Saturday, December 29, 2007

And the CNN IBN Song of 2007

is Tere Bina from Guru. 14000+ votes. And this is a heartfelt thank you to every one who voted for the song from here. As I have said before, I am truly honoured and humbled to be part of this song.
Of the things that I am thankful for in life, Tere Bina would be one of them. And if not for Rahman anna, God knows where I would have been.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Comma"

Strange as it may sound, it was one of those rare occasions that I switched on the TV and I happened to see the news of Benazir Bhutto assasinated. And thereafter, needless to say, I continued watching. After a while, I guess Pranab Mukherjee is the first person from the India to express his views and I had a feeling that I heard him say "comma" and "Full-stop" in his short speech expressing "shock". Well I couldn't really be sure and then I heard him say daaa-da-da-da-dadada- "comma" da--dadada---dada on camera, the previous one was a phone-in. I am still trying to figure out whether that was some Bengali accented random English word. Ah well.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hotshot??

I happened to flip through 'Indulge' of Indian Express. Its almost a daily exercise going through 5 newspapers. Well, almost. 3 in English and 2 in Tamil. None on weekends.
And going through this magazine, I checked out a small write up nestled in one section. A write up on 20 Hotshot Celebrity Blogs. Anna Kournikova, Dave Barry, Aamir Khan, Shekhar Kapur and my name was also listed there. There was a 5 word description under each name. And I guess what mine read was "she hits the right notes" or something like that. I don't really bank on my semantic memory. I wonder when I became a hotshot celebrity. Tee hee!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

'Tere Bina' nominated for the CNN IBN song of 2007

For once I have given a self explanatory headline.
I heard about the nomination a couple of weeks ago from a friend. And thereafter the crew from CNN IBN came home for a video byte from me to know what it was like for me to sing in it.
I, for one was nervous talking about a song in which I play a very meagre part. And of things that I will always be thankful for, Tere Bina is one of them.
Guru and Shivaji are also nominated for the movie of the year.
http://features.ibnlive.com/features/2007/soty2007/
http://features.ibnlive.com/features/2007/moty2007/

If you did like Tere Bina and would like to vote for it, those are the links :) TIA!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Update on the Singapore concert

Quite a raging flu and on the road to recovery. And the road to recovery does not leave me much energy to do great things. So I am here to blog and give you useless facts about what happened at my concert in Singapore.
So post my AKK on friday, I auto-ed straight to the airport to find that the flight was delayed by an hour. And we waited around and our humble troupe of five finally boarded. Once in, I was wondering whether I could get some shut eye but they were playing Machakaaran inflight, so decided to watch it. And somewhere at the 30-oddth minute it stopped and started right from the beginning. And then again it stopped. I was not gonna go through watching the same portions again and again so eventually we all started playing musical chairs. Not literally. But figuratively. We started yapping and taking pictures and videos and whatnot. And then I finally mustered enough courage to talk to Manorama Aachi who was in the same row as us.
It has always been the case with me. I can't muster enough courage to go and say hello to someone I don't know, or to someone I have been introduced once. She was sweet and very friendly.
Singapore, amazing the way they have planned that small city, and maintained all the greenery. After settling down at the hotel, the organizers met us, went through the song list and we settled down for the day. Most times mom and I look forward to my concerts out of town because that is when we get some decent rest. The following morning we had to get some media interviews done and we headed to the venue for a sound check. I had issues with the sound initially because for anyone, it takes time to tune-in to the my voice. Not an easy one to mix I guess. But the guy finally did get it right. After the concert we headed to the Night Safari and we took the last tram around the forest. Quite nice I would say. Saw some species I have not seen before. And decided I would have to take some kinda crash course on photography. With a Nikon D80 I had no decent pictures of the animals. Guess clicking away at night requires skill!
We headed to Mustafa shopping center to see what all the hype was about. Even in the dead of the night there was a helluva lot of activity. But then again, vegetarianism and the world, still seem to run on parallel roads.
Next day was the day of the concert. We just stayed in and prepped for the show and finally headed to the venue at about 5 in the evening. This concert had some 15 ministers and there was a enough and more protocol to be followed. I was supposed to get my make up done at the venue. So when we reached there, I am told that I have 10 minutes to go up. Did quite a job of applying the war paint quickly and went on stage without brushing my hair. Ah well! And after that came down and did the needful. Krish was the next to perform and saw that he has a way with the crowd. Naveen was next and with "aadungada enna suthi" everyone was raring to go. Sowmya performed "chandralekha", it got her a lot of plaudits on Super Singer and here it was no different. She really does a great job with that song. We danced, sang, performed and the four of shared great vibes on stage. And it was non competitive :) The mutual admiration society and fun was what was top most in our minds. And it showed. The crowd was about 8000 strong and that was supposed to be quite a feat because the concert was outside of the city and there was too much security due to the Ministers attending the concert.
Once the show was over I headed backstage and I must say that I had one of the best dinners in the recent past. Maybe because it was the third day and both mom and I hadn't really eaten anything of great taste. That way, I must say, Malaysia is much better as long as food is concerned, than Singapore.
The next morning we packed up, loaded the bags in the cars and headed out to Sentosa. We were longing to get to the Fish spa at Underwater World, what with so much said about it.
Once at Sentosa, we went on the Luge, Skyrail, The Skytower, Underwater world and the disappointment was when we knew that the Spa was fully booked. Our hearts broke. And they are still not mended :( We also saw a museum chronicling the history of Singapore. That was quite brilliant.

We took the cable car back to Mount Faber and the car came to pick us to drop us at the next destination - Sim Lim tower. We met a group of wonderful girls in Singapore who helped us around. Sheetal, Nandini, Smriti, Shrti, Wanitha. Nothing like hanging out with happy-go-lucky girls. And one thing they all shared was their expressiveness. They all go wide-eyed and theatrical in a nice way when they talk. Not something that we see too often with all the play-it-down kinda attitude that we are stuffed with as we grow up. I ran around that place to get some things, and eventually ran out of time. I also spoke to some long lost friends who had settled down in Singapore. And headed to the airport.

Let me add a quite word about the discounts here.. Underwater world has a 20% discount on the ticket if you hold a citibank card, and Night safari will give you, 30% off on the tickets if you flew Singapore Airlines. And yes you needed your boarding pass.

The flight was an hour late again. I picked up some M.A.C cosmetics at the airport, me being me, I am always running out of war paint. And nothing quite works like the M.A.C.
I have always complained about the way people tend to misspell and mispronounce my name. It has been everything from Sinmai, to chinna mayil, sinna mai, chiang mai (yes of thailand!!). My name was once split, quite conveniently by my Chinese translator, to Chin-May-Yi and she wrote to me in Chinese. I had to write back to say Hi lady, I don't Chinese yet.
But the best I would say was Krish. No one quite got the hang of his name. From Kreeees to - Hold your breath - Grease :D

Once we reached our terminal, he said from hereon, Finally!! I am Krish ..
Naveen though generally quiet, he is the silent damager. And Sowmya had her own antics up her sleeve. Her style of speech was enough to get us all started. And she safely kept quiet throughout the trip. Once she 'lost' her phone and we called the number and it went to a local singaporean. Paavam that girl got lambasted. And it only dawned on us later that Sowmya's phone was not on International roaming. And the girl found the phone in her bag. *Sigh*

The flight back home was mostly uneventful except for the fact that I was queasy and the whole flight seemed to notice that. Someone handed be an air-sickness bag and until I got into the restroom it was quite something. Probably I was tired with all the running around in Sentosa or what I have no idea. I have never been air-sick before and there were some 'kind' souls who kept asking if I had thrown up 'well'. It continued all the way to immigration when random people asked "did you throw up well?". I for one, was quite flummoxed and had no idea how to respond to that. All I could do was just nod. And then there was advise on what to do if I did get air-sick. I thought I was quite unobtrusive when I did walk up to the restroom but then it seems I was not good enough.
Once home, mom and I fell sick and Aahaa Kaapi Klub has an RJ who sounds like her nose has been run over by a road roller. Voice modulation is the spice of life!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Aaja Nachle

I happened to watch Aaja Nachle last night and I guess I expected wayy too much from Madhuri Dixit. With all the promotions that I watched, I was looking forward to this one. Though I liked the movie and everything, sometimes it seemed like she was trying too hard. I wonder why.
And yeah Kunal Kapoor, though a part of the movie, the angry young man image didn't quite gel with him and at times towards the end he seemed to be jeering at his own 'romantic' lines, I totally fell for him. Move over Bird Man from X Men and Superman It is now Kunal Kapoor. He is my new crush and I was super surprised to see Jugal Hansraj as producer. And yeah that guy, though he has gained mass, he is still as cute as he was when he appeared in that "Ghar se nikalte hi" video. Ah thank God! I thought the world and the movie industry were running out of eye candy. As of now I am having fun having a huge crush on Kunal Kapoor and a fraction of it Jugal Hansraj.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Singapore Show - Vasantha Oli

That was how my weekend went by. Rushed to the airport As soon as I wrapped up Aahaa Kaapi Klub on Friday. This time it was Naveen, Krish, Sowmya Mahadevan of Airtel Super Singer and I.
We had a few preliminary meetings at home before we went on this show as a lot of things had to be coordinated. And right from the word 'go' I knew that this show was going to be enjoyable. More often than not, it is tough to find people who have the same wavelength. And it was a great trip and a great show.
Will post more on the show on the same post. As of now have to run for a recording!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kumaran Silks "Paadum office" telecast

Is on air as of yesterday. This is a 10 episoder and will be telecast on Vijay TV on Saturdays between 7 - 8 PM IST and Sundays, repeat 4.30-5.30 PM.
We finished shooting for the series pretty fast and as usual a lot of fun though this was a completely new team that I worked with. James Vasanthan is the brain behind this show and he is seen me grow over the years. From a girl who barely spoke, who was highly inhibited, to someone who talks shop in front of the camera. When I did face the camera for Paadum Office and when I saw James Vasanthan in front of me giving me instructions, it felt nice. For one I never thought I would ever talk much in front of the camera, let alone host shows. And of course two other Presenters who I admire, Vijay Adiraj and Uma Padmanabhan. They have been surprised at the transformation that time has wrought about.
Paadum Office was short and pretty sweet!

My First Kannada song

For the movie Hani Hani. It has released as of last week and was recorded a few months back and thereafter quite a few numbers in Kannada. All of the songs have been brilliant. And I am looking forward to quite a few good releases there. :)

"Sicko"

Quite a movie that.. I am thinking of watching whatever Michael Moore makes. American Dream? More like a dark nightmare.

The past few days

Life has been pretty hectic the past few weeks with a lot of things going on simultaneously. Travel, concerts, recordings, practising and prepping for forthcoming concerts. And less sleep. Thankfully this weekend is slightly relaxed. I was to attend a wedding in Bangalore and somehow the alarms did not go off and I woke up too late to catch the early morning flight.
In a way, that was good since I could be home for Karthikai deepam.

Friday, Aahaa Kaapi Klub we decided to talk about the Smalin Janita dowry harassment case. We had been hearing about them for more than a week by then and I was curious to know and speak to the people involved. That is when I knew how convenient it was to work at Aahaa, under the Kumudham banner. Within minutes we got in touch with Janita's father, her husband and her sister-in-law and got their take. And that was the first time Christy Danius spoke to the media as well. Even as the show was underway, there were several people who called in and said it was good to know the other side of the story, since the media had heard of only what Smalin Janita's family had to say. Like ever, we are told not to take sides and honestly, it is pretty tough to take sides.
We also got Ms Shivashankari, Ms Jhansi Rani and Ms. Sumathi, an exceptional lawyer to give their opinion and advise women who will or want to eventually marry an NRI. I especially liked Ms Sumathi's comment where she said, a man would never accept a woman making mistakes or pardon or forget her errors or errant behaviour,(we have heard stories right from the Ramayana.. for one I don't have much respect for Rama, but there is much to be understood in epics like these. There is more to it than the face value)but a woman has been conditioned to always "poruthu poganum", to bear with the man's issues and faults, no matter how grievous they may be, and also that a she can/should correct him, make him human, and then make him God and worship him. I was rolling on the floor laughing but that one line mostly summed up the lives of most Indian women. Even if there are wife-beating louts, criminals, or whatever else the woman is expected to live with him than without him and lead a better life and also look upon him as God. Sometimes, no thanks to the media (serials, movies, whatever) portraying women looking upon their husbands the same way. Generally Ms Shivashankari and Ms Sumathi skimmed the surface of marrying NRI-s. That said, I do not believe that everyone living in India are great and everyone abroad are demons. I personally do not think I will ever live outside of India. I am too rooted here, my work, my music is here, and I just don't feel at home anywhere else, taking my travels into account. And Chennai is definitely the place to be. And as I have said before, home is where the heart is and that is definitely where music plays

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A R Rahman Live In New Delhi

That was last night and a totally explosive concert. This was Rahman ji's first concert in Delhi.
Sivamani, Hariharan, Chitra, Sadhna Sargam, Blaaze, Kailash Kher, Madhushree, Saumya Rau, Naresh Iyer, Rayhana, Ishrath, Tanvi, Sayonara, Mohd. Aslam, Aslam Khan from Jodhpur, Dr. Narayan. Quite a gang there. 50,000 people in the audience last night, and thankfully it was not too cold.
I sang Tere Bina with Rahman sir. Nothing like singing in front of the live audience. Quite clearly the it is one of the most popular songs and to play a small part in it feels good.
Happened to meet Saumya for the first time. She is one of the voices that I have always liked and now that we also share a song in Bheema it was good knowing her. Very simple, chilled-out girl and surprisingly speaks great tamil :)
The only downside there - the mosquitoes. I guess half a litre of blood would have been sucked out of me.

Its during shows like these that we get together and spend some time talking or generally jamming. And needless to say, the sense of humour that is present my default in almost all musicians, it just flows. Everything from make up to clothes it is equated to music and rhythm. Like for example, someone's eye shadow is slightly off from where it is supposed to be, Hariharan ji comes in and says, "konjam thalli.. 'thaka' thalli irukku, avlo dhan"(roughly translates to off beat). People who know what thaka and thakadhimi will know what I am talking about. But then most of the times humour is lost in translation and I guess in repetition as well.

And then there was Aslam Khan, who sang Rang De Basanti. The pitch of that song is uncomfortably high for most singers and the only one who can comfortably sing in that pitch except Daler Mehndi would be Rahman sir. And of course Rahman sir's songs no one can repeat. Aslam Khan came in after singing that song and says "someday that song is going to kill me". Chitra ji was her usual quiet self and so was Sadhna ji. Madhushree had sprained her leg before the show and she was on a cocktail of antibiotics and painkillers and once she was on stage all was forgotten. Of course when the adrenalin sank, she was in a daze. Naresh was his usual bubbly self with a lot of people going ga-ga about his hairstyle. Mohd Aslam is the stand up comedian, off stage of course, mimicking everyone under the sun.

Its a dreamy, magical world that I usually always want to be in. Sigh!

I am given to believe that this will be telecast in Star World soon. Will be posting the pictures as well. Only this time Rahman anna wasn't too keen on being photographed, so no pictures of him... sorry!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Deepavali!!

And the festival of lights lights up our homes and hearts once again.
I am looking forward to the show on Aahaa FM tomorrow, a special with Vijay Yesudas and his wife Darshana, since they are celebrating Thalai Deepavali, and so is Aahaa FM (technically !) They are a wonderful, happy couple and Darshana is one of the nicest ladies that I have come across. And I am looking forward to speaking to them tomorrow morning as usual.
The show with Actor Vijay will be telecast on Vijay TV at 10:00 AM if my information is correct. :)
Though I am not into bursting crackers we definitely do light lamps all around our house and the ones closest to our home which makes a delightful sight.
From our family, this is a heartfelt wish for a brilliant Deepavali to yours, and may peace love joy and prosperity be all around you!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yesterday passed in a Deepavali shoot for Vijay TV. A show called Nayakan with actor Vijay in a village called Kammavaanpaettai. About 15 kms or so from Vellore, this village is famous for one thing. Almost all the men in the village are in the Army. Every family boasts of sending at least 2-4 men to fight for the nation and the children seem to naturally choose to go to the Army. It was a lot of fun but there was enough physical strain as well. As soon as Vijay stepped into the village the team from the channel could only look helplessly as we were also shoved and pushed around and as our producer quipped "I have now become security guard in the name of a show producer"
There is one special thing that awed me as long as channels and producers and directors are concerned ....They are the ones who get on the field, dirty their hands and lose all sleep and food and water to present a programme to the best of their ability and all of them are big names as long as the media is concerned.
And I also saw that no matter how many schedules and run-orders were made as to what will happen at what time after Vijay comes in, the villagers became the directors after he actually did.
Vijay was generally quiet and when I did ask him about the endless pushing shoving and he also ended up with enough scratches, "I am used to it... and I love it". The way he said "I love it" the conviction and the pride was palpable.
Generally a good day.





Friday, November 02, 2007

3:11 PM snapshot of Chennai in time

Due to paucity of time, I am just pasting the text that you will find at www.311pm.com. Do take part!!

-WHAT

On the 3rd of November 2007, we invite every Chennaiite to for one second, at exactly 03:11 PM, stop whatever it is that they are doing, and click, shoot, snap, capture or photograph that moment, just hold that one instant frozen in a picture and send it to us. This is not for any great worthy cause, this is not a competition, it may or may not help charity, it will not prevent global warming, you will gain no medals, no certificates but it is most definitely not a waste.

-WHY

It is to share with so many of your neighbors what was going on in your part Chennai at the same time as something else was going on in theirs. There are no requisites to do this, other than that you be in Chennai, whether it be a fancy SLR or a VGA mobile camera, get the clearest, cleanest shot you can that will suggest what you were doing or what was going on near you, in our lovely city, at that one instant.

-HOW

If you wish to contribute, synchronize your watch, set reminders and alarms and just remember to shoot that moment. Please attach a note, in under 50 words, with your name and where you were when you clicked that snap.

You can also lend a hand by informing your friends and by putting up a link on your website. We wish to make not just a collection but a memory, on the internet and if we can, have it published to share with as many Chennaiites as we can,’03:11 PM’.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The time at home passed in listening to Worldspace, a special on Mallika-e-Ghazal Begum Akhtar. Mom had always told me about the magic in her style of singing, especially in the magic of the unsung and the unsaid and that which is left to the audience to figure out.
Sadly it has taken me this long to even identify with all that. To even realize and say, hey that is something that I have never heard. Today happens to be the day she decided to move to the worlds beyond, in 1974.
There is the sannaata, that is characteristic after the rains. The city seems to be just breathing and working in silence. And listening to Begum Akhtar, her life, the people associated with her leaves behind a heavy heart. Thanks to the patrons who knew the importance then of maintaining records of the musicians, we know of a lot of things. Though it is sad that time has not given me an opportunity to see it happen before my eyes.
There was also this portion where they spoke about her marriage and how it imposed restrictions on her singing and performing, things being the way they were in those days. (Not that it is too different now). And how she fell sick and that music was her only remedy. Though great talents are born, artistes are made thanks to the sacrifice their families make. The first people who get the artiste out of their homes and to the world, presenting them, treasuring them and foster their growth and finally get them mentioned in history are their families. Those who consciously take a back seat in the artiste's lives, put up with all the trappings that come along with it. And though this is just a line in a blog somewhere in world wide web in the whole wide world, this would go out as a a huge thanks to the families who have made the musicians - (quite selfish this). Because if not for them, I would not be listening to some of the best music ever sung or made.
"Mere humnafaz mere humnawaah mujhe dost banke daga na de
main hoon dard-e-ishq se jaan balab mujhe zindagi ki dua na de"
Its almost as if she is in my living room

Kumaran Silks "Paadum Office"

The first ever music competition for Corporates will now be telecast on Vijay TV. This has been conducted for the past 5 years off camera and now it was time to make a run-order. I happened to host and I must say that was a lot of fun. Hosting a kids show and then "Paadum office" ... hmmm...
A lot of the gentlemen and ladies who had come to participate could not understand the workings of the Television media, the schedules and the work that was associated with it. We also had some participants from Airtel Super Singer representing their respective companies. After all the ruckus that was associated with Airtel Super Singer, it was kinda strange to see a lot of them solemn and serious. The schedules were hectic since a lot had to be cramped over two weekends. I had to continue shoot through the weekend which would go until Monday morning and then I would have to say please let me pack up and run for my breakfast show on Aahaa FM. But then I thrive in these schedules. :) The judges who came kept asking the contestants to quit their jobs and become professional singers. Only hope that the heads of those companies don't hunt them down after the telecast. The dedication that they exhibited was stunning actually. I hear they used to practise well into the nights after work or come to work at 5 in the mornings because it would be easier for the ladies. Some of the companies actually bought their teams some of the high-end keyboards and instruments to tweak with.. Hmmmmm!
I am not telling who the winners are, will let you discover that on TV.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pictures from our concert to Canada have only been uploaded to Flickr. It took me this long to get that done. It shall land up here at my earliest convenience. Shall blog about the concert and etc soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Say waking early mornings without an alarm going off when the rain seems to go on and on outside is quite fun. And the rain doesn't have an agenda. It's not like hey I am going to come down in buckets, flood this part and move over somewhere else. As of now the rain outside my home, is leisurely, almost as if rain say.. on a recliner and dozing off forgetting that he has been at it for a long while now. Our maid comes in and says I don't feel like working today, but thankfully she finished up. As of now I am looking out of the window, writing this and there is the steam rising from this hot cup of tea next to me. Silence, rain, showered breeze and tea. Oh yeah and internet connection. Perfect day!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My latest song is in "Drohi", the Telugu version of Pachaikili Muthucharam. I have sung Madhushuree's Unakkul Naane in this one.
I admire her voice and the texture that she has. And when I did know that it was her song that I was going to sing, I was slightly jittery. But I guess it has come out OK.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Latest in Anandha Vikatan


I liked this article, and I made a huge fuss to give this one. But it has turned out very well, thanks to the writer, Thilakavathy.

Only the article needs two corrections. One Mr. Kathiresan is but a middle aged Gentleman.
And the one mentioning Rahman sir, he happened to call and congratulate me on winning the state award. There was no "kooptu vechu kondattam" :) Well, as they say there is a 'poetic' license

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

RMKV Nagasu Pattu

Have sung for this one, under Mr Sharreth's music direction. After seeing him in Idea Star Singer as a judge, I was all jelly-kneed to sing for him. I just happened to be humming Tere Mere Milan that day, and somehow, surprisingly, he asked me to sing the song before going beginning to record the ad. That became a sort of a warm up and the jingle was over pretty quick. I just happened to here a jhalak of it on radio today. I wonder when I ll get to see it on TV.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

In Canada for a concert. We missed a flight in transit and after three postponements we finally caught the flight and left to Canada from Heathrow.
On the flight, we happened to meet up with someone who is supposed to be related to our family in a roundabout way. And it so happens that the grandparents are the ones who remind the children about all the connections. Paramakudi and Iyengars, its easy for us to trace out each other. My grandmom used to talk to me about how we are related to this person and that, some typical paribhaashaigal..... It was good fun. And I was reminded of all that once again, when my newfound relative told me how we are related. For one it gives a very fuzzy feeling, for want of a better word.
I am performing with 4 of the Super Singer Junior Kids - Krishnamoorthy, Kaushikram, Vidyalakshmi and Dhanyashree.

Once in Canada we realized some pieces of baggage have not come. So all the form filling and identifying took its own sweet time and we reached our "home" of 7 days here 8 hours later than scheduled. We did get our missing baggage, but in totally smashed condition. Thankfully our clothes could be salvages.
Oh we found out it was almost impossible to get veggie food in Heathrow as well. Tough I must say being vegetarians. I remember this time in Italy, when we went with Raja sir and all the veggies, which was only me and Raja sir lived on apples and yoghurt for 8 days. I was surprised to know that Raja sir is such a strict vegetarian that, once when someone brought hamburgers and veggie burgers in the same bag, he refused to eat it.
And in Heathrow I bought cappucino. And when I borrowed some whipped cream from mom, the lady at counter was sweet enough to give me as much whipped cream as I wanted. And I was as happy as the proverbial cat who got cream :D

4 days of grueling schedules and rehearsals and training the kids locally for our dances. We managed to go to the Niagara falls yesterday. Almost always, work happens in such a manner that there is not much time for play or looking around.

God willing everything should go well with the shows this weekend.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

In Canada - again

In Canada for a concert. We missed a flight in transit and after three postponements we finally caught the flight and left to Canada from Heathrow.
On the flight, we happened to meet up with someone who is supposed to be related to our family in a roundabout way. And it so happens that the grandparents are the ones who remind the children about all the connections. Paramakudi and Iyengars, its easy for us to trace out each other. My grandmom used to talk to me about how we are related to this person and that, some typical paribhaashaigal..... It was good fun. And I was reminded of all that once again, when my newfound relative told me how we are related. For one it gives a very fuzzy feeling, for want of a better word.
I am performing with 4 of the Super Singer Junior Kids - Krishnamoorthy, Kaushikram, Vidyalakshmi and Dhanyashree.
Once in Canada we realized some pieces of baggage have not come. So all the form filling and identifying took its own sweet time and we reached our "home" of 7 days here 8 hours later than scheduled.
Oh we found out it was almost impossible to get veggie food in Heathrow as well. Tough I must say being vegetarians. I remember this time in Italy, when we went with Raja sir and all the veggies, which was only me and Raja sir lived on apples and yoghurt for 8 days. I was surprised to know that Raja sir is such a strict vegetarian that, once when someone brought hamburgers and veggie burgers in the same bag, he refused to eat it.
And in Heathrow I bought cappucino. And when I borrowed some whipped cream from mom, the lady at counter was sweet enough to give me as much whipped cream as I wanted. And I was as happy as the proverbial cat who got cream :D

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happened to go to MGR Janaki college for the valedictory function. And it rained ice :) Hailstorm they say, But I am not sure of the terminology. Nice looking pebble shaped ice and it was great fun to see them and more or less the people at the college went berserk and used it as an excuse to get drenched in the rain. And oh getting drenched in a hailstorm kinda hurt. Then was wondering what would have happened to the car. Being pelted and all. And this is not a new thing apparently. My mom has seen it as a child and so has my neighbour. Anyway once the downpour was through the event went by very well. It feels nice when you are being cheered. And today I happened to sing a few of my songs as a medley and its an awesome feeling when the audience sings along. With utmost gratitude at that moment for the people because of whom I am a singer, I also was grateful for the fact that there are people who like me for my singing. And that the rasika makes a performer.
Though I have read 'Living with the Himalayan Masters' before, reading it once again gives a whole new dimension. A whole new experience. Some answers. But still more questions. Wonder what stillness feels like.

Friday, September 21, 2007

iPhone - iWent, iSaw and i-AmNotConquered

And I happened to check out an iPhone first hand.. it reminds me of the O2 and all that. I gingerly held it and checked out what it is like and the touch screen responds only to jabs.. Looks like feather touch is out of fashion. And jab with the fingertip; if there is a stylus I didn't see it. And the phone is like a maze as long as I am concerned. Say, you have time on your hands, and you are wondering what the phone is like and you decide to take a tour. And I got lost and took me a while to figure out how to come to start point. Just before you start smirking about women not being able to find their way anywhere, bite your tongue or your thoughts :)
And also heard it guzzles battery. I heard a song on the phone, Hayley Westenra, (she sings very well and looks a million bucks) but other than that, I am not in the least impressed with this one. I am a huge Mac fan (as a lot of people know) and I expected magic to unfold in my palm once I held this much expected piece of tech.
We have the Sony Ericsson P900 and the Communicator and needless to say both of them are dated. I am bored with keeping tabs and I realize that lately, I have dropped out of the race to own the latest in mobile phones. Of course unless something blows me away I am not putting my bucks in another one not until our phones breathe their last.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Satham Podadhey

And I am the voice of Padma Priya in the movie. Though I have known Vasanth sir for a long while this is the first time I am working for his movie. And it so happened that it had to be for dubbing.
The technical crew at the studio, I have already worked with before, for Unnale Unnale. And working there is always super fun. The sessions are rip roaring funny and in between I emote for the actress. Also one of the things is that during a voice test, we keep modulating my voice, change it here, fine tune it there to adapt to the particular heroine. And the problem, is to remember that 'voice' until the end of the dubbing sessions. Vasanth sir had to keep telling me not to pester him and 'be serious'. The dubbing studio, especially this particular one brings out the nuttier side in me. Probably because of the comfort level I share with the engineers there and they are some of the best minds. The soundscape artistes at this studio have won about 7-8 national awards over the years. And the point is I could be wrong in the numbers. For all I know it could be more than 10.
There was one particular portion in the movie where I had to sound as if my voice was being heard through a drain pipe. And they actually brought out a huge PVC pipe that is stocked in the studio for such purposes. And I had to speak through it. Like the say the magic is in the detail. One actually realizes the efforts that go in making a movie while dubbing.
Vasanth sir is a wonderful teacher and sometimes I was scared of him. One particular scene was very intense and the first time I saw it before dubbing I broke down sobbing. I could not handle it. And when it came to dubbing that scene, I did it along with Nithin Sathya (he also acted in chennai 600028) and as he dubbed I had to react and scream. I was and am still afraid of Nithin, for some weird reason. So half the screams came out because he was right next to me shouting and Vasanth sir knew how to bring out the terror as well. Needless to say I broke down while the scene was being dubbed, but this time I spoke some words out as well, which clinched it. This is one of the most memorable dubbing episodes in my life and will always be.
And I am yet to watch the movie in the big screen. Once I do, I guess I ll remember some more.
Reminds me to take pictures next time.
I recorded this particular song just about 3-4 weeks ago and this has been one of the quickest to get on the racks so far. A duet with Karthik for Srikanth Deva.
This song with him came after a long gap, the last song I recorded for him was for Kuthu in 2004.
Recording sessions with him have been a lot of laughter and joy and great work. I have a tendency to smack my forehead if I go wrong while singing. And Srikanth ji has a tendency to keep score. A smack that is resounding gets a 2 pointer and sometimes less noisy ones get a 1/2. Once I realized there was a scoreboard and it had become a 'national' joke I made a conscious decision to not go a-smacking.
One of the biggest joys in my life is my career.. thank God for huge mercies.
Listen to it here

Sunday, September 16, 2007



We found this specimen of the insect world in our window sill today and out came our camera.
As it posed my mom and I went berserk clicking away.
I wonder how it will look in foliage :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Complain about potholes in the city? Lets fix them up ourselves!

The 'I-Fix' Initiative
Remember I spoke vaguely about the guys who fixed potholes in Chennai on their own? Happened to get to know Vijay better the past couple of days. I met him first at Podworks but did not get to interact then.
And a few days back when we were leafing through the papers deligently before my show on radio - part of our work and quite a luxury to get 7 different newspapers in your hand to read.
'I-Fix' started off working on our roads on the 14 th Aug. And a month later, today, as I type they are working somewhere in Adyar. Read up about this particular initiative here and once the people get together there is nothing that can't be done.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hello Miss

I found this audio clip pretty late. Hello Miss in Neevalle Neevalle, the Telugu Version of Unnale Unnale.
A recording in Harris Jeyaraj sir's place takes almost 4-5 hours.
And when I went to record this song, Harris sir was not there but the lyricist and the studio engineer were present. At this point I must say one thing about the sound engineers. They are probably one of the biggest repositories of experience and knowledge of all that happens in the studio that they work on. They 'll also have the most number of anecdotes.
G V Prakash was recording when I got to the studio. I must say I was surprised to see him in the voice booth and then I told him that it would be great if he sings some more. The texture is nice.. for want of a better adjective :)
Of course he was quick to quip that he did not know why Harris sir chose him to sing and that he wouldn't give himself a chance in his own compositions. And gave his trademark child-like giggle.
Thereafter I went in and finished in about 30 minutes and once I stepped out the engineer looked at the clock and gaped "How come?" How did we finish so soon? :) But then there is not much female vocal segments in the whole song. Only at the end of the 2nd antara it took some pumping of confidence to get that laughter out. Though I look like someone who is confident to the extent of being headstrong, confidence is one thing I lack. And constantly question my abilities. But then, hey, I guess that is good for me!
Latest update on my audioblog

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You know, one fine time of the 24 hour cycle you realize you are older.. post birthday realization should I say... One of the cards I got.. Asked me "How old are you?" and then it says "time to start to lying about your age" .. pretty funny when you read it.
but as time goes, you realize you have one year less to get all the nothing and something and everything you set out to do. And that is what is worrying. Or should I even worry or wonder.. ssshsho the questions I get. And the comments I will get after I post this :)

P.S.: Wayn, Facebook, Stumble Upon, Jaxtr, Hi5 some of the many new names I receive via EMail to add up. One networking site is pretty much enough.. And then do we like the same books, link to call me for free, earn via sms.. And all this from people I know but one particular note caught my eye in my mail box, which was also trashed - Desktop dating. Hello??? Mercy Lord!
Aahaa Kaapi Klub is becoming more interesting as days progress. When I was given an introduction to Jockeying on radio, I was told that as time goes and the initial trepidation wears off you'll be raring to go and waiting for your next time slot in front of the mic in the on-air studio. I am not expert but I quite enjoy Live radio. And if you are lucky enough to get a good producer nothing like it.
We happened to discuss about the people who make our Chennai dirty in the second hour of the show today, what they do and how should we punish them. It was a hilarious one hour ; Yes it was a serious topic but the way some people expressed their ire was interesting. One particular man happened to say how the garbage trucks strew garbage all over the road when they are on the run. The way he said "vazhi puuuuuuuuraaaaaa kottinde povanga madam" was really funny. And one man said how these pan-parag chewers-and-spitters must have their mouths tightly bound. And after each song, I have to remind the callers about the phone number and what we are talking about.. and wasn't this my time to use all new adjectives, naya vanjagargal, kodusoorargal.. ahh it was my field day. I am waiting for tomorrow morning :D

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yet another birthday in my life.. but one that will leave some nice memories. The day started with Aahaa Kaapi Klub and the first thing I saw at the studios - flowers :)
And one of my friends from Australia called in to the show and wished me on air.. Pretty kewl as well. It took me a while to realize that Jeyam Ravi celebrates his birthday today as well. Post show, my friends at the FM brought in cake and at that time I came to know one of the sound engineers also celebrates his birthday today.. it always so happened that even in school there were 3 people who shared my birthday. Two were my classmates, and the other, was the classmate's brother. Strangely both siblings were born on the same date. Back home I got some sleep which was in short supply and headed back to Aahaa and another cake was cut, this time from the organization. Rayhana ji celebrated her birthday yesterday so all of us blew candles again.
Mom and I were coming back home and decided to eat out and headed to the Residency Towers in T Nagar. We chose the buffet at the Coffee Shop, we have been there before and have liked it. Anyway neither of us are great eaters. Post soup we usually pig out at the salad section and then I usually head straight to the curd rice. I seldom see something that interests me. And thereafter I pig out on the desserts as well. This is our usual fare no matter where we go and yep we are strict veggies.
If you have are missing the crib, here it is. It looks like things happen around me so that I can blog about it *evil grin*

And we make a long, dark observation. And I hear trumpets, tra lalalala drum rolls and lo and behold - hair in your food. I call the manager tell him quietly. And he nods takes away the plate and brings me a another one. He then has a good look at the offending salad and goes his way. Thereafter we pay the bill, and I ask them to make sure that the chefs wear skull caps or whatever they are called so that this does not happen again in the comments card. The chef runs in and asks "you found hair"?? And I am like yep. And he says Sorry madam. It will not happen again. And walks off.
We pay the bill and we walk off as well.
I am wondering how clean or how well these star hotels adhere to cleanliness and health standards in India. OK forget India. Chennai. This is where I live. I have heard of horror stories of how you complain against the chef and he remembers you and next time he will dirty your food in purpose with wotnot. And yes, at the end of the day, the niggling doubt is pretty much there which I try to brush and dust away. Skat shoo. And it returns with a vengeance on days like these.
Hair today cooked / microwaved / baked tomorrow. Ah, how adages find new dimensions.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I was leafing the classifieds of the Hindu which I do at sporadic intervals. Yep, the matrimonials as well, to see how peevish people are, that in all these years, they have not grown out of "homely, fair, good looking" parameters. Man seeking alliance would be a widower/divorcee but he only wants to marry a lady who has never married. Yeah-ha!!
Anyway this is not to discuss about the matrimonial section. I shall save this for another blog day.

The property deals is what I am talking about. Some apartment resale in Koyambedu, about 1400 odd sq.ft is priced at................ hold your breath....... 1 crore 20 lakhs. Now has this guy lost his mind? Or has everybody lost their minds? Since when have things started selling at such astronomical rates? Then out of curiosity I find out about the Puravankara apartments coming up on Valasaravakkam main road. The roads there are as narrow as clogged arteries. From Porur down to Vadapalani signal, you ll get anywhere faster if you just crawled. Its a fact. Anyone who commutes here knows what I am talking about. And the project of course is huge. Quoted rate is 80 lakhs and above. For a new apartment. What I do not understand, these areas are not developed properly, nowhere near the centre of the city and doesn't have the station or the airport nearby, no great schools to brag about for at least 8 kilometers. Well, isn't that the criteria that you usually see in these papers? Who allowed so much escalation of prices? And this Koyambedu flat is second or probably third hand selling at 1.2 Crores.

A lot of the apartments are not built properly, less than a year, water seeps in from nowhere, cracks happen. How come? And I also read about how none of them seem to follow the nine inch walls rule. And why aren't the people asking questions? How is it that they compromise on basics?

I guess people have become extreeeeeemely avaricious. And I wonder how there is no regulation on land prices and such.

And I also happened to read an article on how this stupid trend is (rightly) coming down and it wont be long before the prices start falling again. This article was particularly with regard to the land around the IT corridor. How at one time sellers were hounded by buyers and how now the sellers are running behind the buyers. Some Firms had even flatly refused buying land at inter-galactic sums (astronomical is out of fashion.. as prices rise so do adjectives). Pretty good I say. I hope it starts happening for residential areas as well. And if it is the numerous builders who have contributed to this (ok they are gonna have someone else to blame, and then it will all come back to our red tapism and corrupt system.. don't we know!) ................... Nothing I can do than blog about it.

What is happening?

Post Script: as of now 30 are feared killed in Hyderabad after a flyover that is under construction collapsed. And the best thing is this was to be inaugurated in December. Work has been under way on this bridge for almost a year already. And clearly this piece of construction has given way in the final stages. Bullcrap! So Again

What is happening?

Monday, September 03, 2007

While in Canada in June, I was interviewed by Desi Life a part of The Star. The article is reproduced below as I could not find a URL (Thanks Aruthi for sending it across)
I have found the URL and here it is
http://www.thestar.com/article/250683

Saturday, September 01, 2007

In somebody's fort.......

I saw that one of my friends was listening to Veerapandi Kottayile from her status message. I had to listen it the next instant. And as luck would have it, I did not have the song on the laptop. After a lot of searching I fished out the cassette and am now listening to it the on the player.
Picture this: driving a super car with this song playing in a Bose sound system on an empty road. Or forget the car. No other noise, thank you very much.
Pure magic .. Nice thought to have at the end of the day .. *all smiles*

Post Script (Post) to the one below

To Selvam and Musically me:
The comments section was getting way too filled up so here goes:
Just to clarify you both, any other post of mine receives an average of 30-50 comments. Within hours of writing something. The one below has received only 2. Discuss relevant issues no one really bothers. Ask for help to make a change in the society no one steps forward. Even on radio people don't call in when we discuss a socially relevant issue. Picture this. 8 Am to 9 AM is the hour of discussing something, anything under the sun. Basing on the recent news article on the Junior actress who went to Dubai, trusting her co-artistes chasing a dream of making big bucks and was subjected to sexual harassment. This appeared in almost every newspaper and magazine. We decided to take this up and asked people to call in. We had exactly about 9 people who did. So we spaced the callers out and took two callers for each segment and wrapped it up. The next day, during the same hour, we spoke about the success of Chak De and how sports seem to have become popular subjects to base movies on. Chennai 600028 and slightly older Gilli as long as Tamil cinema is concerned. So I asked which movies have used games/sports as a part of the story and which of them would you like to see on the big screen. I had about 47 callers. There lies the difference. Everything from Silambaattam, Pallankuzhi, Goli, Pandi, Kho Kho, Kichu Kichu Thambalam, Sungu and some games I had not heard of. But handle a social topic and be prepared to face weak response. Also people do not want to be aware. They'd rather spend their comfortable lives than be subjected to turbulence. Even if it is for the greater good.
As long as singing children are concerned I have heard that some music groups have signed contracts with them, and they will have to sing until they are 'children'. They are not allowed to perform anywhere else and are threatened with dire consequences if they perform outside or drop out. If the parents cannot see sense then God save the children.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Child Prodigy or Child labour?

One of the things we discussed on Aahaa Kaapi Klub. A man in China is making his 8 yeur old child run for more than 3500 kms as preps for the Olympics. More or less the distance from Chennai to Delhi. Not to mention a man made his 1 1/2 year old child swim in Chennai. Their so many seconds of fame. I seriously believe all these parents who make their children undergo unnatural exertion must be put behind bars. Avariciousness and not allowing the child to enjoy something as beautiful as childhood. I wonder whether this is something typical of Asian countries. Too much population, the drive to prove oneself in an ocean of people and the innate desire to stand out. If not oneself, then may it be his child.
A lot of talented singing children lose their singing voices by the time they are actually ready to perform and sing. Mom always used to watch in dismay in several occasions, especially the boys, she noted have a total loss of resonator in the early stages of voice transition. She says that there are several children's orchestra cropping up every day and the tyranny is that exerting boys after 12 years of age and girls after 13 years proves disastrous to the resonators in children. This need to be addressed on an elaborate platform and she hopes that it will be done soon. But do the avaricious parents realise that they are ruining the entire singing future of the children by doing this, never allowing them to learn properly, even before starting to learn the kids are forced to perform and earn. As is clear, nothing very different from child labour. Excepting that educated parents subject their children to such torture. By the time they grow up and truly understand the depth and beauty of music they probably will be bored and in some cases grow to dislike the art form. I am sooo glad that I have a mother who is knowledgeable and had the wisdom of not taking me around this way, and this was also the reason that she did not want me to perform when I was young. To this day she stresses that I should sing only when I want to and only if I truly enjoy it.
When I was about 12-13, I had the opportunity to meet the scholar T Vishwa and he said that I will thank my mother in the future because she did not put me in this "stupid practice of child prodigy and sing in every other street in the city". As a child, my mother did not allow me to participate in too many competitions. My entry in Saptaswarangal was quite by accident. And I never appeared in any other talent hunt thereafter. And 9 years down the line, people still remember my singing in the show, and not just that, even the colour of my dress on that day and my hairstyle. When I eventually did appear in a Talent Hunt, it was as a special guest, or a judge in some cases. Post ASSJ, I understand the velocity of what he said and these are times I thank all the stars and Gods that I have a parent who is one of the wisest in the field of music. To this day, and forever she will always remind me that it is better to be a good person than a great singer. Which I think every parent with a talented child must do. Encouragement is great, but constant reminders to learn and re-equip oneself, to push the child to grow as a complete individual is the parent's responsibility, which sadly a lot of them do not do. And the day anyone feels that he is the best in something that he is doing that is the end of the road for him.

Art constantly reminds a person that he is inadequate and that there is more to conquer. And to be an artiste in a life itself is a lesson in simplicity. Albert Einstein believed he was still a student of Physics until the day he breathed his last. Of course this is no parallel as long as art is concerned, but I could not but help bringing him up here.

Yes, it is sometimes necessary to showcase a young talent to the world at times, but not an exercise so regular and a daily rum-drum that by the time the children grow up, people lose interest. Of course the children also believe, due to lack of proper guidance from their parents, that they are better than the best in the world. And there stops learning.

A lot of times, nature also seems to teach lessons to men, as soon as the race believes that there is achievement and they have controlled her, there is a new problem. Nature is the biggest road roller of human audacity and ego. Every time there is a natural mishap, people temporarily go into a phase of introspection and then its back to the grind. Just like the temporary phase of "we re born alone and die alone" when we visit someone's funeral. Some also make a weak "I will lead a righteous life" that lasts a few hours.

I probably received this comment on this blog, Oscar Wilde's quote is classic, "I am not young enough to say I know everything".
Even when learned people advise these parents with singing children to take a break, they refuse to see the point. Hey, its all in the money, right? Why let children be fireflies when they can be torches?

Sigh and bigger sigh. After a point in time everyone gives up. And they let time be the tutor. Which is also probably why learned, experienced people do not waste their breath too much in a lot of cases. If they see promise somewhere they would probably give a hint. If the recipient is smart enough to take it, good, otherwise, as they say, time will tell. And it tells all.

Aahaa Kaapi Klub - Callers

I have been getting callers live from the US for Aahaa Kaapi Klub for the past couple of days and not to forget, Bhavani from Mumbai as well.
To all those who have read my blog and called in, THANKS A TON. It means a lot to me.
We usually have a screening process before going on air and in some cases we might have to put the callers on hold for more than 10 minutes depending on when they called in. Despite this, the timing somehow worked out and we were able to speak to a couple of people the past two days (Kumar and Suresh probably, will have to check and edit this line alone). I remember there were other callers earlier last week.
For those who would like to call us on our show, Please do. I am extremely honoured that people call up from so far. FYI, the number to call is 91-44-66110000. Between 8:00 nd 9:00 AM IST, for my show in particular.
Also, if in case you are not able to listen to Aahaa FM on the web due to some technical difficulties that you believe could be from our side, please do let us know by dropping a comment.
Once again, thanks a lot :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Latest - Shyam Milan in 'Agra'

Surprising but true, an out and out Tamil movie has a Hindi song, a Bhajan to be precise.
The day I landed up to record this song, it was pretty late. That particular day was kinda busy so this recording was scheduled for around 8 pm. We recorded this song in Rayhana ji's studio. I heard the track and was waiting for him to play something else, but was stunned when I was handed the lyrics and asked to sing. It has the asthayi and antara. Not too lengthy. The music director, Mr Balu played the track and asked me to pick up the tune, which I duly did. The way the song started, and the way it sounded on my headphones as soon as I entered the voice booth..... super. Once inside, we kept going to make expressions better, sangati-s better. Around the end of the song, he asked me finish off with a slight sob.
It so happened that as the recording progressed - the session probably lasted an hour or probably less, it was hard to control breaking down. I tried my best to reserve it for the safe, private confines of home. But when it was time to record the last portion, it just so happened that I broke out crying. Mr Balu was unnecessarily apologetic, he did not know why in God's name I was crying. He probably thought it was because of singing the same lines over and over again. Of course I'd have loved to go on.. anyway. I do not know why I broke down, lyrics, or the notes, the composition or the heady mix of it all. Or probably a God knows. But post the real sobbing session, my sinuses took awhile to clear and we successfully finished the song.
This song, Shyam Milan, will always be one of the closest to my heart.
Listen to it here

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rumour Has it..

That Ferrari is going to start retailing in India.. This is my dream car.. and yeah I know the Ferrari or most super cars are not Indian-Roads friendly, blind spots and all that.. but *sigh* can't shake this mega attachment I have towards this car.. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aahaa Kaapi Klub had a few callers from the US of A while I was talking live on the show. Of course, I was more than pleasantly surprised, and then I figured that they were listening to it as-it-happens on the web. Damn cool I'd say. I dont know if the other stations in Chennai have this facility.
To everyone else who have mailed/commented/scrapped me about the link
www.aahaafm.com
Listen up, and if you are lucky we' ll hand you a Diamond ring!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sri Lanka concert

Harish Raghavendra and I performed at the "Mega Blast 2007" in Colombo yesterday to a crowd of about 20,000 50,000 (as reported by the people from there.. got a lot of mails asking me to correct it). We were the only two singers from India.
The band that played to our songs is based in Colombo and so were the dancers.
The hotel where we stayed had a breath taking view of the sea. And all I had to do was just open my eyes in the right direction :) Great view to wake up to. One thing that I noticed that there is almost nil humidity, and though I expected the running water in the hotel to be salty, I was pretty surprised that we had soft water and it was kinda sweet as well. And the air was not the kind which leaves you with a sticky feeling that makes you run to the shower once you hit home. The kinda feeling you have when you visit Bombay or the Marina beach.
The concert was great, I had one of the best receptions ever. The cheering and support was more than awesome to say the least and it was an exhilarating feeling to perform to such people. As is common knowledge Sri Lanka is not undergoing the best of times and when people from India come to perform for them they demonstrate their support each time we go up on stage. Especially when I sang Kannathil Muthamittaal some sections of the audience sang along. And of course the response to Sahana was mind blowing. All thanks to Rahman Sir.
There were other performers from Colombo, namely a singer called Ginger. She was exceptional in her performance and I was left gaping at the way she danced and jumped about and sang perfectly. And Live. She also happened to jump off from the stage and go to the audience, and come back, all this while singing! I am gonna join a gym and start running. I can hope to dance and sing properly in the near future then!
There were also other bands and singers as well as the dancers. The show was organized by the Colombo based Sooriyan FM. In total a concert trip that we are super happy about! :)
The pictures will be up on my photo blog

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Aahaa Kaapi Klub on Aahaa 91.9 FM

I am now given the Godly hours of the morning between 7 and 10 am on weekdays to host Aahaa Kaapi Klub on 91.9 FM.
This comes as a blessing as I have the whole day starting from 10 AM at my disposal to go about my routines and pack in some more learning.
We went live on air this morning and I had my usual jitters. As time goes I should be able to handle it well. And I am getting super support from my people.
I had gone to the Gymkhana Club yesterday evening for the concert of Usha ji celebrating the Independence Day eve. It was great fun, and this was the first time I saw her live in action. She is more than awesome to say the least. The Super singer junior kids were also there, Vignesh, Krishnamoorthy and Saicharan who also sang a song each. And so did I. The way Usha ji interacts with the audience is mind blowing and there is so much to learn from her.
Something that crossed my mind, actually it has been crossing to and fro for quite a while, it is just that people spend so much money in clubs and elitist gatherings. Even the youngsters today decide to blow enough dough pubbing and partying.
Instead of people blaming the government and politicians all the time, would it be so tough if people took matters in their own hands and started eradicating slums? For starters that is? I will not take this crap that India is a poor country. It definitely is not. There is enough money in every country, especially with the people. Its good thing to save for our own gray years and for posterity, but why not get things done with the same money?
I had a fleeting look at a newspaper today, not sure whether it was the DC or the Indian express supplement. It carried an article on two guys who took it upon themselves to work on the potholes themselves. Disclaimer again that I have not read the article, it was only the eyecatcher that I saw. And why because one of the guys is Vijay, who is part of the Knowledge Foundation (a national network of entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts) , whose latest super work was Proto.in
Kiruba Shankar is also part of the Knowledge foundation, which is how I knew about it in the first place. And also because of Podworks that they organized.
Probably its time that we learnt not to blame another for things that we can rectify. And start working as individuals, small teams and bigger teams, and even bigger teams to see a happier country. I think this should be child's play for school and colleges to achieve, they have the strongest and the most proactive section of the population with them.
BTW with regard to the previous post on trees, G N Chetty road is losing more by the day, and I wonder whether any of the authorities have heard about something called Global Warming. Its not really a new concept, is it?
And yes my show on Aahaa FM also debates such issues. This is in reply to a comment asking me to discuss it. We did it in my show in the afternoon, and it shall continue in a more concentrated fashion. And hey we are giving away diamond rings every hour on the show. 15 diamond rings are up for grabs every week. And if you wanna win, tune in and listen up!

P.S.: I have used this blog as a sounding board sometimes, and sometimes just as a diary logging what goes through my mind sometimes, as a notebook and have let my imagination take flight. I am concerned about the city. And I am not a cribber. I have noticed that there were communities for me on orkut and as of now there are 2000+ members. And I wrote in asking people who are interested to come forward. Of course things like this need constant firing. And dedication. I am as normal as anyone else. I am a singer and most of my time will definitely go in learning. But I want to do my bit. If it works out and if there are people like me who want to get down and dirty their hands, and if it lasts, it will be a dream come true. If it does not work out, I will be glad later that I at least tried wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My heart bleeds to see the avenue trees on G N Chetty road being hacked off. G N Chetty road is one of the very few areas to have the luxury of avenue trees and where we can get some get some clean air when we drive down after all the engines have finished choking coughing and sputtering on those roads. Mom and I caught a few glimpses of the trees being hacked off late last night while driving back from a movie.
I HATE IT.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Marathi - Done!

A BIG thank you to everyone who gave me contacts for the Marathi Linguists. Esp
Mr Gopal, Bhavani and Shankar. Deepak, Karthik Murali- thank you, but I had already spoken to the linguist by the time you sent me your ID.
And to everyone else. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I had blogged about a friend wanting to buy a TV and a car. She finally bought a Sharp Aquos and a Hyundai Verna. Thank You to everyone who helped!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bheema - Enadhuyire and etc.

That would be the next song. I have sung this song along with Sadhna Sargam and Sowmya Raoh and Nikhil Mathew, the Super Singer winner last year. He has had to wait for a year after the announcement of the results to get a break in the movies and I know for a fact that it has not been very easy even though an opportunity was promised with Harris Jeyaraj sir.
Only as long as talent hunts last, is it easy for the participants. And probably if you are a winner, a short time thereafter. Once the novelty fades, winner or not, everyone has to pave their own hard way through for opportunities. One thing, Nikhil has had his head on his shoulders, unlike, surprisingly, some contestants in the Super Singer Junior.
Nowadays the Airtel Super Singer Junior claims that professional singers have a few go-s at recording the song. He also claims that songs like Balleilaka have been achieved not by singers but only due to machines. I wonder what the parents are doing. Rather, the problem here is that the parents themselves claim that their children are way better than all the musicians in the industry put together. I am guessing he is surrounded by wrong advisers. Its surprising to see how quickly fame gets to the heads of children, and unfortunately their families as well, and they suddenly lose sight of the ground they stand on. As the SSJ progressed, I saw several kids develop audacity and attitude problems, not behaving properly with the crew, demanding to be treated as celebrities, and treating media like pith, when legends like Dr Balamuralikrishna, came and went unobtrusively. Today the demands of some of the children are sky-high. Also demanding to be paid in concerts as much as the top professional singers would be paid.
Talent is available aplently today, but talent is the raw material. Without studentship and intense learning on several stages sustenance of the art will not be there. Too much emphasis on concerts and making money and earning turns them to be child labourers. It may be an artistic area, but even then, a child worker is a child worker.
I feel like bringing in the parallel of diamonds here. Unless they are cut properly no brilliance can be achieved. And the cut is what makes the difference between a mere stone, an inferior diamond and a superior one. And somewhere down the line, the kids lose focus on learning and achieving more. And stagnate. Mom has seen several children with great talent, who showed great promise not come up as brilliant musicians as they were touted to become.
Talent hunts are great, to build confidence to be able to interact with stalwarts with whom we might otherwise interact as beginners, a teaser as to how to conduct yourself in front of popular media, to learn from our own flaws, because these give us the rare opportunities to watch ourselves in action, and with shows like SSJ, its like a music camp of learning as well.
Three days back, a senior journalist from the Indian Express wanted to me talk about life after Talent Hunts. Of course I could not speak to her at the time she called to give her my opinion, because I could not even make up my mind about whether I wanted to speak out about these children in particular to the popular media. I also had to consult mom on whether it was OK to talk about it. Of course by the time I called her back, two hours later, she was angry and I could not speak to her. This question is probably going to come back sooner or later.
There were times when it was hard for me to interact with the judges while the children were there on the same stage as I, because they would be constantly muttering under their breaths and commenting, rudely a lot of times as well. And I would lose track, stare at the children and go back to take once again. SSJ was more stressful than I thought it would be. The crew of course had a tougher time. A lot of people spoke about the 'drama' but probably the greatest was played by the children, and sometimes their parents. All that the crew, the judges and I could do was watch and be silent spectators. As they say, the show had to go on. And the children behaved well as soon as the cameras rolled. Of course some passed comments even while the cameras were on. Chitra amma gave a parting shot, that it is very important to continuously learn, respect the parents and elders and other musicians however small they are and to be humble more than anything else. Looks like it has fallen on deaf ears. And yes, in SSJ there are children who are well brought up. But only 3 or 4.
After seeing these talent hunts, I believe that bringing back the Gurukula system and home-schooling would probably be a better way to bring up children, instead of sending them to school, and them learning all the beeped out words before they are 10.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Here I come.
This is an SOS for someone who knows Marathi for a translation project.
the linguist who is supposed to have delivered this work on SUNDAY is unreachable, does not reply to calls or to mails. So much for professionalism.
The people I work with are all freelancers and they are answerable only with regard to the project. To everyone who said that I have to be a good manager and team work and all that, the question does not arise, because they do not come to my office and work. They work from their own homes/offices. Which is why someone has to keep their ethics in place, and at least tell us that they cannot take up the assignment because of something else. And as said before this happens mostly with Indian translators.
Anyway I will have to keep my word to my client, and if you are / know of someone who knows Marathi, please leave a comment.
TIA.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The attempts to crack seem to continue. It is extending to my other ID-s. Which are not so public though. Every mail ID of mine gets a mail from accounts no reply to reset password.
Wow wayy too many interested people I say!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Watching movies had become a past time that I indulge in. At times. There are days when Mom and I haunt a multiplex for two - three days in a row, if time so permits, finish watching all the movies and not go back to the theater for several weeks.
And some times, while travelling, we get to watch movies in-flight. I watch several movies in licensed DVDs. (sorry had to reaffirm that) Depending on how involved I was with certain characters in the film, I sometimes have an accent hangover from the characters in the movie. I must however admit that this has happened with all the movies were Old English is spoken. Like say Shakespeare in Love, The Girl with the Pearl Earrings.
Some movies you watch and then not think much about it thereafter. And some movies mess with your head, question beliefs, things you have been buying. Several things actually. And one such is the Blood Diamond. I am no movie reviewer, and I do not even want to try. The title according to the wiki refers to Blood Diamonds that are diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance conflicts. There were some theories I'd like to say which the movie put forth as to why diamonds are so expensive. Works on the very day-to-day cut-supply-increase-demand concept. The movie also portrayed the character of Mandy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), who is the journalist covering the war and the illegal diamond trade. The character made me admire the guts of investigative journalists the world over and those who pursue stories to strive and bring justice with just a few pints of ink from their pens or let me say some units of electricity from their PCs, risking their lives more often than not.
There was another line that the character of Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) says in the movie, "I do not understand why my own people would commit such atrocities against their kind". Not the exact words. Though it has been in front of my eyes probably for ever it was like snap-wake-up to the fact that one man will easily destroy another for his own good.
Also there was was another section in the movie, questioning whether men were good or bad. And finally Danny Archer (Dicaprio) says men are just men. It's what they do that makes them good or bad.
The question of Good and Bad would probably be one of the oldest arguments ever. Who decides what is good or bad? What is good to one may be bad for another. Is there but anything in the world that has gained uniform acceptance by all beings? I would dare to say no. (Once, an ex supreme court judge was my co passenger in one of the flights, I could not help asking him questions on his career. Of course he spoke to me as an elder would speak to a child, telling me that there is good in the world. Nothing has fallen apart. And of course I did not get answers to my questions)
Once questions start coming its frustrating to know that there are almost no answers. And probably there are not many to give them. If the Himalayan Masters were to listen to my rants, they would probably just smile. I have always wanted to know right from my early teens about where we come from where we go. Even if there are previous lives and after lives, what is the reason for this whole game?
Are we actually our own masters? Writers of our own destiny? I do believe that it is upto us to take the road that is oft travelled or the one less travelled. Perhaps there is more to "The Road not taken" by Robert Frost, than meets the eye. Of course, Very clearly its about choices made. If each lifetime is a lesson to be learnt, and we do not get it right in the first go, and say, we come back until we do learn, and then there are new lessons. And once all that has been learnt, whither destination? I sometimes wonder what it would be like to know everything, have the answers to every question. In that case, would living become meaningless? Because I am not searching for anything? There is no need, no want, no goal to achieve?
We brought nothing, go with nothing, and what happens, has happened, will happen is for the good. So are our choices already written destiny or does destiny get written as it happens while we make our choices, (but then wont it be case-history)?
I have but started learning the first notes in music and by the time I learn of and learn the ultimate cosmic symphony? How much longer?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Once every three or four days I get a password assistance mail from google to my alternate email ID.
Now why would I get that when I have not forgotten my password? Is this also one of the super spams?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What happens when you leave your car windows open on a rainy night?
You get wet upholstery and pretty sad car in the morning.
Thats exactly the state my car is in.. First time in the so many years that I have driven around. Blleaargh!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

FAQ Airtel Super Singer Junior

Today was the final telecast of Airtel Super Singer Junior and starting next week it will be the second season of Jodi No 1
This post is also in reply to several comments/mails with regard to Airtel Super Singer Junior. A lot of times, with regard to why I did not sing when everyone else did. I did not feel that as a host, I have to reaffirm that I can sing in a talent hunt for children. Though Chitra ji and Usha Ji kept asking me, I sang for them alone privately and never on stage. Probably the producers also felt that the participants and the children would get restless if I sang.
In the finals, I did not realize in the height of having have to remember what to say that Vignesh was not given an award or anything to that effect, until Dr Balamuralikrishna brought it to my notice and thereafter the general public as well, wherever I go. It still happens, and I guess it will for a quite a while to come.
When I tell people that I have no idea what is going to happen, they do not believe me. Until I wear my make up and go into the set, I have no idea about the concept of what is going to be shot that particular day, how the competition is going to be taken forward, and of course no written script either. I would be given a briefing by the producers and then I ll have to remember as much as I can and blah-blah away. That explains the bloopers and the number of out-takes. There was only so much that I could remember in the last 15-20 minutes before the cameras started rolling. Almost every instruction was last minute, but I presume thats how reality shows are made like.
I have never known which special guest was going to come, like for instance the show where the Wild Card Round winner was announced, I knew that Mr Unnikrishnan had come after we had started shooting and just after I announced the ad break, before the announcement, I came to know that he was the special guest. These were instances when I wished I had more time to prepare to introduce the guest in a better fashion and the fact that I have to watch every word that I say, especially about other musicians and stalwarts. I would have been the happiest person if I had known that Dr Balamurali Krishna was going to come at least the previous day to do some reading up on my own.
The team was very dedicated about keeping their secrets to such an extent that even I never knew what was going to happen until I went to the floors to shoot.
In a similar manner with Airtel Super Singer, I knew only from SPB Sir when he announced that Nikhil Mathew won. The team refused to tell me.
Of course the entire team had too many things to take care of. All this last minute mugging probably did some good to my semantic memory!

And again, I do not know whether there will be an Airtel Super Singer or the Junior Part 2, this year or the next. And I do not know whether I will be hosting that either :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I have ranted about this before, but I sincerely cannot understand the way some people work. I have often seen that when people are behind schedule with regard to translation assignments for our firm, they have a very easy answer, my disk went corrupt, electricity has gone off. And some times when it has genuinely happened to me during the torrential rains in Chennai, and we were off power, I used to cringe with that excuse.
And "Disk Corrupt Salvaging Data" is an excuse that I get a lot of times from the translators here. And a few translators overseas. Of course I get different ones from abroad. like skidding on snow, and very easily a family member 'dies' or gets admitted to the hospital, and of course Blame-it-on-the-PC excuse. And even if the PC excuse were an honest one, I can't but help getting irritated when people fail to keep their word. Or rather, deliver their words in this case.
And thereafter you ask them for a status so that we can ascertain what we should tell our clients, there will be no reply, and their phones will be switched off, and mails not replied to.
Its enraging to say the least.
Arrrrrrgh for wrong work ethics.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bloopers on Airtel Super Singer Junior

I had looked forward to watching them, because more than the out-takes, the way it is edited and the 'counter' dialogues are what makes it funny in my opinion.
In response to mails and the comments on other posts, the voice in the background belonged to Mr Rajkumar, one of the producers in Vijay TV. The voice in the children-s episode belonged to Mr Nelson, another producer. Though they are technically called producers, they are the ones who direct the parents, participants, judges, special guests and finally me. They are also the ones who go to the cities where the action happens days before the event finally takes place, especially with regard to regionals.
And thereafter, visiting the kid's houses in their respective cities, getting their friends and family to speak, and taking care of editing, handling the action while it happens and creative inputs as well. I shall update this post with the pictures shortly to name the brains behind the show.
And more than last time, the out-takes this time were better, probably because I had already worked with this team and camaraderie was better.
I have to shoot 2 more episodes and with that, we will wrap up Airtel Super Singer Junior.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pictures from the Canada Trip

The pictures from my recent Toronto trip are in FlickR. I published from Flickr once. But now I seem to have lost it. How do I get the pics from Flickr on to my blog?
TIA

Update: In my Photo Blog.I forgot about the 'Blog This'!

Airtel Super Singer Junior - the curtains draw for now....

Its amazing how much children know. Especially when there is a reality check they understand a lot more between the lines than you do, its funny and surprising at the same time.

Most of the kids at the current level of ASSJ are at the threshold of their teens and they way they size up and make a meal of almost everything that comes their way.... the tenacity and the grit is .. amazing to say the least.
Almost all the children sing really well, and God willing, and especially the children willing, or should I say, the current educational system willing, they have a future in the starry skies of music, to twinkle, or shine or become the sun if they so please.

A lot of times I have had to speak to the kids on camera, trying to engage them in some sort of a conversation, because that is how it is supposed to be. And I must say this has been the most difficult portions in my interaction with them. All of them either have express instructions as to not to speak to me and answer in a word or two, or they its just the way they are made. No matter how much I try asking them, say for example, how do you think the judges are? - Good. How much practice did you put in? - "nerayya"
Do you want to say or ask something to the judges? - "No".

I have heard of children having lots of nice things to say, but probably they are all born careful now. Watching their words in front of the camera. And once they are sure the camera has stopped rolling they become different personalities, laughing, kidding around. I wonder why they don't want to be the children they are and act 35. Soft spoken, watching what they speak.... It has made me wonder whether the children have collectively lost their innocence. In the midst of all this, we had a kid asking for the viewers to vote for her sister so that she can come back to compete in the wild card round, and she said "if you like my sister's singing please vote for her, otherwise, no need". And the same kid, has seen me asking the directors of the show, on which camera on the floor to face, in the plethora that is there in front of me. Apparently she has seen me ask that a lot of times, and when the director told her "action" she asked in all seriousness "which camera"?
Most of the times older people look to children, to reclaim a spark that they have lost, or to just to smile in their moments of gray. As time goes, I wonder whether we will lose the chance to do that as well. And probably, a lot of times, I would probably ask the parents to let their children be their age and not make them act a few decades older.

The judges - Usha Uthup ji and Chitra ji were delightful to be with. Lots of laughter and lots of joy. And lots of goodness. Both of them have been straight forward in what they have wanted to say to the kids and honest as well. In spite of their status in the industry, they floor me with the simplicity they have. And Ushaji's energy is completely matchless. In the otherwise, stoic atmosphere, which I must say was created by the children, she lightened the mood made them laugh and dance and brought out the importance of stage presence, which is completely lacking in the performers from the south of India. Here we have people judging women who dance on stage while singing, you are given a once-over from top to toe, and immediately judged as someone who is not, 'adakkam and odukkam" enough.

Why should the singer not enjoy his own song? Why is the performance repressed in the name of "right behavior", and when the joy does not permeate from him, how will it communicate to the audience?

Usha ji proved that you can bring dignity into any profession that you chose to be in. I daresay that She brought pop-culture to the limelight in India, and you can wear Kanjeevaaram and still rock the cells out of the audience. And am so glad that children who are moulded to be subdued are exposed to someone like her. To be true to your music, how to interact with the musicians and how to generally communicate to the audience, because if you are on stage, you are there for the people and not for yourself. And Usha ji is to mark the contestants on this show for stage presence and overall performance. Chitra ji was marking the contestants on the Pitch and rhythm.
Though she seems to have a strict exterior, she is one of the most soft hearted people I have seen. And every time she used to correct the children, she mutters to herself, that "Oh God, let me always be in tune and in rhythm that I can honestly correct the children" And the times she was asked to sing, she would ask the children "seriya paadinaena?" And ask them to give her marks on pitch and rhythm. She is one of the very very few people who are pitch perfect, a singer who everyone wants to be, everyone wants to sing like. And this was one of the best combination of judges - Usha ji and Chitra ji.

Shooting with Vijay TV is always fun, and much against people saying that we are making the children cry, the channel just captures what goes on. And the facts. Everything is shown as is. And I'd say that this is a reality show that lives up to its name. If scenes were shown of the girl who went and demanded to the Judge who eliminated her from the contest, it shows that the children nowadays question what they feel is wrong, that they are outspoken and no matter how young they are, they speak up for themselves. And some parents encourage such behavior.

And if the children and their parents have decided to take part in a contest of this magnitude, they understand that they have to be prepared for Success and Failure with equal readiness. And this is a learning experience for the ones who are involved, the ones that are part of the show, and the ones that watch it.

As for me, I am richer with experiences and I must admit that I am pretty much surprised most of the times, as should be the feeling with most people.

The finale was an awesome experience giving me an opportunity to share the stage with Dr. Balamuralikrishna. Most of the times I am at a loss of words when I have to 'introduce' a musician of his stature on a show. How much can a singer of my stature and my age say? Questions of this sort have always plagued me on the show, I had the same trouble last time when I had to invite SPB sir on stage for the finale last year, and I have lost my cool, been a bundle of nerves just before the camera starts rolling. This is when the crew supported me a lot. The show, like Airtel Super Singer, has been a super learning experience, albeit a little different.

A question that I have been oft asked, why did I not sing? Because it was not the show's format, the producers did not plan that I should sing in an episode, and I did not want to keep establishing that I can sing, especially in a talent hunt for younger children, as with Airtel Super Singer. When I am a host, I am there to speak and not to showcase what I can sing. There are other platforms for me to sing in, and God willing I will be blessed with such platforms.

Also, that I seem to shout/scream. :) I am yet to learn how to hype up something without shouting. Most of the times the audience just does not react in spite of all this. A quiet presentation sometimes does not work when a lot of energy is needed. But perhaps there is a better way to exude energy in presentation, I watched a few episodes of presenters in Western shows and when it is necessary, the decibel has gone up. I definitely have a lot to learn on that front.

And it was very nice for me to hear the children singing the songs that I have sung.

And I stay thankful to time that gives me these opportunities.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Of late there have been people who have gone all out to say that I can't sing to save my life and I should not have sung Sahana and that I should try and learn to sing, especially in beeped out words and the like. Why am I writing about it? Because I am now wondering why someone would be so vocative in conveying something of distaste. Have things always been this way with people over the years, or is it just that, say in the past 20 years or so people have become highly rude in conveying their dislike to certain things? Have we lost the art of being tactful?
In some cases, the critics on these media have told me, that they write to me in such a manner, only to elicit a response from me.
Just out of curiosity, how well do we remember the person who writes in to us like that? How do we associate with them? Good feeling? Squirmy feeling?
Why is it that we have to be aggressive in putting forth our views? Is it not the conviction in our thoughts and the belief in what we say that makes them communicated to the subject and not aggression? Is it not a poor substitute because we believe that we might not get the expected response from the target?
Have politeness and basic acts of courtesy gone down the drain? What would be the best way to express dislike and distaste to anything?
I still have not come to the state where rudeness towards me doesn't affect me. Probably I ll learn in a few years.
I got a comment from a certain lady in the past couple of days that I have to learn to sing esp with regard to Sahana, and in the turn off-s section in her profile, no points for guessing - rudeness.
Brings me to what has been communicated for a decade or so in every form. That people no longer want to give but want to receive all the time. And the desire to have excellent fruits from the seeds of hate. How in the universe is that going to happen? Not to mention, the lack of tolerance.
When someone is rude to me, should I remain quiet? Should I retort? Should I smile and go? I am told to feel stronger, and these are lessons to that effect.. Actually the time that I spend learning how to feel stronger on such issues, I 'd rather do something more productive, something better than come-back skills.
When I go through the archives of my earlier posts, I see how things have changed in my perception. And somewhere down in time, when I look back upon this post, I ll probably have my own answers to the questions here...