Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trusted companion for a week

That's how long my Sennheiser In-Ear monitors, one of my dearest possessions, (yeah it has been around for just about a week or so) could stay with me
Sometimes you wonder if its destiny. For, for no fault of yours, and carelessness on someone else's part you lose a possession that's dear to you and hard earned money goes down the drain. Every penny that everyone earns is hard earned these days. People slog it, sweat it out to have the life that they would like, that they have always dreamed of. My Sony Ericsson P900 is the first PDA that I got, its probably 7 years since I bought it, and believe me, it definitely looks like it can get into a museum of ancient art, (or add technology there), I still use it. Cos my first PDA is special. Actually everything that we go out and buy is special cos our purchases are done for a purpose.
And it is tough for most of us to come to terms with our possession getting lost.
I have lost a lot of things in the course of time. Phones, Jewelery sometimes, make-up is a very common thing that is flicked but you get used to it after a point because no matter how well you take care of it, things get misplaced, lost or stolen. Most of this happens on shows and events. Just for our sake, we tell ourselves that we misplaced it. Because to even ponder on the thought that someone could have stolen is unnecessary mind sprain.
Yes I have felt down and out when things have gone missing. Who doesn't, unless of course there was not much importance or if they are a saint.
But somehow nothing seems to have hurt so far as much as losing my monitors for now. Maybe I was grateful for the kindness shown at Pro Music, for the amount of money that has gone to pay the bill and the instant attachment I felt with it after it gave me a sound in my ears, the way I have always wanted. Looked forward to better performances on my side. Yeah of course I can get another one, but my feet will definitely drag now to make another purchase.
And at this point in time, apart from all the joy in the world, this is wishing for you, the reader, that may you never undergo what I am going through. This is wishing for you that you value and cherish whatever you may have now and may it be with you for as long as you wish it to be. And may you never have the misfortune of losing anything that you hold so dear to your heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Padmasini Again!

Dear readers and commenters,

You should be aware of my post before the very beginning of Airtel Super Singer. If not please go through the same all over again.

Chinmayi is assigned the job of being an anchor and she is doing her job strictly as an anchor.

Anonymous, we are not publishing your letter but to you and the rest who are quoting I would like to clarify this much.

Ragini is NOT MY STUDENT. She was a student of Mr.Krishnamoorthy, father of Ms.Sangita Krishnamoorthy, performing and recognised as Sudha Raghunathan's student. Ragini was brought in by her mother when she was probably 11 or 12 years old; She took a few classes but she did'nt fit into the project I was experimenting and after that no contact. She has shifted many teachers after that and her last Guru was Mrs.Sulochana Pattabhiraman who passed away recently. Not only Ragini, there is not a single student of mine anywhere in the competition from the beginning.

Why and how the judges retain and eliminate candidates is NOT something Chinmayi can involve or comment upon. It is between the channel and the judges. She has to just stick to the anchoring script and guidelines. She can not be good or bad to anyone on the basis of their good singing or bad singing. She has to be uniformly caring, compassionate and encouragingly friendly with every single contestant. Your letter proves that she does it well.

Every single contestant has to go eventually except the final one super singer. That is the reality.

When this is the case why so much of criticism.... rather hatred shown towards Ragini? Competition is not the be all and end all of our lives. The growing animosity towards this girl is not necessary as one human being to another. It may affect her psycological well-being. The play back field is far away from all these feverishness. Destiny and sheer competence will decide who runs the rat race of an actual playback singer. So I suggest that lets take it easy :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Silent Dictation

There are times in life when there is an egging from inside to jump. Jump into nothingness. To feel empty. To be emptied. Of anything that you might be made of. To put your insides out. Hoping, wishing that maybe there might be newness of thought, tranquility of the mind and sanctity of being that can come to pass. How tough it is to take that random leap into nowhere. To start off and not know the destination. To hope and not hope at the same time. How does that sound? Despairing? Hopeless? Mysterious? Or just like random words that are being put together in a sentence that is ended with a full-stop with other punctuations in between?
Somehow something prompts me to post this one, and I am doing this without a preemptive thought, or hitting the backspace unless and until it is for checking the spelling. Fingers move on the keyboard of their own accord with a mind of their own with an unseen director telling them to type some letters that form words, that form sentences and those which make paragraphs.
Here, my fingers pause. Seconds tick by. I am wondering whether this is cathartic. Pause again. I hear the weird buzz of an unknown insect, the airwaves created by the fan whirring on top of my head.
What is it like to be surrounded by clouds? To be enveloped by them? Are you able to figure out what it could feel like? It would be like you are enveloped by nothingness.
Of something that has no form, no shape, is made of seemingly nothing. But still vast areas are covered by these clouds. Vision is blocked. To see through and yet not be able to see through if there are enough. Something that can slip between your fingers and your hands are left moist and cool thereafter. To breathe in the clouds. Entering your system. Does that make your insides foggy? Can clarity and fogginess be present at the same time within the same space? I see a vast area of water. Water that is blue, gray, white and turquoise at different areas. Seemingly still but endless activity within. Colonies of fish and mythical creatures perhaps reside at the depths. So much happens. But on the top there is relative placidity. Is there something to learn there? Is it like no matter what happens within you, you need to have a placid facade? Or is it that you can be whatever you are within, it is how you appear that counts? Or is it that there might far more than what meets the eye? Or does it teach you to pierce through the calmness to discover the depths of whatever you might be made of? Figure yourself out? What are we made of? Where do we come from and where do we go? And have we set out on a journey to figure ourselves out or is this to go through whatever that life might through you but just be like the clouds? To rise up? And be? -Pause- I'm waiting for the next set of words to come through. I don't read what I have written yet. I don't want to. This post shall have no editing. Do we make a decision to remember whence we come from and then the we are made, forget it? Forget a promise? To ourselves?
Right now there is a scene that unfolds in front of my eyes. Fingers stringing pearls. Each the size of a pea. White shiny ones. In shiny string. Sunlight catches the fingers that string and the pearls. It reflects, permeates, is all around. And now I have a string of pearls and sunlight. Do you see the sunlight? Do you feel the hands the fingers that put the pearls together? Or is it just the necklace that you see and the price-tag?
The string of pearls is suspended in thin air against a wall painted the colour of cream. The End.
(As I hit enter and get into typing this passage, I realize that this small box that gives me the space to pen down whatever I want, and sometimes I have realized that this box with the button to Publish or Save, right below, is my necessary tool to write. Nothing but this particular interface can be the trigger. Perhaps, for the first time in my life, I am going to publish this post without a run-through, or an edit. Publish it and see what this is all about. Words were a continuous flow until I typed "The End." It was some sort of a silent dictation that I took down. All I know is that I need to hit that publish button. Right now, this exercise does not make any sense to me, but maybe, someday, sometime, it will)
Take care. Good people.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Is the general feeling after the concert yesterday. The euphoria prevailed much longer. Frankly my stomach had been in knots for several days prior to the concert and have been working pretty hard for this one. Did not listen to any music other than the songs I had to sing. The radio was switched off. Haven't heard anything else.
As soon as this particular show was announced the tickets were sold out within three days of the box office opening, as said by the presenter Neelu yesterday and it also tempted them to hold another concert of the same kind, we were told.
Shreeni sir opened the show with "Main Kya jaanoon", Anuradha Sriram opened with Ayiyae Meherban, and after two of her songs and the song Naresh opened with, the song skips my memory cells right now, and I opened with a few lines of Kuhu Kuhu and went on to sing Thade Rahiyo.
Kuhu Kuhu was the song that I sang in Saptaswarangal, in Tamil of course, Shreeni sir judged me for that song and I went on to meet Rahman sir. So this song, was my personal tribute to Rahman sir and Shreeni Sir.
In the total list of 30 songs I had to sing Tu jahan jahan chalega, Bahon Mein chale aao, Jaiye aap kahan jayenge, Kora Kagaz tha with Shreeni Sir, Jaaneja with Naresh and Kajra Mohabbatwala with Anuradha Sriram. The last two songs for the evening were Aaja Aaja and Jai Jai Shivshankar were we totally freaked out.
I had been wishing to be a part of the November Fest for quite a while, as I had already said before and it was an honour to be there. A whole set of the discerning audience of Chennai, the kind which can tear some of the greatest classical musicians apart if they were not upto their mark, the kind of audience, who have strong convictions about not just the concert quality and artiste selection, accompaniments, quality of music but also on minutest of details, like the demeanor of the musicians, attitude, attire and so on. Like Shreeni sir said post-concert, this is a different platform because, usually the audience is in awe of the artiste, but here, the artistes are also in awe of the audience.
It was also like as soon as the curtains go up, the audience is like yeah now, show us what you can do. :)
Somehow Vairamuthu sir's words rang true yesterday, "vayitrukkum thondaikkum uruvam illa, oru urundaiyum uruludhaDi". I was praying the entire Universe for help and that I should do well. I had slogged it out. And I needed divine grace. Maybe that happened yesterday.
I made a new investment on a Sennheiser In-ear monitor for this concert, got it at a great deal at Pro Music. Expected to pay a bomb, but ended up paying far less. I felt extremely grateful for that gesture. This was a point in time when I remembered the struggles of the past and that the Creator showed us enough grace in getting us to meet kind hearted people as well.
At the rehearsals on the day before the concert, at the Mini Hall, was when I checked out Shreeni Sir's in-ear monitors. And I liked the way it felt. And I liked the way I could hear myself.
In most of the live concerts I have been a part of, sound has almost always been an issue. It would be a guess work most of the times as I would be unable to hear what I had sung. If you are not a performer, you might wonder how that is possible. But it is. You might be singing, but you'll totally not hear yourself. If you have ever sung on stage before, maybe you would know what I am talking about.
The concert yesterday was a breeze. Of course everyone in the audience had their own set of favourites that they expected to hear which would be impossible to fulfill but Shreeni Sir and Anuradha sang small portions of several songs when they went in for their acts which I am sure fulfilled at least a part of the everyone's wishlist.
Naresh's Parda hai Parda, with Shreeni sir backing him up, had a major reception with the audience. There were several requests for an encore.
Kajra Mohabbatwala, a female duet was my fun time as well. The lyrics are naughty and I had great fun. Aaja Aaja and Jai Jai Shivshankar was what I was personally waiting for as well. Naresh and I had decided earlier to join the audience but it took us a while to figure out how to get out of the stage. And we figured the exit by the time we finished Aaja Aaja and joined the audience for Jai Jai Shivshankar. And yes the very same discerning audience, at least a few of them, joined us in dancing and revelry. I had a great time dancing with this particular lady who was probably 65+ or maybe more. She was such a great sport. I have always felt that the older generation loved dancing and singing. My grandmother used to do a lot of such antics. She is pushing 90 now. But somehow I think, maybe that generation was really not so wound up in spite of the demands of tradition and everything else.
Joining the crowds and singing at the same time was something that I have been waiting to do for ages but in most cases, us girls are advised against doing so, mainly by the organizers and the security. Most audiences are not safe. The security personnel are highly protective and justifiably so. Going to the audience, being in their midst and singing along was finally possible at the Music Academy yesterday. I would have loved to go up. But we did not have the time to traverse the steps. That was another Wish fulfilled.
To me, yesterday's concert was a dream come true and I was giving my thanks to the Universe for making it happen. Personal thanks also go to The Hindu, particularly Mukund Padmanabhan and Shreeni sir who pencilled in my name as one of the artsites. The musicians who accompanied us were brilliant. Most of them were from Trivandrum and a few of the musicians were from Chennai.
I hardly caught a wink of sleep last night. Maybe it was the adrenalin. Or whatever else. But this was definitely a concert to remember.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Golden Age concert

of the Hindu November Fest, which I am part of, much to my glee is sold out as of 5 days ago. I am generally jumping in joy. And of course there is considerable pressure.
Hoping and praying to God that I sing well. !

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram

And I m the voice of Sameera Reddy.
I happened to almost miss being the voice of Sameera because at that time, I was in a spree of refusing dubbing assignments. And somehow after some other calls, I ended up giving a test.
I was almost always intimidated by Mr Gautam Menon, I had just crossed paths at a couple of events and I was shuddering at the thought of working with him. And somehow this turned out to be one of the best experiences ever.
Every dubbing experience for me has been a beautiful fun-filled learning experience. After the second session of working with Mr Menon, it was becoming more and more inspiring. I learnt a lot from this session, from Mr Menon and loved the movie, whatever I had seen. To sum up, it was fulfilling.
I somehow started thanking the creator for repeatedly sending me the opportunity of being a part of Vaaranam Aayiram. I guess the movie releases today. And I am praying that it does super well :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What it means

A lot of notes on why I sign off with Shabba Khair and Godspeed, given that most people might not know what it means.
Well my thought is if something sounds new, the first thing that 99% of the people do is to find out what it is. Or at least attempt.
I sign off saying Godspeed on my live show on radio. More or less a lot of people might be headed off to do a lot of important things at the time I sign off from the show, around 10.00 AM and a positive word would definitely put in a lot of good vibes. Of course that is my opinion. Saying a lot of good things, good words, promoting good thoughts is generally my modus operandi on the show. There is enough and more negativity that crowds us right from the time we open our morning paper or switch on the TV for latest news. Hardly find anything good sounding. There is so much focus on the negative and the wrong that the "good" gets drowned in this whole murk.
Coming back, Shabba Khair means Good night. In a different language. In the previous seasons, when I signed off saying Adios/Adieu/Ciao, there were hardly any comments eventhough, obviously a lot of people might not now. And Godspeed is Good fortune.
Thought they are nice words to hear at the end of the day, if of course, Airtel Super Singer 2008 is the last show they watch on TV before they switch it off.

A request

Several times I have received mails or comments on my blog to help raise funds. 98% of the times it has been from people I do not know, so I have refrained from publishing anything on this blog, mainly because, to tell you the truth, I am not sure whether it is a genuine case.
I got this comment on my blog a couple of days ago and for some reason I am blogging about it.
A lot of times Mom has told me, that sometimes there seems like there is a lot of help that is being generated for the downtrodden, weaker sections of the society, differently abled children. But there was never an organization to help foster brilliant minds. The most brilliant children have to go to mediocre schools, be treated like mediocrity and eventually they are conditioned to be mediocre.
And the same way, there would be families which look well-off but they might be struggling to pay their bills, or their children's education. Mom said there must be an organization, that takes care of such families, ANONYMOUSLY. Maybe send them cheques, that will take care of their toughest time, until they find their footing, without knowing where it is coming from. And maybe we would be able to do something like that in the near future. I think everyone has the right to dignity. We believe in the Tamizh proverb which says if your right hand is helping someone, even your left hand should not know about it. And for some reason, I am reminded of Mother Teresa's words. It may be totally out of context here, not connected at all with the previous line or the post in general, but something tells me to type this down. She apparently said "Dont call me for an anti-war rally, but call for me a peace rally instead".
Sometimes, if you have been following Mom's blogs as well, (she hasn't been able to keep up with that, no thanks to me) you should probably read this post.
Coming back this is the comment I got on a previous post

"ajaykumar said...
Hi Chinmayi,
My post here is totally unrelated to the topic.I am here for a small obligation.My name is Ajay and I am doing my masters in Chicago. I have a friend of mine shankar who is suffering from blood cancer for the past 1 year.He is right now critical and needs immediate treatment He is admitted in apollo hospital for treatment.Here is the link Chinmayi, I would be more than happy if you can post this link on your blog so that the visitors to your blog might have a chance to look in and donate.I would also be glad if you can take my friend's situation with NGO'S you are aware of in chennai and around.Thanks so much in advance.Please help! thanks again :)I have been always moved by you as a person more than as a singer.Stay the same.That's why you are liked by everyone."

Somehow, all that I can say here, if you feel like it and if you can, please do do your bit.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Thank You Note

Within minutes of having posted the one below, I got several mails sending me the MP3 version of Kajra Mohabbatwala.
I am extremely humbled for the kind gesture shown by all of you who commented / sent me the song.
That a small request from my side could elicit such a response had me thanking God for keeping me in such good stead.
Thank you once again good people. Its extremely kind of you, to say the least.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Would you please help

me get the song Kajra Mohabbatwala? I have been scouting some stores and the internet. Just not getting the song and its imperative that I do so.
If you have the song or are able to find it, please let me know.


Being a part of..

the protests of the Tamil Film Industry for the struggle (any word of the English language seems very small to describe or even be an adjective for what they are undergoing) that the Tamils in Sri Lanka are going through was unsettling. Even if someone does not want to consider the fact that the people who are suffering are ones who speak the same language as the ones in Tamilnadu, just about a few hundred kilometers away, people are dying by the lakh. How can someone not feel the angst?
If you had watched, say Life is beautiful or Blood Diamond, the heaviness lingers long our hearts long after we come out of the theater, for just the picturization of what the people have suffered. Several people I know, stopped buying diamonds after watching Blood Diamond. Quite some time ago, while I was in school, there were people who came to inform us about the child labour in Sivakasi, right before Deepavali when I was in 6th Std. And after that, most of us quit buying crackers. Somehow, maybe it makes sense to say "catch them young" because the habit broke there. Just because it is a "shastram" to burst crackers, we buy just a pack of sparklers to burn off, and that one pack is split over Deepavali and Karthikai.
To listen to the spirited way the artistes spoke at the protest was extremely tough, because I cannot stomach a lot of things and to break down emotionally can be embarrassing for me. Everyone would say it is a publicity stunt. So I started to count. Multiply weird. And keep my emotions private and hold on until I got to the confines of my own home.
I belong to Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram. And have often heard several stories of the refugees landing up there. There was a time that Mom wanted to do something for them, go and meet them. They are people. But then, what can two women do? And fear of a lot of other things as well.
We have this gut-wrenching heart-wringing feeling when you hear/read about the suffering people are going through. There is something beyond politics, beyond borders, beyond a lot of things, that which is to just be a human being. To just identify and realize within yourself that it hurts to see someone suffer. This Deepavali was dismal to say the least. India and Sri Lanka are half an hour away by air. One end of this half hour, there would be fireworks up in the air, symbols of joy, while on the other end there are missiles, the symbols of destruction and despair. Half an hour and an ocean to make a huge difference. There was nothing to celebrate this Deepavali. And we did not.
As long as the Tamil Film Industry is concerned, it is common knowledge that this is a melting pot of people from all over India. And this is where you would find a Kannadiga, a Telugu, a Malayali, a Maharashtrian, everyone protesting for the cause of the Tamils suffering in Sri Lanka.
I was there at the protest and I was not allowed to leave before speaking... I was sure I did not want to speak, there were highly respected people on stage and I was probably the youngest there. I didn't think it was my place to speak at such an august assembly. I said so and just sang Oru Deivam Thanda Poove (at the behest of Sri Ramesh Kanna). In retrospect, as I descended the stairs that led up down the dais, I thought I should have sung Vellai Pookkal instead.
This is wishing for the chirp of beautiful birds, the zing of dewy air, misty mornings, beautiful lovely evenings, calm sleepy nights, magic of nature, happy faces, joy, happiness, brotherhood and above all, eternal peace for my brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles in Sri Lanka. Our prayers, personal regards and sentiments are with them.

Pepsi MTV Youth Icon

Happened to browse in General and landed up here. And found that three people from Chennai are nominated for the Youth Icon awards this year. Blaaze anna :), G V Prakash and the Evam Theatre group. Of course correct me if there are more from Chennai, just happened to speed read the nominees.
Reading through the list of all the nominees and what they have done gives me a lot of hope that change is happening surely, I didn't want to precede that with a "slowly" as the adage goes, since it seems to be at a more rapid pace now.
The young blood of India is definitely making sure that change happens, mindsets change and things are maybe changed from the grassroots to the upper echelons of the society. To read through this first thing in the morning is quite a jumpstart to a day and dares me to dream.
Yes, to vote go here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Never really blogged about movies but Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi and Sorry Bhai are two movies that I am looking forward to. Random surfing today led me to read about these two movies. I have been a fan of Sonu Sood for a pretty long time and I really liked him in Jodha Akbar too. That he is the lead in Ek Vivaah.. is nice. The synoposis of both movies read great. Would be nice if they turn out to be good time-investment.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Hindu November Fest Concerts

At Music Academy and this time I would be performing with Srinivas sir, Anuradha Sriram and Naresh Iyer. We are slated to be singing Old Hindi melodies.

If you'd like to purchase tickets for the Fest, you can do so here.