Thursday, January 31, 2008

Engum Niraindha.....!

Though my association with PC started in late 80s, it was only a decade after that, in the late-90s I got introduced to the internet for the first time.

I learnt about the concepts of internet some time even before that, but it didn’t impress me or I thought that atleast in India nothing going to happen in this front.

Indeed I had remained a frog in the well not only w.r.t. internet but also w.r.t. my knowledge and expectations about a wonderful world of Hard Core IR fans which I never dreamt of existing!

Obviously, when encountered with internet first time (I shall thank Nisha, my colleague for introducing and teaching internet to me), my very first search word in internet was nothing but “Ilaiyaraaja”.

And I was clean bowled with the number of sites it offered! It was an amazing incredible magic!

Being an office PC, I was not able to search and read all those links. But I noticed certain sites like RaajaNGAHM etc. but could not read at that time.

Unfortunately, before the second chance to deal with internet, within few weeks, I had to leave that company.

Later joined another firm and reached some remote project site in Madhya Pradesh (and then to West Bengal).

Till mid-2003, I did not get any interconnect connections, and as such my flash introduction with internet remained that way only.

In the intervening period, with my struggle in the office life, I lost myself and my IR-thoughts simply vanished from me.

That was, practically, awfully, the most trying, dry-period of my life.

In 2003, destiny again favoured me and I got a PC of my own in my office and that also with internet with V-SAT connectivity.

When I resumed my search on the internet sites of IR related topics it was a beginning of a wonderful journey.

A few days of browsing of RaajaNGAHM, took me unbelievably to a new dream world.

The high quality technical articles, extensive database, lively discussion threads etc. of IR were quite amazing and realized that the people involved therein were real IR-fanatics and intellects of high calibres.

So I am not left alone in the world, rather I was only a drop in the ocean of IR-fans!

My happiness had no bound….! As if you have found ocean of people after a life time struggle of loneliness in an isolated island.

But, one thing disappointed me that it had gone into a non-active mode and one can no longer interact with anybody there.

Again I was at loss ! Where had gone those wonderful people?

However, within few days, I once again chanced upon the Yahoo-club of IR groups during some IR search! Oh what a nice feeling it evoked in me..!

Thanks to the founder Dr Vijay Venkatraman and his dedicated, sincere and no-nonsense approach, it remains one of the clean, principled group uniting thousands of IR fans.

From this group, I got introduced to many hard-core, high calibre IR-fans like Vijay, Vel, Vicky, CRVenky, Kalyan, Vishy, Vinu, Shiva, Shajahan, Kondu, Prashanth, Kumarpalani, Saikumar and many, many more.........

This community further introduced me to other groups and forums like Ilaiyaragam, Maestromagic, TFMpage, Dhool, then later on to Orkut etc etc.......

Suddenly, the world appeared to have widened a lot to me!

My IR-learning, knowledge and belief etc further strengthened with such exposures!

And I also wanted to do some-thing in return to them !

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Generation Gap - Revisited !

The IR-thoughts and emotions were occurring in all period of my life, in bits and parts, some were consolidated, some were forgotten, some were re-written with different perceptions due to the knowledge you have acquired by then.

As explained earlier, this post-1993 period is one such calm, consolidation period for me .

Whatever I have expressed in various blogs of mine and in various discussions forum now-a-days, would have roots in the refined analysis and storage happened in my mind at sub-conscious level, during those period.

I just look back the post-1976 period.

When IR entered and other MDs slowly were fading away, the entire old generation could not accept this new phenomenom and they liked to push-aside IR and his success.

Whereas, a new generation, like me, was totally swayed by a strong, haunting, musical mystery called IR, (even without knowing the intrinsic real value of the treasure), and going mad.

Thus the fighting lines were clearly drawn-up between generations. Just like now between IR and non-IR fans.

But then, the difference (when compared to the present generation) was, at that time, in the absence of internet and communication contacts, those generation differences were limited to close circles of family and friends with whom you lived.

With my growth from a high-school going boy, to a college youth to a working man, I gained my “strength” in getting my IR-share for listening songs in the “shared radio-time” and then in the shared “tape-recorder time” amongst my family and friends.

Looking back, some time my conscious pricks me, that I selfishly overwhelmed so many of family members, in snatching valuable radio-time and put them down in “IR Vs others” arguments etc.

It may be true that many of them voluntarily changed to IR sides with passage of time, but still it was a fact that, to me, IR had remained more than even the family members.

May be post-1993 period may be a curse on people like me who could not escape the “punishments” for those “mis-deeds”.

Now I face the same tune with my own next generation and I am on the receiving end! I only laugh at myself and enjoy.

Now, I am matured and mellowed ! I should not do what I did to my elders!

It is not that I didn’t like songs of others etc.

My wish list of songs would run into thousands and thousands in all languages and transcend all kinds of genres and MDs.

But after possessed by IR, my limitation of time and money could not allow me even to think of other songs, when all the time I was lagging even for my own IR requirement. Even now, the situation remains same.

IR was bestowing upon us, such un-imaginably huge quantum of high quality music, so that I could not/ need not even think of others!

It was somewhere in late 90’s I recorded my first cassette of other MD and that was of ARRahman and Maragatha Mani.

Now, this generation has grown up with songs of next generation MDs .

Even my children listen and appreciate only songs of other MDs..!

Certainly something there, which I conveniently overlook?

I realise that I cannot even argue or try to reason with them at this stage.!

I used to smile, when my younger daughter asks me, “why IR songs are so slow?”

I told these are called harmonized melodies…! I even tried to showcase some fast rhythmic songs of IR also. Do you know what they say…?

Yeah, may be good if converted into a re-mix..!” I could not contain my laugh..!

I only have to wait for the time and I am having a lot of hope...!

This I realised when I plunged into the internet world and got connected with various forums and blogs and felt the magic IR has left even in the present next generation!

Monday, January 28, 2008

PoongKaatru Thirumbumaa !

You can appreciate the fact, in those period, communications and sharing were not like it is now!

Now, the life saver in such situations is the internet, which connects the people geographically separated apart, and one can find abundant forums to discuss whatever you think are interesting and can easily associate with the like-minded people.

Over and above the absence of internet culture, the problems were within me also.

I was no doubt an introvert without many friends and further restrictions were to find the IR fanatics like me in distant places like Delhi.

So, whatever the IR-feelings, be it of happy or sad or depressive mood, all these had to be within my heart and mind.

Also, like many IR-fans of previous generation, even the limited releases of contemporary IR films of 90s were not making the impressions in me when compared to the 70s and 80s.

The reasons may be many.

So one natural solution was to look-back and enjoy!

This has been regularly happening in any history including classical music history like Classicism, Impressionism and again Neo-Classicism etc.

So I also indulged in “revivalism” (No doubt, the beauties of 90s are also revived in me a decade later, during 2000s! So never push aside any IR song at any time..!)

It was in this revival period, I started the “re-searching research” kind of listening to old IR songs (which were abundant in my collections).

Though the time availability was very much limited than before, (due to the routine, busy office and family schedules), but the passion was very high..!

You find so many new things- new dimensions, new perceptions etc of IR songs during such revival search.

Imagine, the following situations! (It might have happened to many of you also!)

Locate the “treasure” box in the loft or beneath the cot you sleep !

Get it and open it after dusting….!

You see many indexed cassettes with your glowing eyes ! All containing IR songs!

You take one cassette at random..!

Your mind races to the period of its recording.. ! the happenings around you in that period..!

All the songs in that particular same order starts playing loudly in your mind !

Suddenly get struck-up in a particular song or its BGM or certain phrases…!

Scratch your head and Curse yourself for the sin of forgetting an IR song..!
(it will send a chill in your spine...! Have I got Old.???)

And sudden flash occurs and the forgotten music phrase returns and starts where you left!

Look for another cassette…! Select best possible four or five cassettes ! For listening in your player in the next few days or weeks to come! In installments!

What a feeling it evokes…!

Also, while listening to those old cassettes one natural fear that struck me was that I was slowly loosing the quality of those old recordings..!

So, I found my own way of preserving those songs in new cassettes with meaningful compilations like ragam-wise, singer-wise, mood-wise, specialty-wise etc etc.

You won’t believe me, many years later when I visited Tamil Nadu and saw the IR sections in many music shops like Music world etc, the CDs, Cassettes available there were basically the same kind of compilations as I was doing and many of the song lists were unbelievably matching with my lists.

So it is not just great men think-alike, all IR fans and even many Companies who were thriving on IR were also undergoing the same feelings like me…!

By hindsight I could realize now that I was not the only person who struggled with memories, but I was one among many millions of IR fans…!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vana Vaasam.....!

Long Time No See……! Reasons are many..!

During my childhood, I have read the Ramayanam (Rajaji’s Chakravarthy Thirumagan, Tamil Version) umpteen number of times.

More you read, the more you get involved.

However, after a few times of initial readings, the moment the Chapters on Ram’s Vanavasam starts, my mind goes heavy and I simply close the book and discontinue reading further.

After few days, you cannot avoid the temptation and I resume the reading but straightaway jump to Chapters on Hanuman’s Lanka visit etc. Then this became the regular feature.

All of you are perplexed…. why I talk this aspect now here….??!

The analogy is similar here with IR’s case also.

Year 1993 and further, it’s a painful period for any IR fanatics.

Painful nostalgic period for me to describe and my mind wish to go blanks..!

Hence the embarrassing silence of this blog also!

Year 1993 and onwards also a kind of watershed in my personal life also. With marriage and new start of family life, compounded with work pressure and shifting of jobs every alternate year etc., the happenings of next one decade, neither I would like to recall nor I can forget.

Same is the case with my IR nostalgia also.

While the dream Symphony never came out, there was a declining trend in the number of IR films in TFM each year. That was an un-bearable vaccum.
With hindsight, I can safely guess that there could be a deliberate plan and attempt by none other than IR himself, to reach towards this situation, and could have started as early as in 1990 itself.

Because, till 90’s, IR was having such a tough schedule and normally booked for more than an year or two.

Hence, to get into a sudden slowdown situations, anything would have happened atleast an year or before than that.

It may be his passion for the creation of “meaningful” non-film albums, he would have started to put breaks on new films.

And in all probability, as a corollary, he would have prepared himself and the others for various measures including that of to transfer the mantle to his “heir” apparent, obviously Karthik in due course…!

It is quite natural, if you create a sudden vaccum, it will be filled by the surrounding pressure awaiting for such moments!

Be it the Directors or Producers or the Music Director waiting on the wings….!

What happened thereafter is history…!

IR might not have been the looser in the real sense and might not got affected with the TFM situations that followed, but the un-released Symphony anyway might have hurt his dream.

His perceptions thereafter, would have caused a cautious slow down in his own approach towards TFM in the years that followed.

Whatever happened, the IR fans world over, were the hard-hit by this sudden vaccum.

Naturally, in the absence of “New” one has to reach for “Old” to get solace.

That was what happened to all.... also to me….!