Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ignorance ain't bliss..

Today was a special day for me.. supposedly so, as is the case normally with every April 14 for a Tam Brahm (just in case I forgot to wish you, "Iniya Thamizh Puththandu Nalvazhthugal"), for during each and every one of the blissful 22 years of my 23, I've been treated to some of the most mouthwatering delicacies of my mom's culinary skills.. Maangai Pacchadi, PoLi, Vadai, Poosinikai-Kadalaikai kootu to name a few. Fortunately for me this time around, it was to be some "pazhaiya soru" with "puliccha moru". And so like every other day, my frustrations were compounded and I was in my usual foul mood. But for the sake of the occasion, I placed a few calls to home and relatives to lighten things up.

Later in the evening, I attended a carnatic concert, performed by Padmasri Sudha Raghunathan, with a few friends. As is the case with a bunch of grad studs (by and large given-up-in-life cases), the session was filled with cheerful badger and jibes at our comical state (fortunately for me at C-U, I'm not the hot favourite for their pranks as the case was during Trichy days of yore). Much to our surprise, there was a grand dinner buffet with soda, salads and desert to round off the occasion. But coming to more important things, it happened to be my first "hi-profile" concert. Within a few moments after the invocation/welcome/intro of the musicians, they proved more than convincingly as to why they are true virtuosos in their respective speciality.

I have watched such performances on the silver screen, but I must admit that being out there live, observing the artistes provide soulful renditions of divine compositions, and experiencing the feeling of getting elevated from ground level closer to divine portals is a completely different and thoroughly refreshing experience. My knowledge of music (particularly classical), the Ragas, the Thalas etc is at best "naught". Yet, when she sang some of the Anamacharya Kirthanas, I could remember very well, having listened to them as a kid generally during Gokulashtami celebrations at home. Fortunately for me, the lack of a musical background ensured that I just listened and enjoyed every moment of the programme, without a discerning ear and critique. The duel between the mridhangam and morsing in the middle was particularly electrifying and had every one of us enthralled. Says who that classical music is lacking in vigour or not stimulating?

After two and half hours of forgetting the world, my lab, homework, grad life and everything, I am now reminded of the conversation I had, on music, with my uncle, the day before I flew for joining grad school. I was protesting with him that western musicians reach out more and have a strong message to put forward much simpler terms, in contrast with the abstruse language of our very own carnatic musicians. (No offense towards anybody though, for I only base my views on the consequences of the lack of understanding a certain profound art form). My uncle brushed away my argument by bluntly stating that the former are more concerned with the most basest of human instincts. I do not wish to dwell any more on this opinion and attract brickbats for myself. Today, however, I realised how true he may be. I just sat and listened to things and lived the experience. It is so pacifying yet stimulating at the same time. No wonder my uncle was spot on, for he certainly is more worldly wise than I am. To summarize and put things into perspective on a lighter note, I'd like to recall and draw a parallel with Kamal Hassan's comical punchline from Pammal K. Sambandham- "... Adhu ellam anubhavikkanum da, aaraikka koodadhu" ;-)

To conlcude, the experience has affected me and left me completely refreshed, and with an ironical thought... in pursuit of post-graduate enlightenment, I am chasing a wild goose which supposedly lays golden eggs with which I shall build castles (hopefully not in the air).. at the same time I am able to associate so closely with such a profound art (science, say, for all art is but...), yet my aptitude for this wonderful science and its unfathomable depths is fundamentally zero!

Now I know what it is like being illiterate.
And.. ignorance is certainly not bliss!