Thursday, January 19, 2012


A learned, wise man once told me to dedicate everything I do and every note I sing to the Goddess Saraswati. For me, it is actually difficult to imagine the form of any one God/Goddess when I think of the creator. More often than not my God is formless. Yes I love many of the rituals and practices associated with my culture that has been passed down to me by my family, question some, but over all I am happy for the cultural identity that I have. 

Once when I went back to this gentleman and was telling him about a struggle that I was going through, he said only one thing. Dedicate it all to the Goddess. She shall watch over you and though Saraswati might come across as a calm, peaceful Goddess, Saraswati would actually dance the dance of destruction on the ego of the one that causes the pain on her devotee. This of course stands true in the case of the devotee as well.

As they say a lot of this wisdom I have heard from mom but when it comes to me again from a different soul, its is reaffirmation and a case of dejavu. And of course, the "why didn't I practice this when mom told me a long while ago"?

On the previous post, I happened to ask that question to know what general opinion is like. At least as a dipstick opinion poll, if you may. There are some people who say no celebrity can exist if there are no fans. I had always honestly wondered what that means. In my humble opinion, a fanboy is someone who perhaps, religiously follows an artiste's work and more often even blind to any inconsistencies and worships the artiste. In our culture, especially in south India, this is not an unknown concept where the fan doesn't merely stick pictures of his favorite actor in his room, or the wallpaper/screensaver on his mobile device, watch the movies (at theaters mostly). But he is also the guy who will stick his body with a million needles and walk on fire if his favorite actor's health fails. Eat food from the bare ground. Get coconuts broken on his head. And we all know about all this. Of course this isn't the definition of a fan. There are definitely others who admire their favorite stars' work in a more peaceful fashion. But to me the ultimate fan was the kind who I saw everytime a Superstar film released. I thought it was stuff of legends until TV Channels showed it. And of course when he was going through a rough patch with his health, the kind of prayers and everything else was amazing. Of course, beyond south India, the actors of the North say no one gets the sort of adulation that stars in the south get. I am drifting, but coming back...

I was also told that it is my business to learn to sing, keep learning, singing and go about on related work. Everything - awards, praise, encomiums are all incidental. The only thing that will last is the art. I will only be a practitioner who will also eventually be lost in the sands of time or become the drop in the ocean. 

To me, I shall humbly state that (in my case) only the sadhaka or the practice of music exists. Only music exists. Criticism, praise, compliments, fans, awards, money is all incidental. And one day I shall also cease to exist and become a statistic. That is all there is to it. 

As for criticism or taking any, my greatest critic is my mother. Each of her words in relevant situations have been like a bitter pill but she has poured it down my throat and the taste will last a lifetime. This doesn't mean I disregard any criticism from others but based on my own personal life experiences only the words of my mother ring true "Azha azha solluvakka tham manusha... sirikka sirikka pesumaam ooru". As of now, my mother is the truest genuinest well-wisher.

Her words are honestly for my own good, my improvement and evolution as an artiste, musician, a woman, a human being. She wouldn't hestitate to slap me across the face to drive a point if there were ever a day that it had to come to that. To her I am Chinmayi, her daughter and perennially, a student. To the world, I can be anyone. Based on individual and various perceptions. I can be held responsible for what I do, but I can't be held responsible for what someone thinks of me. They are responsible for their acts/opinions.

To some I might come across as someone who doesn't accept views, but to this day every comment on this blog is co-vetted by my mother. I know a lot of people get very uncomfortable with this fact. But in the Indian culture there is nothing wrong in this. I love this in the culture in my home. For those who have not been able to have this sort of a comfortable equation with their family/parents, yup, it will be difficult to digest. Hey, I have a great mom who is a friend. Many allow access of their personal accounts to friends, but don't trust family or parents in particular in some cases. It is sad. The family is usually the last to know about an issue. Friends are the first to know. Of course everyone's family set up is different so I shall abstain from commenting further. As I myself have said before, the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.

Today there are more people who are envious of me that I have such a strong and capable mother as Mrs Padmhasini than for whatever meagre talent that I have. 

I thank those who are kind enough to wish well for me. I thank those who criticize with genuine intent. I thank those who only wish ill for me too, because I derive joy from equipping myself, becoming more successful and going higher. They give me the proverbial fire in the belly. Thanks to them complacency has never crept up on me. There is always some challenge around the corner and I am grateful to God for that. I am grateful for my life, the opportunities, the composers' kindness because THEY are truly the ones who have kept me surviving as a playback singer.

And as for the post on criticism below, I'd like to clarify that I - as one of the so many million voices in this country and with the right to free speech as everyone else - disagree on then those who criticize with a malice. On those who don't know what it takes for someone to bring their work of art to the public. Of course no one wants to learn or know the other man's struggle. I criticize the one who just blabs and never attempts to learn the intricacies of the piece/work he criticizes. The one who is actually feigns expertise but honestly knows nothing.  It is easy to talk. Tougher to walk the talk. Which is why in this country or, more so, in this world of so many billion people, only few are artistes. Creators. Only few have it in them to blaze new trails. Some follow them. Some criticize them. And the creators exist because God wills them to. And they'll exist despite anything and anyone. 

And with that I end this post. Thank You for reading and God bless.


Anonymous said...

Your God is not formless, after reading this i would like to say that your god is your Mother.

A teacher, A friend, A critic, A guideline,.. etc more over she is A Good Understanding and Supporting Mother. So when ever you saying about GOD your just thick about your mother. About me My GOD is My Great Mother nothing more.

Best Wishes,


Anonymous said...

Well said, wonder I have been so inspired by what you and amma do, what you both stand for.....Peace and happiness always to beautiful souls..........always a well-wisher.
Take care and God Bless, Sudhaharini.

A Fan who wanted to call you 'The Singing CEO' said...


In my opinion, I believe that if you ask most of the artists or celebrities 'Who is your biggest fan?', they would say its their mother. One's Mom would be the first and the biggest fan for anybody. And I had have heard people say that. Should we still define a fan as anonymous people or someone outside?

Rajapriyan said...

I was admired you so much but now i admire your mother more than is a great gift to have mother like your mom.In my life i have great parents..but when my dad became a teacher to me i had stopped to talk with him freely n share my problems.b'coz i could not differentiate him b/w teacher in the class room and dad in the home.I used to see him as a teacher even in home which lead us to keep a long distance..this makes me wonder whenever i see that you were still praising your mom as teacher as well as mom.I think having a teacher like parents is better than the having parents who is also a teacher.

Manivannan Vangalur S said...

Amazingly well put. among others sentences, us humans and our earthly possessions perish but
Only music exists. that sentence shall keep ringing in my head for a while.
you already know it but you are indeed blessed to have a mom like that and she is to have a daughter like you. Godspeed.

AnithaVeeravendhan said...

Pazhutha maram kalladi padum. Kallaala athai adichalum pazhatha thaan thirumba tharum.
with love,

Anonymous said...

Everyone is a creator. Its not that creators need to sing/ act or dance or receive a oscar to get accepted as one. A vegetable vendor, for example, has perfected the art of procuring and distributing vegetables to homes and hence he helps create meals. In the process he also creates a means to his own livelihood. He is as much a creator as you are. Only, both of you are in different fields but still creating things.

I can go one step ahead and say that even your detractors are actually creators and help you create (as you have acknowledged in one place in your own post), but that would be a bit bold.


Priya said...

"Today there are more people who are envious of me that I have such a strong and capable mother as Mrs Padmhasini than for whatever meagre talent that I have" - I agree to the meaning in this statement but... 'meagre talent that I have' - chinmayi madam... ithu ungalukkey konjam overa illa?? unga modesty - romba too much... You are gifted to have a mother who is very strong and with your multiple talents... I very much admire you!! I actually met you 5 years back in a 'cracker city function' where you gave a fantastic singing performance. By then, I never knew you very well. So I neither tried for autograph nor a photograph from you... now evrytime I read your blog, I am regretting sooo much :(


Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

ES: I shall beg to differ. I don't think I am thinking of or giving detractors that much importance when I am singing. :)
I am only thinking of the music and the God that I would like to get to know better.

Detractors dont help me create and I would like to think I didnt say that. They give me the fire in to keep at it even more.

Only God helps me be what I am, no one else, especially people that are poisonous can never be in that exalted position of helping creation.

An Oscar or any other award is merely recognition. NO one says that a creator is accepted only if gets an Oscar/award whatever it may be. I dont know where you got that implication from my post or if it were your own thought. But mentioning it here since you seemed to have linked it all.

As for the creator, there are two kinds that I can comment on and they have to be in the category of artistes. I dont know about the fields like say, medicine or engineering where innovations happen everyday and patents are filed. Or maybe someone who creates a new recipe. BTW creating a new recipe that works is not easy.

As for the vegetable vendor, I am not sure if I can accept that as a parallel example in this context :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, the vegetable vendor example was a bit lame, I agree. Perhaps, I was half asleep yesterday when I wrote that comment! But then, you have suggested good alternatives yourself - engineering/ medicine researchers (for example), are as much innovative (if not more) as artists.

Its my personal opinion (along with other statements in my comment) that artists (be it actors/ directors/ singers, etc) live in an exalted world filled with self elevating thoughts aided, rather innocently, by their fans. Its difficult to find out who is misguiding whom as far as fame/ status elevation is concerned (In Vadivelu's words - Yethi udaradhu).

Secondly, I never implied to credit your detractors (or anyones detractors) as creators. I just said that they are an important factor in helping you (or anyone else) create things. I can tell (due to personal experience) that detractors are an important reason who enable creators to create more / get involved more in their creative ventures. If not for them, many creators would have stopped / lost their interest in the process of creation. They sort of drive the creative process within us without intending to (in most cases, with an intention to distract).

When we look at the big picture, every bit of what is going on around us will fit perfectly into the puzzle. Developing too much hatred towards ones detractors might only divert ones energy in the negative direction.

No one detracts us for no reason - We are indirectly responsible for what happens to us.


Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

ES: Agree in part. But disagree that artistes live in an exalted world filled with self elevating thoughts. I wonder where such assumptions come from. Unless you are a performer you have no idea about the challenges faced on a daily basis. And I personally can speak for myself and few others I know that our world is not like how you imagine it to be.

As for detractors, I guess when I do find time to blog and check up on comments I know there are are people who slightly burn up in their own negativity. And I am not thinking of them on a daily basis nor are they important at all.

True the last line. Mediocrity has no haters :)

Anonymous said...

நீங்கள் ஒரு நல்ல இனிய விரும்பத்தக்க பாடகி என்பதில் ஐயமில்லை. ஆனால் உங்களின் ஒவ்வொரு போஸ்டிங்கிலும் ‘நான் நான் என்கிற அஹம்காரம் எட்டிப் பார்ப்பதை தவிர்க்கலாம். நீங்கள் எவ்வளவோ சாதிக்க இருக்கிறது.. சாதிக்க வல்ல திறமை இருக்கிறது. ஆனால் இந்த அனாவசியமான ஆரவாரங்களிலும் சர்ச்சைகளிலும் ஈடுபடாமல் focussed ஆக முழு முயற்சியுடன் ஈடுபட்டால் பல பல வெற்றிகள் உங்களை தேடி வரும். உங்கள் மேல் அசூயையுடனோ, வெறுப்புடனோ எழுதப்பட்டதல்ல இது.

Time for you to focus on greater things. Even if it looks like it is impossible as of today, you will achieve it with your dedication, mental strength and your lovable mom's guidance.

God Bless You


யார் இப்படி எழுதுவது என்று உங்களுக்கே தெரியும் என்பதால் என் பெயர் அவசியமில்லை

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Anonymous: I dont understand why talking about my life/experiences/the people I meet looks like "ahamkaaram" to you. Yaen, oru paadagi personal experiences pathi ezhudhina, thalaila thatti okkara vekkanum nu thonudha? Illa enna maadiri oruthar pesave koodaadha?

And personal experiences pathi ezhudhina ahamkaaram na, every autobiography in the world must be a work of egotists, perhaps, according to you. Enna pathi, ennoda experiences, ennoda thaayar pathi ezhudhina ahamkaaram nu neenga solli dhan teriyudhu.

With due respect and humility I state that I write about what I feel like writing, even if it were irritating you if I am logging about everyday experiences and lessons I learn. If you don't like it, I am sorry about it, but this is the way this blog is.

I respond as plainly as you have written and hence, of course indha badhilum ongalukku 'ahamkaaram' maadiri dhaan thoanum.

As for the focus, you ll know soon enough and at regular intervals what we have been upto. I am not the person to yap about work in progress.

Thanks for the advise however.

Karthik said...

What should I tell, so exited.... first of all, Thanks for this blog... This is pick of ur blogs I've read. I was able to relate many of the things you've written down and may be for that reason I liked this one of yours to the most.

You spoke abt your Mother as best friend... Yea, It is very much true that it happens and happens only to few. :) People get scared of their parents and run away from them. Never ever understood why!!!

And there was an eye opener para in this blog of yours as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for sharing that mind of yours. Thanks a lot for that. :D


gbalaji said...

Well Chinmayi,

You are gifted to value people who were behind you for what you are, but unfortunately for so many people they don't value people or realize who support them until they were not around them.

Raghunath said...

Hi Chinmayi, I adore the way you have raised in life except for this attitude towards your goodwill that you have earned in these years. I don't want to mention any big star/successful actor who is so many times bigger/better than you. If a movie fails and their audience don't the movie, the superstar whoever maybe won't complain and tell their audience to shut their mouth saying you don't have any knowledge to comment about my work/talent/art. Instead, they will see how to improve and see how to give a big break in the next release. Why can't you adapt this attitude and only win positive comments rather answering to anonymous people which you prefer?

Anonymous said...

It is easy to talk. Tougher to walk the talk.

True and thanks.

Praveen said...

Anonymous Astrologer: Idhu avangaloda 'blog' sir. Adhanala avangala pathi dhaan avanga ezhudha mudiyum.

Adhudhaanga blog. ( Idhudhanda police madri :-))

Unga amma-va pathi avanga ezhudha mudiyadhu, avangalukku avanga ammava pathidhaan theriyum.

Neega unga amma pathi blog annalam.

Anonymous astrologer, astrology-kkum blogging ku romba dhooram sir.

India is 'MY' Country - idhula ungalukku 'ahamkaram' theriyudha?

Eswaran said...

To be fair on yourself and introspect, why can't you publish some of the critical feedback(NOT ABUSIVE or VULGAR) ?

It should not be the case that anything with a tinge of being critical about you does not get published.

Please dont say that it is my blog and I want to have only positive attitude and all that...

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Eswaran: The only 'negative' comments have come from people who are honestly badly brought up perhaps get some sort of a weird high in abusing women who happen to be in the public eye. I am sure it is some Psychological disorder.

Now I am sure you can be happy with your comment being published.

As for any negative comments or whatever else, as long as it is a valid disagreement, as long as it doesnt call other commenters here names I have no issues.

But yes, this is my blog. Not a newspaper. Thanks.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Anonymous who comments in tamil: I have a feeling you may belong to the group of trolls on Twitter. If you are not, do mail me. I ll be happy to respond to your query. If you are however, anyone who is casteist enough and would stoop so low to call a "Brahmin" girl names in the way that is truly peculiar to Tamil, (vaazhga thamizh, of course) you and neither does anyone else, need any response.

vidhya said...

It is better to be always grounded and be focused especially when you have a career like yours. An honest opinion, however bitter it is, is the one that take you forward. Praises (true ones and the back stabbing kinds) will let you feel good about the current achievement but will never lead to any improvement in life. You are really blessed to have your mom to ensure that you are focused and also provide inputs for your growth. Never never take that for granted.

IMHO - It is your family and may be a handful of friends who genuinely care about you and will stick with you in whatever state you are in. Everything else may make you feel good, but they are like bubbles, will never last long!

Sorry about the long one.. but your post has got me triggered :)