It was May-1983 !
A different life started for me ! My Career life!
My college studies came to an end, and even before the final semester exams, appointment letter from Tamilnadu PWD, was in my hand (as Asst Engineer, at Palacode, a remote “town” of remote district Dharmapuri).
When I joined PWD after completing my exams, seeing my academic brilliance (w.r.t. PWD standard!!), my Executive Engineer (who was, literally, designation wise, two posts above me, but had joined the TN govt service before my birth!) might have sensed that this fellow would be unfit for “sensitive & money flowing” site work, and put me in the office job as Design Engineer.
In a way I escaped from the site posting (at “Kesarigulihalla”), which otherwise was located another 16 km away from Palacode. Had I been posted there, my life could have gone in a different direction!
Though I was not fully comfortable with the job, it was a blessing in disguise for me in many sense!
A lot of good things w.r.t. my IR understanding & appreciation and even the second series of visits to meet IR, all happened during this period and certain foundation to my WCM studies was also laid during this period!
In the beginning of my career at Palacode, I wrote a “haiku-kavidhai” like this, which summarised my position at that time !
NAn Oru A.E (read ‘E’ as Tamil Letter and with Tamil meaning!)
In the office, I got myself engaged with a lot of new things which I had to pick-up as a new entrant.
However, after the stressful routine life of college days with assignments, tests, semester exam fever etc., the sudden ‘blank & vacuum ’ evenings and nights, that also in a remote place away from my family was quite unbearable!
Particularly, I didn’t have any music system with me to get myself updated with IR songs, which I never thought of earlier!
So I deviced my own way of using these time productively !
My room was just in the terrace floor of the building where my office was also situated!
The open area in front of my room in that terrace, became my walking ground for the evening. In the absence of tape ecorders, I used to sing to myself all the IR songs, till I become tired!
(Later, when some neighbours joined my adjacent rooms, that practice also had to be stopped, for the fear of them spotting a "insane" guy !)
Soon, I could survey that small town, and I was happy to find three “theatres” were available for the “entertainment”.
Atleast two to three films in a week got screened in those theatres on a rotational basis and that was more than a boon to me!
I could easily afford to see many of those films with my available time and salary!
Now with college days over, I need not worry to choose which film I shall see or leave it!
Every IR film (and many other films too) screened in those theatres, I saw them (anybody remember one Paandian film, in which a buffalo sings and music was by IR? I saw that film also!)
And I used to recall those re-recordings of films and BGMs of those songs alongwith my terrace walking !
During the holidays and week end, I will just slip away to my native village and my own radio and local theatre will welcome me in continuing my IR association!
Also I could consolidate my thoughts and wrote some articles on what could have been IR’s composing techniques to compose a song, given the situation etc!
Some database kind of thing w.r.t. IR films and songs so far composed by him, raagams etc also was compiled by me at that time. (All these were lost when I left Tamil Nadu later!)
With money in my hand and I being the proud owner of my own salary, I could decide on certain other things also!
One such thing was, ordering certain music books to learn about the Western Classical Music etc!
After some frantic searching, I got some catalogue of a book company (publishing Carnatic musical books), and ordered two such books on WCM related titles from them.
I indeed got the books by post! The book was authored by some South Indian musicologist with lot of Carnatic things covered in that rather than WCM.
Anyway some start was made!
That book indeed shook me in and out, and made me realize one thing! This WCM stuff is something bigger than my BE course! I could sense that!
Another fortunate thing I could start in that period was the collections of IR songs, recorded in the cassettes!
Looking back now, I feel I have done a right thing!
I will tell you how and why that started !