feeling as it does to others. Even Ghulam Ali’s हंगामा है क्यों बरपा थोड़ी-सी जो पी ली never fails to catapult me into a state of blithe abandonment and I start excusing the thousand blunders of an addict appealing the world to leave him alone! So, it is very true, as Vidushi said, everybody has some music in him or her from birth.
And Vidusi before singing कृष्णा निवेगा निबारो बेगा निबारो मुखबन नि तोर (Krishna Nee Begane Baaro) narrated the story how Kanakadasa, a low caste poet was not allowed by the priests to see Krishna in the temple of Udupi and how he sang this song from behind the deity seeing Him through the chink of the wall. Then the wall gave way so that Kanakadasa could see Shrikrishna clearly and it so happened that the deity also turned back and looked at his devotee. The great song has a great story behind it, a story of a reformer standing up against the debasement of fellow human beings by the upper caste priests of sixteenth century. Really, it was quite a revealing story that she said to indicate the kind of feeling that was going to flow from her rendering before she went on to sing and enthral the audience.
In this way I was a part of the mesmerising musical evening yesterday and I should thank the Director General of National Academy of Audit and Accounts, Shimla Mr Kurien for affording me that.
There is one more point that comes to my mind in this context. If with age one’s taste of food undergoes a change, is the same phenomenon not applicable in the context of one’s likings for particular genre of music? In the year 1982, I had attended one classical music night at the auditorium Raj Mandir in Jaipur. The singer was none else than Bhimsen Joshi, the doyen of classical Hindustani music (kirana gharana). When Joshi ji went on doing his alaap I felt so miserable! So much control he had on his breath that its vicarious impact on me made me restless. But nowadays I enjoy Hindustani classical music and even Carnatic music. Yesterday’s musical night is the recent example. Not only that I liked Vidushi Bombay Jayashri’s song   Krishna Nee Begane Baaro in the auditorium but also I liked the very song from the YouTube from the net. I must admit that I do not yet understand the meaning of the lyrics and still the music appealed me. And it is classical music. Really, between 1982 and 2013, I have come a long way in transforming my taste.
A N Nanda

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