Madhumathiye: When my voice spoke to me

I heard this song from the movie Sakhavu months before it got its final form – and right then, I knew that this was going to be a challenging, but heartfelt song that savors a simple, timeless love story.

What I did not know, was that I had 7 lines to depict all those emotions in. 7 beautiful lines, penned by the brilliant Shabareesh – the lyricist behind the warm and embracing album – Anuraga Karikkin Vellam.

7 lines to depict the elation, the deep admiration and the unbreakable promise that a young revolutionary woman made to her husband, the leader of the revolution.

This was to be the song that, if you looked deep inside, beyond the struggle, the determination, the patriotism, you would find at the bottom of her heart.

And so, I considered this song to be another incredible opportunity to express – little did I know that it would also stir a realization within me.

This song was to be more challenging, because my dear brother wasn’t going to be there to record me. So, of course, there wouldn’t be retakes in 10 different styles, and I wouldn’t know which ones would sound good to his ears.

The first recording was thus, a very nervous and overwhelmed attempt – and my friend and chocolate flavour-enthusiast Shreekumar was the live navigation system for the session. And Prashun was there to remind me to breathe and smile.

We recorded for about 5 hours – with a lunch break and some soul-searching debate around the studio’s snooker table.

Through that session, I learnt that this was something more than a melodious song – it needed more vibrance than that. And a wider vocal range.

But well, as it turned out, it did not fit in with the vision my brother had for this song. And realizing that I probably needed his supervision, he asked if I wanted to come to Kochi to do the re-recording with him.

And there it was – the tough decision. Should I give in to this need for comfort? Or should I go ahead and risk it again, do it without him around?

I stayed and took the risk. A few days later, I was back at the studio, and this time, my recordist was Rahul, the same guy who recorded me for Poyi Maranjo. We had quite a laugh at that time, but that story is for another blog post! This time, it was him and me, no Shreekumar, no Prashun, no Kannetan around.

The session began – and I gave in to my instinctive melody, picturing the love story in my head the whole time. The 7 lines were recorded time and again, since I was my own critic there.

When the lines went higher, my voice spoke to me. Breathe, it said. Don’t be conscious of the note, be conscious of the words and their meaning. Don’t focus on the result of this recording, just let it out and sing!

We recorded for about 2 hours, and at the end, I was really hoping this had worked.

And, as it turns out, it did!

My voice had spoken to me in this song: it had told me secretly to explore my voice more, to forgive myself for all the songs that I won’t end up singing because they are too high or too low, to focus on building with what I have. To spend more time realizing the depths my own craft. And to take a step out of the comforting sun and test the rains for a little while.

This exceptionally beautiful song comes with one great lesson – that vulnerabililty and struggle is not be feared, but to be embraced, and eventually, something beautiful and self-affirming comes out of it! Much like the story that this song depicts. Thank you, Shabareesh, Shreekumar, Prashun, Rahul, Praful and Kannoto for getting those beautiful lines out of me!

And hope all of you, my listeners, enjoy the song!

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Have you met this friend yet?

The whole world, dear, just maybe your friend,
so don’t try too hard, don’t pretend,
don’t be afraid of every stranger…
not every darkness must mean danger…

Don’t be afraid to feel satisfied,
it’s alright to want just enough…
having a lot doesn’t always feel better…
unless it’s a lot of love…

Why walk on streets like you might be attacked?
Why hold a straight face? Why not smile back?
Why feel obliged to conform and agree,
when speaking your mind is what sets you free…

Don’t draw back the hand that your heart wants to lend…
For the whole world, dear, just maybe your friend…

We’re all here to wander, then why compete?
Why weigh ambition, why trap it in concrete?
Know that it’s ok to give up the climb,
And your heart’ll know where to land when it’s time…

Share while you can share, mend while you can mend,
Then the whole world, dear, just maybe your friend…

Be surrounded by things you love,
Or feel surrounded by things you fear,

And if love is what you fear, if you brace your dear heart,
Let it slip away, surprise you, lead you to embark…

On a love that is so clear, you don’t see an end,
Then the whole world, dear, walks with you, as your friend…

What I learnt about Love from Maya Angelou

Giving unconditionally.

Knowing that we are all the children of God, beyond age, race or creed.

Protecting, but liberating from protection.

Nurturing, but also a offering a free mould from the nurturing.

Not judging nor classifying as deserving or undeserving.

Not expecting it to be returned.

Forgiving, and accepting completely of having forgiven.

Love is: I love you if you are in the next room, I love you if you are in China, I love you if you are on a different hemisphere. And I’d love you even if you weren’t around anymore.

Love is: I love you for the soul that you are, that cannot be touched, only experienced. I’d love you even if you were a janitor.

Love is: I love you and what you have done to me doesn’t change that. I have forgiven you, and you shouldn’t feel indebted, you should feel loved.

Love is: I raised you, and I did it with more love than sense of duty. I’d like to fiercely protect you and treat you as my responsibility till I die, and I’d like to see you happy and hear you say I did good things for you always. But when you must go, and you ought to, because it is a beautiful world for you to explore, and your explorations will be unique and different from mine. I want you to be happy, and find your own happiness. And you can always come home. I love you. Go.

Love is: I love the human form you gave me, and everything else you gave me ever since. You steered through tough times and made sacrifices, many of which I wasn’t even aware of it. And you taught me that all I want I must work to get. There are still a lot of things to find, a lot of truths to seek. I will find them, but never impose them on you, or try to change you. Because I love you and how you liberated me. And you shall never be forgotten. And your life shall truly be your message. And your child shall be a blessing to the world.

Love is: I love my spirit, and I embrace the mind and body it came with. I love how close I am to the universe, and I can make choices in life every day. I love every bit of my life, and every moment, and every face, and every colour and landscape I see. Because I am empty of everything. But love.

One at a time

Can we really live life one day at a time?

 

Or do we spend life one day after another?

 

Can a singer live life one song at a time?

Can he find that one song inside him, and not deviate until he has brought it out into the world? Then soon, he’ll find another song…

 

Can a writer live life one story at a time?

Can he refrain from putting his imagination and effort to rest until he’s written that one story he’s been wanting to write? Then soon, he’ll find another story….

 

Can a Continue reading “One at a time”

The Eat Analogy

Did you eat yesterday? You did, right? Good.

And will you eat tomorrow? You will, I’m sure.

But does the fact that you ate yesterday, and the belief that you will eat tomorrow, keep you from eating today? Are you going to stay hungry and think ‘Nah. I won’t eat today. I’ll finish of the other stuff I need to do. I can eat today’s share tomorrow. And besides, just reminding myself of what I had for lunch yesterday makes me feel full.’

That’s dumb. You want to do it today. You know you have to do it today. And the thought of yesterday or the thought of tomorrow is not going to keep you from doing it today.

I’m sure we all have decided, even if loosely, the things that are important to us. Think of them as eating. Build that analogy in your mind.

And the next time you’re having a meal, you’ll be reminded of that important thing. And it’ll push you to do it.

 

So, have you eaten today?

Die today

People who know they’re going to die soon, are people with some of the craziest, busiest, happiest lives.

They have every reason to be that: they could, after all, die unhappy of a wasted minute.

They’re so busy doing things they wanted to, saying things they wanted to, making trips and learning music and searching for long lost friends, that they don’t realize how much they’ve lived in their few counted days.

What’s sad is people who are still in the dark about their deadline. People who live with the belief that they have a long life to plan for, to secure, to fear for.

And in the process, forget to make trips, to learn music, and keep in touch with long lost friends. And forget, that they might never be lucky enough to know their deadline in advance.

And when it comes, we would die unhappy of unthinkably too many wasted minutes.