Monday, January 02, 2012

A year that whooshed by

It seems like yesterday that 2011 was born.
Being a part of the US/State Dept Global Women's mentoring partnership, meeting amazing women from all over the world, attending the Fortune MPW Summit, winning the Nandi award, singing some truly beautiful compositions, to learning so many essential lessons in a world that is changing every moment and every day. 

I was surprised at winning the Nandi award for dubbing in Ye Maaya Chesave. Never in my life had I imagined that I would win an award for dubbing. But Ye Maaya Chesave was an amazing break for me in Telugu films. 

Attending the mentorship program, meeting women in the list of the Fortune MPW, getting to listen to, speak to people who created, sustained or grew phenomenal organizations was an experience to cherish for a lifetime. My mentors Joan Amble and Denise Pickett remain in touch with me.

Launching the Chinmayi Sripada app was another thing I am proud of. An idea of Naveen Varadarajan to launch what he called the first celebrity app. It had 25,000 downloads in about 3 months. And was in the Top 25 within a week. With that I became the first musician to launch an app made for all iOS devices. The android app has been stuck for weeks. But then I guess it will release when it has to. And with that we ll release content specially made and exclusive to this app.

The year made me realize and learn a lot of mob tendencies which is highly rampant on a platform like Twitter. (And as a platform twitter does nothing to control abuse or trolls). It is truly an art to communicate effectively and succinctly in 140 characters. Its open to interpretation. And honestly, people want to understand only what they want understand. With pre-conceived notions. And a space where there are a lot of trolls and those who abuse. Especially against women. If I ever had the power to pass a bill for abuse against women especially on social network, I would raise all my hands and attach new hands too. More women are abused and blackmailed with the help of social media. More threatened. Maybe so are men. But if you are a parent and are reading this, don't run to ask your daughter/sons to delete accounts. Instead ask them to watch what they say and who they add. And the saying is perhaps true : Don't trust anyone that easily.

At a photoshoot, a photographer told me that perhaps 'celebrities' should remain aloof and not attempt to communicate or let their ideas be understood or come down to the social media. Because most don't want to understand. It made sense, but then I was perhaps one of the first few from the film industry to start blogging quite a while ago. My posts might have been sporadic. I have used this space to rant, reminisce, log random thoughts. I am not regretting this space or my interaction in the social media. But clearly, as I have learned, it is a double edged sword. 

There are really no friends here. Everyone is of some sort of a utility value. Maybe that is true of life in general. And that is all there is to it. If you are lucky to have a good, supportive, positive family and a good set of friends, then you are exactly that. Lucky. Of course, the social media is used for good purposes too. To network, raise funds for charities, spread the word on causes and so much more. 

A lot of times I have probably been vocative about various issues especially on twitter. And so many, have, in all their gullible glory, asked me if I am going to join politics. How many of us discuss the goings on over a cup of coffee? Or over lunch/dinner? A phone conversation? The social media, in this scenario, for me is an extension of that. 

I was talking to a friend the other day who was saying that we are in an age where everyone believes he can be a leader. This, of course, can be a good thing in a way. We have had generations of young men and women who have been suppressed by various factors, society being the greatest of them all, in forcing hordes to take the beaten path. 

Aeons ago, those who said the earth was round were burned on the stake. Women who had the gift of healing were labeled witches and burned on the stake. Women who were intelligent were again burned on the stake. If you were special, you had better keep quiet. The society and - to be blunt - the mediocre, average or low IQ people - forced you into being and becoming one of them. One wasn't allowed to be special. The politics of the corrupt minds and those in power has been as old as the stars.

Coming back, everyone thinks and believes he can be a leader. Why help someone else? A man who can be a great orator need not be a good leader or an administrator. Each one has a specific role to do. I draw the example of great singers, actors, writers, artistes of the pre-independence era who were active in the freedom movement. They propagated the message of freedom. They inspired men and women, girls and boys in every corner of the country to stand up and fight for the vision and dream of a free India. Various leaders arose. Many of them killed by the British. Each of their efforts was the proverbial drop of water in the pot. 

One man survived as the leader of them all. It was destiny. India was free.

Today our country is in a sorry state. All of us, in all our capacities need to be speak and tell ourselves and everyone else to love our country truly and work to see, if the mammoth dream of a minimum-corruption India is possible amongst a lot of other things. I wonder if accountability would be the one cure, for starters. There are tons of issues to grapple with. India needs intelligent minds to handle so many sectors and areas. Micro management is more important than one central management.

I speak of things that I feel most about. My country is definitely one of them. Spreading the message of human trafficking is one of them. Keeping our roads and cities and town clean is one which I did as an RJ. Promoting the philanthropic spirit that our country was once famous for is one. An equal, non-discriminatory, caste-free society is one, for, no country that discriminates against its own people has been known to prosper. There are so many dreams that I have for myself too like anyone else. 

But that is about it. This life is for me to be a singer, a life in pursuit of being a musician par excellence, maybe even a serial entrepreneur considering I started a couple of other ventures this year.

For example Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Lata Mangeshkar have all been nominated members of the RS. But would you or I call them politicians? Or artistes? I would safely say for myself and maybe for a good number of the readers of this post that they ll be artistes first. Forever. Lata ji produced movies, composed music, acted too. But she, forever, will be the nightingale. SPB sir sings, dubs, hosts, produces, composes, directs and whatnot, but he will forever be a legendary singer. 

As much as my little sparrow sized brain can understand, being a politician means having have to stomach, swallow and bear a whole lot of insults plus putting your life at risk, never being able to trust anyone... the list is endless. More so for women. I admire the woman who has the guts and the nerves of steel to be in politics. And more importantly, the sharp intellect and having her wits about her all the time to outsmart tons of others with the sheer dint of intellect and brains.  Ah the joy! :D

I ll tweet, maybe blog about issues closest to my heart, raise funds and spread word for causes. And might even go support Anna Hazare and sit on a fast. But that is all. If you are one to say, "Oh, if you can't change the system by joining it, don't complain". If you say that, Would you accept it if I say, for example, Dont criticize a film or say that it is bad or a song is bad unless and until you can compose or come up with something better.

There can only be a few leaders. If everyone becomes leaders who ll follow? Very few have the talent and the brains to run a street/city/council/state/country. Everyone cannot. 

The very same friend said, if you have the pressing feeling to help the country, first start with yourself, then your family. If you have succeeded there, start with your extended family. Then your street. Your town/village. Then the city. Then the state. The country. The world. Most of us wont get past the first couple of points. Because there would be so much to do there itself.

And the thing is, once the first two in the list are have a tick mark next to them, there begins a domino effect. Everything will automatically change for the better. 

Life has been good to me so far. A mixed bag yes. But predominantly good. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I have emerged stronger. And I realize with each passing day, out of sheer comparison and by looking at the world around me with a clarity in vision that each passing day of experience gives me that my mother is definitely my greatest asset. She belongs to the category of king makers. Visionaries. I am not saying this because she is my mother. But because, I humbly state, that I am objective enough to look at her with the point of view of a third person. And I realize all the more that I am plain darn lucky.

To parents, keep a watch on your children. Explain, talk, converse with them and get them to understand. The world is becoming crazier. Make sure your kids/siblings are with in the right company. Know who your kids friends are and encourage them to meet at your home. Be doubly sure about who you/your kids/siblings marry. There are more psychopaths out there than you can imagine. Oh, but yes. the world is still a good place.

For couples with young kids teach them about the Good touch and the bad touch. Tell them to be brave enough to talk to you about an adult who touches them inappropriately. Whether you have a son or a daughter. A fair number of boys I have met have been abused by their own family members and have been afraid to talk about it. Unfortunately we are a country that victimizes the victim. (Note: If you can please read this book called Half The Sky)

May God bless you, be with you and if you come across difficult times, turn to God. No matter how angry you may be with anything. Scold God. Throw things at God. Do whatever. (I am saying this to myself as well). And yes, have faith. It definitely does move mountains. If you are an atheist, I don't know what to say... Umm.. May be ask for help and guidance from a greater force (coz lets face it, you - the atheist - cannot be the most powerful thing in the world :p) May you be healthy and happy.

May 2012 truly be the emergence of a whole new world and a time of beautiful times for the good. Tathaastu.


Vanisha Manoharan said...

You are 100% right akka. Not everyone can be leader. All we need to do is to play our respective roles as good citizens. I hope and pray that the year will be kind to all of us. I am amazed with your mom for raising such a well mannered person like you. Its not easy to face that much of abusers but don't worry ka, you have more well wishers than those abusers. Happy New Year. =)

Krishna Kumar said...

I hv a 10 years old daughter. As much as she is intelligent and lovable, I always worry abt social exposure. What if..... Can she handle emotional upheavals? I'm not sure. Education only makes them knowledgable and not stronger. Family values hv to come fm family and our role is far bigger and important.

Anonymous said...

WOW MAI! This One is an Awesome starter for the YEAR. Best of Luck & May the Force be with U :)

Rajshri Bharath K S said...

Okay, you may not have the time to read if i elaborate, so i'm making it short and compact.

About that social media, thing, even non-celebs and MEN get stalked, threatened, socially intimidated etc. No, i'm not being the masculinist, nor do i want to contradict what you say. It's your opinion, and this is mine.
And what your friend says is something unacceptable- that celebs should refrain from interacting with the public and remain aloof. No, that isn't a good thing to do. When someone becomes famous, or loved by everyone without exception, it's only normal that the people who adore you get to speak or interact in some or the other way. Social networking has it's own share of idiots, no doubt, in fact plenty. But i guess that is something a celeb should learn to compromise as soon as he/She forays into it. What is life on earth without compromises??

About child abuse, yes, that's a very very painful topic. I guess it's unstoppable too, since statistics show most children are abused by their own blood related family members. And in a country so packed like India, it's difficult to filtrate people and tackle pedophiles. And Half the Sky is written by? I'd like to read it.

And yeah, congrats for all those things you conquered in 2k11. As an ardent fan, I love to boast to others about my idol's achievements. This was what i was talking about, the fans in India are almost fanatics, but in a good way. They think of their celeb's success just like how mom would feel if i got the state-first rank. :) Keep going, never stop tweeting. Believe me, it'll do more good than harm.

-Rajshri Bharath :)

Golden Snake said...

Congratulations for a successful 2011 and wish you all the very best in 2012.

I have a few questions for you:

1. Why don't you ever give opinions about movies or music by your peers in the film industry? For example if a movie or a song is bad, will you be bold enough to talk about it the social media as much as you rant about politics?

2. Whenever you say "What have you done so great?", does it mean that you are not ready to take criticisms in a lighter vein and try to fight. Will it not interpret you as a rude person?

gopinath sridhar said...

Hi, Ever since my first tweet to u on 21st aug @ 4 am, a request for a song which i adore so much, i still fail to comprehend how it happened that early morning, until then Ms Chinmayi Sripada was very much unknown to me either in name or image. It was when i booked the ticket for the concert in sydney @ the box office, where i read that u sang KMI, wow i was super excited, I was hoping you would sing that song, that magic did happen, many thanks for that & that concert still lingers in my mind, it was a birth of new singer otherwise to the unique threesome mindset i had. However i must admit i have listened to some of your songs probably hundreds of times esp en uyir thozhiye in my plinius audio gears, now gathering dust in storage. a novice on twitter though learned with passage of time and thoroughly enjoyed your tweets which had mixed emotion in it, curiosity got the better of me just gravitated to this cute damsel and had strong urge to meet you. never ever felt this unusual existence in my life, all funny things happened, at times i laugh at my self the predicament aim in, thats life, just watching how it unfolds. I have observed life always shows pointers to an event prior to happening? Twitter has been a great platform to share my thoughts with the people i love. Now your blogs shifts the paradigm to different level of thinking, here there is more space to communicate than on twitter, where 140 character suffocates ones expression of thoughts. some of the topic you blog really are audacious ones they could trigger peoples energy clots & possible retribution from lunatics. do you really care, i don't think so , i love the fact you speak your mind at times but you need to listen to your heart as well, it will give you a sense of balance in your perception. But not many people in your position take up social cause, probably they are self obsessed people. Iam glad you do deliberate on social issues. I wish the change is inevitable, i wonder do people really care. Nevertheless some brilliant points made, sure will kindle peoples thought processor if they have one. The blog on lord rama is worth revisiting & sharing my thought on it. Good luck to the year ahead

Happiness Always


ashok said...

Really good Chin, Fantastic way to start the year, recollecting the things you did last year and leaping in to New Year with gr8 thoughts. I believe it will inspire many as me..

May God listen to all your desire...

salo said...

Hi Chinmayi,

Wish you a Happy New year.Congrats for nandi Award.Have you sing the song for Nanban Movie. The song name is Aska Aska Emo Emo... multi language mixed.
That song is very nice.
All the best.

rashmi said...


No one questions people who believe in god but why atheists are perceived to be against the believers of god? Atheist people believe in the true power of the universe existence. We can't question who created the world but its the power that we believe in. Its we human who gave shape/life/money/fame to an idol made the entire race to believe in it. You believe in a shape and atheist don't because there faith is stronger. Faith cannot be associated with god or anything in the world. Faith is the existence!

Kalyan said...

Wishing you a very successful 2012. May you scale greater heights and be able to contribute to the betterment of the society as you have done before.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Mr Snake:

I dont understand your second point at all no matter how many times I read it so I will pass until you perhaps elucidate.

As for the first point, Politics and a work of art are completely different things. Politics is also governed by a lot of laws. I will ask as a lawful citizen of the country, as an honest tax payer and someone who casts a vote each time.

Music/movies, I know most of the people in the fraternity personally. I'd rather tell them in person. Why should I discuss about my acquaintances/colleagues/friends in public? A work of art is open to varied interpretations. Each person might perceive a musical composition differently. However, ranting about bad roads, bad Govt Hospitals, lack of fire safety and so many other issues are matter of public concern. A work of art is not.

BTW IMVeryHumbleOpinion, equating politics and arts is quite strange.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Sv: if the query is professional, write to info(at)

From your post its unclear what your requirement is

Mathangi said...

Wow !!!
So Candid, you've written from your heart :)
Totally Loved it.
I always tell this and get never tired of it, I Admire you soo much!!
May all yours wishes come true in 2012, May u succeed in all your ventures! and May u get as many awards for your songs as possible!
More power and Love to you! :)xxx

Avinash said...

Happy New Year Mam
As usual your blogs are inspiring mam.

.. said...

Love ur way of ending a blog. And specially 'Tathaastu' is marvelous! biiiig hugs and cheeers!!!

AnithaVeeravendhan said...

the world indeed is becoming crazier. but thanks for sharing the thought. Mothers of these times have got more on their plate to deal with. Like what mad eyed moody in harry potter said, we have to be in " CONSTANT VIGILANCE". DO you think children mirror their mother? Whatever we do, however we act, it seems it is not enough while dealing with children. Iam clueless. I would love to talk to your mother. Is it possible?

with lots and lots of love and admiration,

Golden Snake said...

@Chinmayi Thanks for taking your time to reply.

When people talk about movies or musicin social media, I see you challenging them to make a movie. If everyone starts making a movie and starts acting in them, there will be no fan clubs. There will be no celebrities.
People pay money to enjoy the art. If they don't like it, they have all the rights to voice it. This is when the work of art becomes a public concern. If it was supposed to be private then it should not be released to the public. The idea of being great is subjective and asking someone "what have you done so great?" is not the way to handle this.
There is a certain crowd in the social media which is abusive to everyone. It is a universal problem and the best way is to ignore the crowd and carry on.

These are my humble opinions and I hope you take no offense or whatsoever.

Keep singing and keep blogging. :)

- Golden Snake

Sashwath said...

Wow. . It is such a pleasure to read you blogs ,every time there is a new angle to things around .

Ya 140 Character is crazy sometime and facebook " I will unfriend if you hit on like " . But on Blog you are a true inspiration really nice you finally took some time to write this page . I know u are super busy but do try to write when you get time .

How come you have not sung any songs in Ek Deewana Tha .All the best for you upcoming projects . I keep playing you song for VSV when my mom is in car she keeps singing along the track and does expressions . For me it was your best for last year . Which one was your fav for last year .?

BTW Happy New Year .

Rajshri Bharath (http:/ said...

Akka please! Give me the author of Half the Sky!

Vaidy said...

Hello Chinmayee

Good summary!!

But, one question - Why do you believe in God? How are you so sure about it? When you say "you believe in something" - All you are doing is you are not being honest/humble enough to accept the fact that "You don't know". Being a theist or an Atheist is like the two sides of the same coin. Not much of a difference. Isn't it? One "Believes" there is god and the other doesn't. What difference does that make? Not much. In fact, you are deluding yourself into all kind of nonsense. In fact, a belief is very dangerous. It will keep you in ignorance forever.
OSHO sums it all beautifully "Any one who gives you a belief system is your enemy"

Sorry if this is a little too hard/harsh for you - Just wanted to share my thoughts...

a. I am an Agnostic...
b. I strongly suggest that you read J.Krishnamurti / OSHO / Sadhguru.

Kothai said...

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.// - Nice line. Ppl may comment watever they feel. Dont give much importance to each bad comment. Nobody knows you better than yourself.

As always felt so nice on reading lines about ur mom.. Wish you and aunty to have a great year :)

GANESAN said...

Last year was fiiled with some good & bad days for me but the very spl day would be nov 20th when i watched your live perfomance at HMF,cochin.will cherish that for a long long time.... may be till i watch your next live perfomance... all the best for 2012..


Anonymous said...

I really like one quote from Mother Teresa that is "Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person."


Maheswari said...

A very superb post....congrats on your achivements in 2011.
Godspeed good people.

Rajapriyan said...

Happy New Year Chinmayi....!(Ivlow nala facebook-la thedi thedi ippathaan kanudpidichen)

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Vaidy: I shall disagree and humbly on the statement of "belief is dangerous" I believe my mother is my biological mother. So now is that belief dangerous? :)

Yes, I do understand the thing of taking things literally. And there is something called the power of faith and belief. I am not interested in reading 'Sadhguru' JK/OSHO at some point in time maybe.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Priya Karthickeyan: Not publishing your comment for reasons best known to me. However this has nothing to do with running my business :) The parallel drawn is quite bizarre milady. The way I run my business and how I run it is a matter compleeeeeetely different from how we manage my career. :)

bharath said...

hi mam i like ur voice tooooo much