Of all the things I have achieved in life, two talents have always ignored me. They are- music and sports.
Of sports, I have nothing much to write home about. Some 20 runs scored in about the same number of matches in school and that too with the help of a runner plus a freak goal hit because my leg was fortunate to be in that point best summarises my 'achievements' in sports. I am not disappointed about it though, neither were my parents because they did not have not worry about soiled uniforms, late evenings cricket and bruises.
But it is my weakness in music that makes me really feel ashamed. I have never learnt music from teachers, neither have I learnt any musical instrument. In public gatherings, I have always felt like a dumbo because of this. There are some mischief makers who announce unilaterally that Mr X or Ms Y is going to sing a song. All is well until X=Karthik! I have tried to make my best efforts to sing a Tamil Song ( whose lyrics I have specially byhearted for this purpose) but all I get is some sympathetic claps. I am dead sure that those claps were intented to make me stop singing rather than as a token of appreciation.Whenever I see Musical Talent shows on TV, I become very sad. They sing songs so melodiously and whenever the comperer wants them to change the pallavi/shruti, they do so effortlessly. Quite frankly, I have never been able to judge the difference between them because I dont know any Shruti/Pallavi. But apparently, they do a good job because their performance is applauded.
I have always had high regards for people who learn classical music and those who sing well. Somehow, I never thought of studying music. My interest in music is solely confined to film songs. Anyday, I would prefer to hear a film song to sa-ri-ga-ma kind of songs. Connosieurs of classical music might consider me as an offender, but I am also helpless. I dont know whether people interested in classical music concerts are truly interested or they are just showing off just to prove that they have refined interests. It is truly amazing to see them appreciate those concerts and percussions.
Its not that I have not made any effort. I tried listening to Unnikrishnan, Balu Murali Krishna etc. But somehow, the best of Unnikrishnan for me has been a Tamil Song- ennavale- from a film called Kadhalan. Even in Malayalam, though I like to hear Yesudas, I would prefer a song called Lajjavathiyae sang by one singer called Jassie Gift.
Same applies to my tryst with musical Instruments. Only one which I played in my life is the plastic trumpet(I like to called it pi-pi) which I used to purchase from temple fairs. Initially, I never knew that there is some membrane at the mouth-end which is giving the music. I felt triumphant thinking that I am making that music.
However, the gratifying thing is that I am not alone with this problem. The popularity of AR Rahman, Himesh Reshamiyya, Gana Ulaganthan and Jassie Gift proves my point. That the country sways more to Woh lamhe than Tansen's songs is a testimony to the fact that music-interests are changing. Though I am not sure, I get a feeling that even in foreign countries, there would be more fans for Britney Spears than say, Zubin Mehta.I have always felt that music should be for the masses. However much you have put effort into a song, as long as you are insisting that you will sing it only in sabhas and look down upon others as street-singers, you are never a true musician. The life purpose of a singer should be to spread music, not confine it only to a class of knowledgable people.
Thats precisely why I like Himesh Reshammiyya. He is not a good singer. Maybe he never knows any Raga name. But still he is famous. Because he understands what people want. He proves that music is for everyone. In my terms, he is a better musician than closed-doors classical concert singers.
They say that Music is God's gift to only some people. For people like me who have not got that gift, not to worry at all. Man aleways overcomes sortcomings and evolves. And through this evolutionary process, emerges Dan-ga-naka-danga-naka-- kinds of songs.