Friday, July 31, 2020

Musical Medicine

Everyone loves music.

Individual preferences differ when it comes to the type of music we enjoy or the situations in which we prefer a tune in our ears. But otherwise almost every soul on earth has a rhythm that he finds uplifting.

From the classical music enthusiasts that throng musical halls in December to hear their favorite artists "kacheris"(concerts) to the college youth dancing away to the latest "kuthu pattu" (filmy fast-paced folk songs. Even this one has a page on Wikipedia!) to the little tiny tots gluing their eyes to the television box for the umpteenth rerun of  "Wheels on the bus" we all have a preference.

Some like to listen while exercising, some while they retire for the day, some while travelling and some while doing some physical work . Of course there are those that love to have loud beats blaring from their speakers all the time!

When its physical work, the music relaxes us and helps us work with enthusiasm . Songs from rural folklore that farming women sing while planting the paddy saplings, the beautiful rhythmic songs associated with the traditional boat races of Kerala, the songs and kind of music related to fishermen folk are all examples of this.

Last week my husband had a toothache and so we had to go to a dentist. I am personally terrified of a dentists room. The tools in there look so formidable though they are actually rendering a service to humanity and bringing more smiles!

This particular dentist had Mandarin songs playing in his consulting room. I think it was coming from a tablet and though I could not understand a word I found it pretty comforting. Initially i found it odd but soon realized that it kind of soothed my nerves and it felt a lot less scarier. OK it was not me going under those scary lights (yes the lights are scary too!) but nevertheless my nerves did need some soothing!

My mother says that MRI scans can make one a bit nervous and the noises that one hears while taking it can aggravate one's apprehension. These days apparently they play music instead that helps one to pass time faster and also the noises get subdued.

I remember when I had my Caesarean for my son's delivery the anaesthetist kept humming a Carnatic raaga and I asked him groggily if he was the December music season effect. 

I have seen advertisements for music therapy for pregnant women that targets stimulating the brain cells of the developing foetus! 

If Tansen could bring rain or light lamps through music probably there is a way to get your cut to seal itself or the scar to disappear by just listening to a song! Wow!! If that art is discovered and practised doctors would probably be carrying flutes and guitars instead of stethoscopes!

Next time you visit the dentist, do remember to check if you can turn the radio on!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Some nostalgia!

It was the year 2005. The year I had stepped out of my home country for the first time. 

I had been deputed to work at the client site in the US.

We had rented an apartment - three of us colleagues.It was late October. Director Shankar's Anniyan movie had recently been released. Our client was based in one of the northernmost states and harsh winters were expected. The weather started getting colder day by day. 

One Saturday morning, we woke up blissfully aware that it was the weekend, and when we approached the window, we realized that nature had decided to bless us with more mirth! There was SNOW!!! Icicles had formed on our patio from dripping water!  

When breakfast ensued after an hour of frolic in the heavenly white blanket around, our laptops started playing the latest movie numbers from India . Hot cups of hazelnut coffee with office gossip and the songs in the chill weather .... What a morning it was!

Every time I listen to the song "Kumaari...." from Anniyan, nostalgia engulfs me and  I get transported back to that morning. That song is also picturized with beautiful scenery from Europe and it resonates with my memories. That way music is very powerful in bringing out some of our deepest feelings.There are some songs that have the capacity to directly aim your soul and trigger emotions that you had decided to lock down somewhere in depths impermeable to any other force! To me personally Ilayaraja's music has that power!

The other day I wore a black salwar set that I had purchased more than a decade ago. It was special because I had gotten it for my birthday after I had conceived my son. The boutique owner had been  the first person to look at me and figure out that I was pregnant. Her clothing has delivered a lot more than she promised and to this day it is as good as new. Whenever I wear it I remember the birthday I had celebrated along with my son for the first time! Literally when he was still inside of me. Invariably my husband and I start talking about the two years we had stayed in Malaysia before moving to Singapore and our experiences when parenting came knocking at our doors for the first time! We shared with our child that the dress is older than him! Who does not like listening to stories about himself that he cannot recall!

As per wikipedia nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Nostalgia is beautiful!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

About - The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

This is a post I am attempting to write after ages.

Before I start off I want to express gratitude ...So, To:

That cousin, cousin-in-law or relative, who has always remembered to mention a word of praise for my writing attempts; That friend made through blogging, who always drops in to say a Hi on social media; Some new aspiring bloggers who remember me, when needing someone to read through and give some suggestions; That friend who asked "Have not seen your blog for a while?"; To anyone or anything the Universe has thrust in my direction to remind me that this is an activity i do for pure personal joy more than anything else...

Thank You!

When all of us happily celebrated the dawn of 2020 on December 31st 2019, little would we have expected it to turn out like this.Ironically, we as a family were on a flight back to Singapore from India when 2020 arrived. In a few months we witnessed all air routes being cancelled at a global scale and lock downs being implemented everywhere.

There were major changes in the way we lead our lives and we slowly started adapting to the "New Normal"

But the way we collectively as humans are facing this crisis, and adapting ourselves to the lifestyle changes required, gives me hope and awe at human perseverance. Perhaps this inherent fighting nature is what has helped us over centuries ...To survive and grow!

There was a movie I saw on Netflix which depicts a heart warming story about this human quality .

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

It is  based on the memoir of the same name by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

The movie is based on a true story of a 13 year old boy William, played by Maxwell Simba who believes that he can use science to find a solution that can help his family during devastating times of famine and hunger.

I have not seen many movies with Africa in the background. The story in set in Malawi and the rustic way of life in countries with a long way to go in terms of economic development and self sustenance is captured beautifully.

In one of the very first scenes in the movie,  the whole family is rejoicing, when the protagonist William tries on his new uniform for the first time. Slowly we are pulled into the harsh realities of their world, where children are asked to discontinue from school as their families cannot afford the fees.

The family reaches a stage where they can have only one meal a day. They sit around and try to logically decide which one it should be - Breakfast, lunch or dinner! A scene that we should etch on our minds to remind us that managing four meals a day with no difficulty its a blessing in itself!

Chiwetel Ejiofor who has directed the movie plays William's father. We travel with him in his relentless fight against the odds, frustration at way things turn out, annoyance at Williams suggestions to sacrifice his only bicycle for his set up and finally taking the leap of faith with his child.

The mother played by Aissa Maiga is a strong willed and level headed woman who fights along and gives a gentle push to her husband at a juncture when he is bound by hesitation!

Overall when the water finally starts pouring out because of his windmill, we feel joy and confidence in the endearing human quality called Perseverence!