EDUCATION PLUS

Soothing strains are still alive

ALL IT TAKES: Music is in our home. All's right with the world. — Photo: M. Srinath

ALL IT TAKES: Music is in our home. All's right with the world. — Photo: M. Srinath  



ASWINI BOMMAKANTI

There's nothing to beat Indian classical music to heal a headache. It's always a pleasure to catch the tune of Sa Re Ga Ma

VASAVI COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING: After a long and tiring day in college, I was heading back home in the college bus, thoroughly exhausted. To add to my exhaustion, I was starting to experience an incessant throbbing near my temples, the all too familiar sensations of a nasty headache brought on by the noise, pollution and general chaos of a bustling city. Forty-five minutes later, while trudging back home slowly, I was accosted by the rather unpleasant sounds of construction activity. It was then that I decided that noise is inescapable wherever you go nowadays in a busy city. Rather put off by that thought and having formed my features into a very decided frown, I entered my apartment complex, stepped into the lift and seconds later, turned the handle of out entrance door ... and was taken aback!

Transfixed

As I stepped into our house, the powerful but soothing notes of Sa Re Ga Ma enveloped me. I stood, transfixed as I heard my mother's voice lifted in song. It was as though I was transported into another time zone, another world that was lost long ago and is barely remembered now. The effect was magical. As I stood there, completely lost to the world I'd known a few moments before, a realization dawned on me, that the power, beauty and majesty of Indian classical music is unrivalled. It amazed me to discover anew what I had long known but ignored, the beauty of my mother's voice when raised in a grand varnam. The recollection then struck me that the whole of this beautiful piece of music that I then had the privilege of listening to was composed using the permutations and combinations of eight little notes of sound. Eight little notes, they are all that are needed to produce music that is ambrosia for the ears, balm for a stressed mind and resurrection for a weary soul. My journey along the path of rediscovery had begun.

Memories rush back

When I sat down, in complete submission to the call of sangeetam, memories of days gone by 16 years agocame flooding back. I remembered how, as a three year old with ponytails, I used to sit, enchanted, at my mother's side while she learnt music from her guru. I remembered how my late grandmother used to sit with her buttermilk in hand, in appreciation of the melodious notes echoing through our ancestral home. I remembered how tranquil, how calming those hours were, when all of us used to gather daily and submit to the power of Saraswati. Roused from these reflections, I was suddenly struck with the thought that this very influence is on the wane in today's world of rock, remixes, rap and hip-hop. It saddened me to think of how few of my generation actually appreciated the glory of classical music in the mad fetish for modern music. I was aghast to realize that I myself was fast becoming one of the bunch of youngsters who were completely out of touch with this rich legacy that will be handed over shortly to us. As all these thought, ideas and memories were drifting through my mind, the song ended. As if touched by a healing hand, I realized that my headache had vanished and that my frown had changed into a smile of appreciation and wonder. The final realization, in a realization filled ten minutes then hit me, that classical music itself was a healing power and that those who are its masters are on par with divinity, they are exalted beings. I congratulated my mother on having started her music lessons again and congratulated myself on having such a wonderful, musical mother.

Lovely experience

Since then, coming home has been an even lovelier experience than usual as I know that I can always escape from the noise of the city and be transported to another world every time my mother sings. I know that escape is just a Sa Re Ga Ma Pa away. I don't know how to thank my mother for having passed on the love for classical music to me, but I will. Thank you Amma, for having given me a legacy to pass on to the future generation and for making our home echo once again with the glory of an ancient heritage. Thank you Amma, for having preserved a tradition for at least a generation to come. Thank you Amma, for re-initiating me into the wonder, the majesty and the beauty of Indian classical music. I now know that heaven lies in listening to you singing and I whisper to myself, "Music is in our home, all's right with the world."





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