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Music, Nostalgia and New York

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MusicThe song ‘New York Nagaram’ from the recently released Tamil film ‘Jillundru Oru Kaadhal’ starring real-life couple Surya and Jothika is currently producing waves of emotion in me every time I listen to it (and my daughter complains that it is enough times in a day!). It is as if AR Rahman’s oddly assymmetrical song, with its clarinet interludes, whispered feminine chorus, and Rahman’s particularly evocative voice, is touching deep reaches of my soul without my being able to understand it!

For of course, the truth is that because I was born far from Chennai and had already completed my education before I came here, I have only a spoken knowledge of Tamil. The beautiful nuances of thought and emotion that I presume this song contains, are out of my immediate understanding. And yet, the song brings up pictures of the nearly twenty three years I have spent here - the largest chunk of my life. I can well imagine what Tamilians in distant New York must be thinking when they receive an audio or visual reminder of ‘home’. Music has the ability to conjure emotion like little else, and tunes that make one think of people and places one has known and loved are very special indeed.

So why should I be experiencing nostalgia for Chennai, when I still live here?  

The answer is what many of us living in this country of so many different languages and cultures, or this world of so many different locations and climates, know first hand. Of course, we can adjust to life anywhere, and get used to the rhythm of any new place. But every time we are displaced, what we think of as ‘home’ begins to acquire a fictional, fantastic shape in our minds. For so many years, as a permanent resident of Chennai, I have experienced deep pangs of nostalgia for everything connected to my former ‘Hindikaran’ or North Indian status. From Bhelpuri to Urdu shairi, from kajri, thumri and dadra to Bollywood ditties, I have felt very far from the influences I grew up with. Recently, at a Farida Khanum concert in the city, I felt this cultural isolation very strongly. Although I was surrounded by friends and people I knew, there were none who appreciated the language of ghazals, or any who could hum along with me to the ones I was familiar with. 

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Love being Single? Think Again

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Love being singleA lot of my friends prefer to be single, even the married ones let out a nostlagic sigh recalling the times when they were not bonded! Sometimes, they needed the gentle reminder on why they chose to marry in the first place…some would get lost in deep thought, while others remark…”Well, I needed someone to go home to”.

That is the key statement. A recent CNN IBN’s Living it up show did a survey on how young working professionals spent their after work hours. Most of them, the show discovered, do not like going back to an empty house, with most living alone in the cities they work.

They head to some happy partying at the popular pubs and head home in the late hours of the night, hitting bed long past the healthy bedtime hour. The partying which is expected to be a stress buster actually creates havoc when it becomes habitual and addictive, affecting sleeping patterns and eventually productivity and focus. The happiness and the relaxation is temporary and can have adverse effects in the long run, is the finding of the survey.

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10 Things Men Never Want Their Women To Say

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Gender differencesThere are certain things a man never wants to hear from his lady. “Let’s go shopping” is one of them, as those words usually herald a whole afternoon wasted near the women’s fitting rooms. “You’re acting like your father” is another, much harsher statement. Even worse, “You’re acting like my father”… that one just hurts.

Below, however, are the most fearsome, most harrowing combination of words a female can utter.

I’ve been thinking: If she actually tells you she’s been thinking, it’s serious. And you can bet it can involve marriage or engagement, or the bitter end, which means she is moving on. Queries like: “Why do you love me?” and “Have you ever thought about the future?” etc. leave a man in a tight spot. If you are not in the stage of taking a realistic decision then, have a brilliant exit plan at hand, a severed finger, for instance. If you think that you are prepared to get into a relationship, then its time to make the commitment.

Be a man: No man would like to hear this for sure. Nothing is quite as injurious as having your very manhood questioned. You could give in to her tactics and do what she wants, or deflect it back by saying, “How about you be a woman and quit nagging though that would be ironical?” might fetch some stone cold silence, which some men prefer instead of an outpour of questions.

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Rules for Rage? You bet!

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communication It may seem weird but the truth is that the same rules apply to good communication when one is not angry, as apply to communication when one is angry! This means that politeness, consideration, sincerity and speaking the truth are important on both occasions. But how is one to remember this when one is in a raging temper - that too at something a partner has done? Can love survive this sense of complete exasperation with the behaviour, approach or habits of another?

Well, it depends…depends completely on how you have expressed yourself in the midst of a flaming row. Words are truly the most hurtful things invented - they can be embedded in the soft flesh of your brain and never get obliterated even by the most pleasant memories. And when they are accompanied by a set jaw, angry stare, flared nostrils - all the body language that conveys extreme fury, the effect is even more indelible. If ever there was a fit case for anger management, it is within an intimate relationship.

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