Sunday, August 29, 2010

More often than not, while doing the things that I do, meeting the people that I meet and facing times and circumstances that I face, I think back on the time of the cliched age of innocence. 
Happiness at a time meant owning a Pilot microtip pen. Or to own a Sheaffer. Going to the teacher with the monthly test/exam asking for a 're-total' or ask for an extra mark and feel proud to get 47 and 1/2. (on 50) Where 1/2 was written like a 1 and a stylized E in red. A so-called fashion show, where someone would be crowned Miss 6A. With other classmates for judges. Of 'crowns' made of pink cardboard and sequins. Of referring to glitter as 'jigina'. Of being caught by the Physics teacher on "WHY DID YOU HAVE A  MISS 6A CONTEST??"
Of watching the faces of the top three rank holders in class figure who trounced the other by a fraction of a quarter mark. And then the utter surprise on their faces to find an underdog. Of crushes and I LOVE YOU greeting cards when, I wonder if people even understood what all that meant. Of unfortunately watching a boy who gave a so-called card, getting thrashed by the Mathematics teacher.
I happened to think about the Pilot pen and the Geometry box and everything else a couple of days ago and read a lovely post by one of my friends on similar lines. 
I wonder if as children, we had something called an Ego. If we bothered about who had the last word. Where the biggest disappointment would probably be not having your parent come home in time, or get to see you favorite TV Show, or maybe get fever before a game or something, but be deliriously happy if it had to be about missing an exam. I was a weird kid though. I remember my mother telling me that they (my grandmom and I ) used to be scared to tell me that Saturday and Sunday meant no school. Heard I used to bawl that there was no school. I finished an entire year's work book in a day and got slapped by the teacher for that. And then my mother asking the teacher not to beat me if I finished books like that, (because she was in a dilemma wondering what to do for an entire year) and that she would supply more if needed.
Happiness was also going to school on a rained out day. Being one of the very few kids in class. I don't wax eloquently about college because I personally had decided no college in Chennai was going to let me go without harping on the attendance and to me music was more important than marking attendances. Hence it was Madras Univ for me.
In retrospect, its funny how the word "partiality" was some sort of a buzz word during school. Getting my LadyBird bicycle. Pink and all. The only thing I remember which was pink in my entire stuff of things that I had. I could not bear the mauve version that they had. Pink was the only other option that I had. The basket and all that. Buying milk from a vending booth. Calm. Quiet.
Would we be happier if we remembered to remain the children that we were? 
Why did so many of us grow up in ways we should not have. Wonder if it is growing up at all. In a lot of cases, we have grown down. Shrunk our horizons. Love less. Accept less. Listen even less. 
With so much noise, within and without, who is even bothered about listening. Whether it is listening to oneself or listening to someone else? 
For once I do not have a wish to end this post with. 
As an afterthought, maybe I do. 
I wish for you that you can play out the memories that give you a sense of poignancy, a yearning for a time that is gone, even if it is only for a little while, something that leaves your throat a little constricted and your heart a little heavy, in your mind's eye. Something that leaves you with a watery smile. And then of course all our everythingness and nothingness will take over. As it usually does.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last day on Chhote Ustaad today

I am signing off this show for the last time today.  I loved being a part of it and more than anything else, nothing could have been better for me to finally see Asha Ji and then say thank you :) It was even more awesome to interact with Sonu ji and Raahat ji, not to mention Omi (who I hope will also find his way into Tamil films).

It was lovely working with the team and my thanks go to Saibaba Telefilms and Gaj-ji who believed that a Tamil girl could be on a Hindi channel. More lovely to listen to the children while I was there. It requires guts to have an India-Pakistan show with so many challenges happening, which I am sure you would know of. And kudos to Star Plus and Saibaba for that. My sincere thanks to Hemant ji, Santhosh ji, Faizaan, Bani-ji, and Meena for their time with me and their belief. Also to the god-awesome stylist, goes without saying that whoever watched the show loved my clothes and we finally have a stylist that I love to work with.

My thanks also go to the ladies and gentlemen that I interacted with in the short stint.  

Huge thanks go particularly to the entire gamut of the South Indian audience in North India for their support and love. Thank you for your love and I will be a more worthy singer and performer in the years to come.

In this particular post, I am not allowing comments and neither answer any questions that you might have because there are times in life that we cannot give the answers that are solicited. 

To you all, much love and when you are given an opportunity and there is someone to have the faith in you to take you to a territory that you did not think you could enter, do so. And take that leap of faith. May you have new experiences, newer territories to conquer and lovely times in addition to some difficult times. It makes the win all the more worth it :)

P.S.: Was quite looking forward to the kids performance of Jai Ho on the show today. And strangely it was edited out. Wonder why. I guess they ran out of time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life can be pretty strange at times. To an extent when you do not know whether you are supposed to be happy or sad or maybe, both at the same time. Wondering which responsibility comes first, that of a family member or that of a professional. 
Sangeetha Maha Yuddham, Day 1 of the shoot my mother fell through a gap in the set, an area which should have been marked for safety (However expecting all that in India is futile) and had a compound fracture in her foot. For the next week until the mad schedule of 3 episodes a day was over, she kept telling me it was only a sprain and that there is nothing wrong. She came in a miniature plaster and said that is just to keep the foot stable. She did such a good job of convincing me that I did get convinced. And during the time that she was in hospital and getting all this done was when a couple of wardrobe malfunctions had happened. A lot of times, we are hurried to say, the "floor is ready" and rushed and rushed and then we hardly have the time to notice the flaws in the appearance. Any more time spent  in it and I start worrying if I become the reason for any delay. Some sort of a skewed sense of responsibility I guess. Thereafter a lot of people advised me that the anchor is the face of a show and there is a lot more responsibility in presenting myself well than  being there on the sets before everyone else. Things I still learn. Anyway it was only at the end of that schedule that I knew that mom had had that fracture and it took her two months to heal. 
Second schedule of SMY, I land here after the shoot in Mumbai, to know that my grandmother, the lady in whose care I was through my childhood, had passed away. And for all the inner battle I went through, I had to stay and shoot and look happy/energetic/laugh/dress up in makeup and jewelery and make it all look genuine Who cares, anyway, if I was sick, or my grandmother had died, or something else had happened. The dates of everyone else, the floor, the unit, the set and so much money was at stake. It was worse for my mom. And I had to be and finish the shoot and continue shooting for the next 3 days at the same maniacal pace. I could not see the face of one of the most important women in my life for the last time. But then, I guess a situation like this may not be new, even to you, the reader. If someone is representing your organization and something like this happens, I have heard of people go ahead and do the needful in the professional front and then be back. 
Now there is a strange sense of placidity within. I am, however, not questioning the meaning of it all, or what truly matters at the end of the day. All I could do was send a prayer out to my grandmom. And hope she will forgive me. 3rd day from her passing, I picked up the Filmfare. And the photographer who took my picture with the award said, "Could you please look happier? Smile more? Energy!!!!" I guess through all that some melancholy had filtered through. And no one has time or energy for your melancholy. Your battles, your issues are your own. And we have got to deal with it and walk the walk and talk the talk.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This week on Chhote Ustaad

has the legendary Asha ji as a guest Judge. It was amazing meeting her, getting to share floor space with her and I got to sing Konjam Naeram for her, when she asked me to sing a Tamil song. When I said, would they let me sing a Tamil song in a Hindi channel, she said "Chennai Hindustan mein hai". And after a little thought I sang Konjam Naeram, at the behest of Sonu ji and thereafter told the surprised audience, contestants, Sonu ji and Raahat ji that the song was sung by none other than her. I sang 4 lines and Asha ji told me to sing again. If only my costume had permitted me and if it were only possible  to do so, I would have prostrated at her feet. Just did half of it though. There was soooo much I learned from her during the few hours I spent with her.  It was a dream come true.

I was overwhelmed when I saw her. To me she signifies the epitome of versatility. There might have been various singers who attempted to sound like legendary singers or would have come down their school of thought but I am yet to come across someone who has the lahza and the andaaz of Asha ji. She is definitely inimitable. And is named the 50 iconic musicians of the world and there is a poll running here, where you can vote for whom you consider iconic.

I have heard so many people telling me here that they are envious of me being on the same show as Sonu Nigaam. He is one helluva performer, note perfect singer as has been mentioned by a few writers before, forthright and not afraid to speak what he believes is right. I respect him for the performer that he is. He taught me a few things on hosting and getting things right which I think I have mentioned in an earlier blog. He seems like a man who does not take bullcrap from anyone. Most my interactions with Sonu ji is limited to on Camera and with Rahat ji its even less. I really did not get the opportunity to speak to him much. Schedules are such that it does not give anyone the time for talking and whatever extra time I have, I utilize it to rehearse with Omi. 

I wish, also for selfish reasons as for the kids, that I get to see more legendary musicians on the show. 

Do watch the Independence day special of Chhote Ustaad this weekend.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Featured in Rising India - Culturama Magazine

Have been featured in Culturama in the Rising India story for Music. After a while I wasn't asked the usual questions. Thanks Poonam!

My first Filmfare

I won on Saturday. For Varayo Varayo and right after I flew to Mumbai. Have had a sleepless couple of weeks now and couldn't find the time to blog about it, though I did tweet the news. 
I walked into the ceremony found my seat and right after that my award was announced. Was good timing I thought that day or would have missed receiving it. 
I also did not think I would get to win the Filmfare this time after being nominated before. Nevertheless it was really wonderful to get the award. Varayo's 4th award this year so far and all credit goes to Harris sir.