Disclaimer: TL; DR.
Thatha – a major influence in my life is no more and I have a lot to say.
He was mostly my guru, shared all that he knew musically unconditionally – not just with me, but with all his students. He made all of us complete individuals and gave us exposure beyond what we could imagine at that tender age.
He was mostly stern with me, when it came to classes and practice sessions. Instances I recollect that I’d get a share of unpleasantaries for fellow students making mistakes while singing. It used to be a rigourous 6-8 hours session per day. To compensate for his rigor, my paati would pamper all of us with delicacies and gratifying words.
Between 1998 and 2005, I’d participate in singing competitions across various sabhas in Chennai. And, by chance if thatha appeared as a judge, I know I have no chance of winning – even if I gave my best. Fellow musicians in the judging panel would encourage my performance whilst Thatha would find a gazillion mistakes in my performance – starting from the posture, to shruti, to kala pramanam, to diction and raga bhavam.
Almost until my early 20s, I’d blindly follow whatever he’d say. Because I knew nothing other than that. To support his views, my parents would never come in the way. And those years helped me see a person beyond a guru in him – an orator, an organiser, a disciplinarian, a creator, an artist and above all a bhakta of Saint Narayana Tirtha.
Thatha never said words or preached to help us learn things. He’d simply do them in action and meticulously followed them until his last breath – I can assure. Today, in his absence, I connect dots backward and know that there’s so much he has taught me in an implied manner.
He liked being challenged and deeply appreciated acumen in a person and accepted creative (non conventional) ideas readily.
He was one of the early organisers to encourage budding young artistes and would go out of his way to support and help them build a career by putting them in touch with other leading Sabha secretaries.
For those who knew him deep, they’d absolutely adore him for his straight forwardness. Despite his natural traits, he was extremely good as an influencer and loved being around like minded individuals.
From concert recitals, dance performances, stage dramas, harikatha, namasankeertanam, villupaatu, jugalbandis to talk shows, debate sessions, short films, street play, he explored spectrum of ideas to reach out compositions of Sri Narayana Tirtha.
Seen a man of dreams? Yes.
Seen an entire family beholding this man’s dreams? It’s rare. For, its seldom we witness such things.
I consider myself blessed to grow up in such an atmosphere at household. Differing views, conflicting interests, personal opinions will fall short completely when it comes to one subject – “Narayana Tirtha” – where the entire family unites unanimously.
In the recent past, we bonded beyond a guru – shishya relationship and shared ideas across subjects – food, travel, politics, history, culture, psychology, medicine, fitness, architecture. And maybe, this was when, he was more of a thatha to me and expressed his purest of sides with joy to me.
His leaving is irreplaceable but he has given us a purpose beyond our imagination – to each one of us in the family to hold onto and reminisce him in many more years to come.
P.S: His strength and love, V Rajalakshmi, my patti – is currently in loss of words to express what she’s going through. Hope and pray for her well being.
“Here she is, all mine, trying her best to give me all she can.
How could I ever hurt her? But I didn’t understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly she would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.”
― Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun
Here I am, LOLAL-ing. Yes, laughing out loud at life.
When devoid of something, mind seeks exactly that.
When bestowed with the best of things, it grows and feeds insecurities.
Wired with nerves connected to different parts of the body, it controls all sort of emotions.
It builds ego, it doesn’t let go off things.
The perspective of thee is far more superior than others.
From sadness to anger, tears to words, it completely surrenders to emotions.
The emotional balance goes for a jolly ride.
It brings out a face, which is ugly even for self to handle.
Forgiving is almost a far-fetched truth.
Almost juggling between modes like flight or fight.
Mind is a funny thing, controlling every action of the being.
Times like these, it can’t even recount moments of happiness, joyfulness, contentment, giving, selflessness, gratitude or simplicity.
Hereby, accepts that, I am no saint.
But, who says, I can’t learn to become one.
Oh my dear! It’s human to feel this way. It’s perfect to feel uprooted. Time to sow new seeds and grow within.
Lots of love, prayer and good wishes to everyone suffering. Stay strong, for this is the time for your growth.
Has it been amazing so far? Yes.
Do I look forward to another 25? Why not?
As I step onto 26th year of living, here’s taking some time to recall some folks who have made this life, worth living.
Firstly, my amazing parents. I have shared this time and again. But, its completely worth all the mention, because they mean everything to me. And, they are only getting awesomer everyday. Thank you amma, appa or appa, amma, you guys figure out this order. But, hey, thank you for making me the person I am today. For being my best of friends. For being my pillar of support, bricks, walls, everything else. For making me, for breaking me, for everything that I cannot express through just words.
My chithi (aunt), my paati (grandmother) and my thatha (grandfather) for making my childhood beautiful. And, grateful to be part of this family, who are always my source of happiness.
My gurus, Thirupoonthuruthy Sri Venkatesan (my grand father), Late Chingleput Sri Ranganathan, Kovai Sri Dakshinamoorthy, Sri M S Anantharaman, Akkarai Sri Swamynathan and currently Smt Sumitra Vasudev akka, for making music an integral part of my life and imparting life’s valuable lessons through music. I still aspire to become better with all the good that’s been passed on to me, by all these greats.
The lovely teachers and professors I had an opportunity to learn from. To all of you at Delhi Public School (Delhi), Adarsh Vidyalaya (Ajmer), MGR Adarsh Matriculation School (Chennai), Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School (Chennai), M O P Vaishnav College for Women (Chennai), Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (Pune), Loyola Institute of Business & Administration (Chennai), University of Madras (Chennai). Thanks to all the ladies and gentleman I met through these touch points. Glad that, through these various touch points, I found the best of friends, siblings, mentors who will continue to be part of my life.
Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new ~ Og Mandino
This quote holds true in my case.
All my dear friends from Radio Mirchi (Chennai), Star Vijay (Chennai), Skycap Productions (Chennai), CNN IBN (Chennai), Hanmer MSL (Chennai), The Banyan (Chennai), Cognizant Technology Solutions (Chennai), Human Factors International (Mumbai, Pondicherry), Standard Bank (South Africa), Tenmiles Technologies (Chennai) and currently everyone at Indix Corporation (Chennai), thank you for making it possible for me to learn, fail, relearn and grow. To all of you, I met through these esteem organizations, thank you for being patient with me, letting me be myself, allowing me to be vocal with my views (if any), see my dreams as your own and encouraging me always.
I collect human relationships very much the way others collect fine art ~ Jerzy Kosinski
In no specific order, I would like to thank few folks who have helped me learn some very important lessons, on how beautiful it is to trust and be trusted, to love and be loved, to respect and be respected, to have misunderstandings, forgive and value relationships more than the events itself, to let go and move on at times and, this list is going to be very long. But, hey, this features folks who have influenced me for good, at different points, through the last 25 years.
Naithrav, Divya, Sunil, Madhu, Priyanka, Satish, Renita, Karthik, Dawood, Chandan sir, Ruchi ma’am, Shakti ma’am, Nivedita ma’am, Aruna ma’am, Sujata ma’am, Sumithra akka, Sidharth Iyer, Alokita, Pooja, Preetha, Deiva, Gautam, Ramya, Ramesh, Aditi, Vasanth, Sesha, Manoj, Bharath, Ashwanth, Karthik, Sriram, Praveen, Prasanna, Sridevi, Padmavathi, Avik, Halliq, Ranjani, Parvathy, Divya, Sruthi, Ashwini, Subadra, Balajee, Arvind, Krithika, Krithika, Sabin, Meena, Meera, Rajesh, Kaavya Krishna, Ramani uncle, Ramji uncle, Raj, Santy, Karthik, Harish, Chander, Pranav, Joseph, Srivathsan, PK, Sumeet Wilankar, Saranya, Radhika, Jefferson, Ram Kumar, Lakshmi, Vinoth, Sai, Meena, Ksheera, Nylah and a lot more people, I possibly missed out here. But, you all know who you are.
Thank you everyone.
The kind of love that you don’t realise exists until you experience it.
The kind of love which is honest. real. genuine. hard to find.
The kind of love that just happens without any expectation.
The kind of love where everything is unconditional.
The kind of love that makes you comfortable.
The kind of love which brings a smile.
The kind of love where you are yourself. and completely transparent.
The kind of love you can get used to every single day.
The kind of love you dream of seeing only in books, music, art, movies.
The kind of love that existed in yesteryears you think.
The kind of love which isn’t easy. But not difficult either.
The kind of love where two people never want to give up on each other.
The kind of love you wanted, deserved.
The kind of love is you.
Inspiration : 100 days of love movie
Image courtesy: https://unsplash.com
she had a soul.
that needed another soul.
that could see her flaws, yet found her beautiful.
that knew she had crumbled in the past, yet saw strength in her.
that knew all her weakness and didn’t judge her.
that wanted to make her smile no matter what and be her best in everything.
that was equally broken and beautiful.
that could see life only with her.
that one soul, she awaited for.
she could completely give herself and
Little we realize the worth of our living. Every day counts. Every moment counts. Why? It’s our life. What happens between birth and death is what we make of our life.
I have known him for over 25 years now. He’d literally seen me grow up. He’s one man who would sit amidst the gathering and smile at me. In an encouraging way. Our only mode of interaction was music. I would sing and he listened to all of it patiently.
A year ago, I met him at his place. The building’s name being — Swathi Towers. Maybe, he was fond of me because of my name. Now, I can only assume. So, a year ago, it was a period, where I was experimenting with baking and had made some egg-less sugar-less brownies. I wanted him to taste some of them. He did. And, in that one meeting, several times he exclaimed — “I am perfectly alright.”
Its been over a year since we met. I haven’t seen him in my / any concerts. I also heard in between that he had limited his social activities drastically. Only because, he had found his interaction with ventilators and chemotheraphy machines more useful.
He was fighting a virus. A deadly virus. What did he do to contract this? No one knows. Probably destiny.
Today, all we know of him is that — He was a man of ideals, good habits, great virtues, known for his sincerity and dedication, one who remained positive throughout and followed every ritual fondly.
And for me, I would miss that genuine comforting smile while I sing.
Rest in peace L S Muthukumar.