The World of Music and My Identity | A Take

Flight of the Dreaming Bird Crossing the Universe and Beyond

Chahoon bhi toh main kaise kahoon from the Movie Force. Sung by Karthik and Bombay Jayashree. Lyrics by Javed Akthar

The loop song is the above one, I love this song a lot for the lyrics first, then Bombay Jayashree mam has done wonders with the song, of course the musical arrangement was soft and soothing. Now this song has the right element for me to work on the piece, while keeping my unruly right brain occupied with the song. So, this leaves my left brain to work in peace.

When Words Drive Narratives

Sometimes, the lyrics of a song would set my mind to function in a specific way. I experiment with my Creative Non-Fiction pieces based on various songs. But then, I have my quirks. Before writing, I would sit and go through my entire playlist to know which song I resonate to on the specific day. Or I would have specific topic in mind to write then, I would decide between upbeat and slow song to play which will go well with my project of the day!  

I generally pick Hindi songs, a mix of old and new songs. About a couple of weeks back I was experimenting with my writing while listening to BTS Dynamite. Mind you, it was quiet a fun activity. I look out for some softer tones in a song, since that will take charge of my unruly creative right hemisphere. My logical left will get into action and start writing.

My left hemisphere of the brain is much more disciplined, while my right brain can play hooky endlessly and be totally irresponsible. One of my hardship was to make my right brain to settle down and be busy while the left could spend the time to complete the assigned task.

I had such a hard time during my Masters in US. Every professor would assign a task at the end of the lecture session or workshop day. Each week I would have five assignments to work on and write my own collection of creative writing. I would have taken five courses and each one had a weekly submission of my work or connected with the class lecture.

I would be such a lazy bone about working on those tasks. So, I would grab my right brain by its scurff, shake it a little, and would get down to business. But then, I could still not force my right brain to function creatively for me. So, I had to trick it. That is when I started listening to music while writing or doing any task at home or at work.  

I hate to do the dishes, to fold clothes, but then, if you pair it up with music. Voilà! I would happily finish it without complaining or procrastinating. That is the power of music in my life. It has almost covered most part of my life.

One thing that I really learned well in US was to use music for all tasks and watch the result detached after it is done. It isn’t any better, but I got out the rough draft at least! There was something that I can work on, instead of a blank page. You can do nothing with an empty page.

High School Days Experience with Music

Music was a reward system since the TV was off limits for me at home when I was a high school student. My younger sister was studying for her board exam and I did not like to watch the shows without her. Of course, we begged and got one slot to watch in the TV which my sister and I carefully chose the series Remington Steele after sampling the shows. It was at 8 pm and we clubbed our dinner time also. Both of us had decided to watch together that show alone and sometimes even took some time from our study time, to talk about the way the case was solved.

But then, we did not mind that TV was off limit for us. Since I can play the radio and cassette player in my music system which was in the bedroom. I would sit on the floor and the bed used to be my table. Of course, my butt needed the pillow which meant that I spread the straw mat on the floor.

So, it was a setup to be a backup for my butt while being near the music system to operate the changing of the sides of the cassette once it is done. Mummyji generally felt that I need to focus on studies and not music. So, I would focus and study then, later I would reward myself with music playlist programs.

Post College and Music

It seemed that I was always in between jobs. I never lasted in a job beyond three months period. I tried working in innumerable places; always my unruly right brain would decide to leave the job. Left brain had to take the brunt of willfulness of the right brain.

During this period when Mom had gone to US to help my brother and sister-in-law, Dad and I had setup camp in my style. I was in-charge of the house. I had to make sure the home was run ship shape for both. This meant all tasks such as household chores and management, these all got naturally assigned to me. So, I learned to do dishes, wash clothes in the washing Machine, since there was no dryer attached, clothes were hung on lines on the terrace under summer sun.

I learned basic cooking the hard way, cut, burnt, and watched dishes go up in high heat, well output was ebony charcoals! (lol!) Somewhere around that time, I started to get frightened of the kitchen. But somehow, I managed it, just like my other fears. It happened in slow process, I kept quiet and did not talk about it to anyone. I used to cook few dishes, but I put my foot down about rolling the fulkas. So, papaji agreed to roll them, while rest of the dishes were my responsibility. I made simple single side-dish, rice, fulkas, and on some days a fancy salad with limey zest!

After lunch is done and the dishes are stored away in smaller container for putting them away for the dinner, table cleaned sparkly clean, and everything for washing shifted to the sink. The vessels were organized in such a way, so that, they were all well soaked and easy for me to wash later at 4 pm tea-time.

After this I had one and half an hour to myself and I would settle down to listen to the songs of the movies ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai‘ and ‘Dil To Pagal Hai‘ since the cassette was two movies in one. While listening to the songs in loop, I filled up my journal with what I felt and thought. If lucky some days I wrote poems too. Hoorah! Jackpot!

This became a routine, and I ran this for a duration of six months until Lataji began to sound like she was whimpering the songs. But once amma returned, I was reassigned tea-making task and my roles were down graded. I learned something in these experiences, since she left more than once for six months.

Once both of them had gone on a visit and I was at my father’s second younger brother’s or chittappa and chitti’s house and I filled up the entire year’s diary pages under the six months.

The fact that reward system worked when the brain is tricked into compliance. Later, I would use it with my Singapore experience too. But then, the few mistakes in the missing role of music resulted in such disaster, which was a learning lesson for me in reflection.  

Master’s Semesters in Bartlett, Mission, SFO!

Getting a Master’s was incidental, since I spent, the three plus years, licking my hurt emotional heart. I was slowly healing and gaining confidence in myself after my life’s major obvious failures. In my social circle, which rejected me, now there was nothing left of me to improve or to prove to anyone. I became free in a way! No one knew me in US and I happy to be my lone self. I had to pick myself from that point and find myself again, the toughest years of my life were from 2007 to 2012.

By the beginning of 2012, I had rebuilt my identity from scratch. When I returned in 2012 December to Chennai my home ground, I was set to take charge of my life. I felt there was purpose in life and that is how I used music extensively while writing, folding clothes or doing any chores at home and at work. I cannot run my playlist since my parents in their adage preferred peaceful songs. Anyway, I got a headphone to solve the issue.

Boat Stone 170 Portable Wireless Speaker | Romance at its best!

Around 2017, I got a lot of gadgets for my personal needs. I needed a speaker away from my laptop. So now, I can carry it within the space allowed by the wireless reach. I got Boat Stone 170 wireless speaker and music was everywhere I wanted. I linked up my cellphone playlist and setup the Bluetooth link and was set with my playlist playing on loop.

From the time I wake up to the time I shut down my day, music plays non-stop sometimes in loop or in a playlist. If I am working then, I pick my song based on my preference for the day like the above song from the movie Force.

Of course, the Tamil equivalent song is worth listening to; but then, the language will stop me from working. Hindi is my father language, it cannot disturb me. Of course there have been days when the lyrics will get in the way on those days no work will happen! Welcome to my world. But Tamil songs will stop me most definitely and hold my attention since mother-tongue always rules the heart.