In the midst of one’s busy life, starting from education to professional and personal life till retirement, a man always nurtures in his heart some Chinna China Aasais (small desires). Somehow he does not find time to fulfill them till late in his life. Strangely, these so called “small desires” are a mix of very easy to achieve things (eating mulagai bajji while sailing in a boat) to almost impossible ones (travel in a space ship or meet the US President).
I think that my list of small desires fall closer to the easier ones.
I am well past the retirement age, but for some strange reasons, still working. But a few years back, I decided to address some of my small desires, which include:
a) Taking up and completing a MA course in Tamil literature through correspondence
b) Start writing articles in newspapers and magazines
c) Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon
d) Watch a cricket match at Lords
e) Watch the animal migration at Masai mara, in Africa
f) Become literate in Kannada, learn to speak in Telugu and Malayalam
g) Sing Tamil, Hindi and English songs
I am yet to start on my MA course in Tamil, reading Kannada and speaking Telugu and Malyalam, but I must say that I have shown some progress in the other areas.
Thanks to Babu (SVL Narayan), I started contributing to TSR from last year.
Although I could not watch matches at Wimbledon and Lords, we took a tour of both the places, when we travelled to London last year.
Some years back the three co-brothers (COBRAs) of our family travelled to Nairobi, where the fourth COBRA lives; we saw plenty of animal life. Especially the night Safari was a great experience, with four of us standing and travelling in an open jeep in the deep jungles and looking out for a Rhino (remember – the movie Hatari).
Like everyone I am a great bathroom singer, but never graduated beyond that. During our family get together, we COBRAs generally become boisterous and start singing together. The senior COBRA Raja will usually start by singing (from Chandraleka) – “Padade, Un paattai kettu pulikuttidan payandidum [do not sing, the tiger’s cub will get frightened hearing your song]” and we will follow suit with songs from Maya bazaar, Karnan, Pava mannippu, etc. This kind of group singing is generally called – ‘Gumbale Govinda”, where one can easily get away even if he does not know a tune or line.
I wanted to do better than that.
Talking about singing, it is my conviction that every person has a deeply ingrained desire to sing, next only to speaking, but fails to develop it beyond bathroom singing. Singing promotes a release and expression of the self. Music and singing invoke the expression of emotion which can be a tremendous release and healing for both singer and listener.
So I decided to make a start. The first choice was to find a music teacher and learn music in a conventional way. This never happened. A month back I suddenly discovered “Karaoke” singing through on-line. First was one of excitement, but soon it was replaced with disappointment. I had all the problems of a novice singer – straining to hit high notes, bad tonal quality, breaking into falsetto, breathing difficulties and trouble with staying in tune.
I googled and got many results how to train my voice.
I was told to keep my vocal folds well-lubricated by drinking plenty of water. So I promptly drank many glasses of water; the result – my voice retained the same old rustic tone, but I was visiting the toilet more often during my singing practice. I was told to breathe silently to activate my breath support muscles and reduce neck tension. I tried such breathing exercises, but I could hardly found any improvement.
Then one fine morning it suddenly dawned on me that I should just go ahead and start singing. I began by carefully choosing my songs which do not strain ones voice and also easy to sing. I managed to record it with my mobile phone, and then convert the video file into an audio file. When I heard my first song it was somewhat disappointing. After the second attempt, I thought I sounded a little better.
I became suddenly adventurous by porting my song in “Sound Cloud”, (an audio equivalent of You tube); what more I configured it for public listening. This casual hobby of mine later became somewhat serious and I started recording two songs per day and so far I have a collection of 23 songs on my cloud library.
None of family members have heard my singing so far, but I was thrilled when someone from Australia and my friend KG complemented my singing style of “Bambarakannale”.
Truly, I am on Cloud nine.