I have been floating in the womb of work and family, these past few months, forgetting to write. The songs of ‘I’ have woken me from my pregnant silence and this is that newborn’s first cry!
I can’t say I’m a meticulous music listener. In the past, I’ve listened to songs that happened to fall on my ears and that was all! My interactions usually stop with the occasional quoting of favorite lines in a song or citing an interesting concept around it. But as I listened to the songs of I, taking my own time, forgetting everything I had on my ‘to-do’ list and letting myself go, I felt the dots connecting into something magical right before my eyes and all I wanted was to capture this ecstatic experience in words.
Let me see if I can show you what I saw, felt, touched and tasted in this album, one song at a time.
1. Mersalaayitten: There I was… a 5 year old, jumping into a muddy puddle up and down, up and down, down and up in rhythm with the beats. The sound of the raw words in ‘Madras Bashai’ (Chennai slang), the sight of an omelette on a dark dosa pan as well as the rainbow colored lungi, the smell of fresh paint on the horns of a bull, the touch of a washerman’s bundle of moon… So very earthy! The whole song was like clutching a handful of Marina sand and joyfully scattering it in the wind.
2. Ennodu Nee Irunthal: Wings sprouting and next minute, up there, touching the sky. Every note rises higher and higher, taking you through all the layers up above. The words help you to fit that unfathomable music just like how you fit those cloud shapes into that of a coconut, a crocodile and all that catches your fancy, in an attempt to make sense of the vast and all encompassing sky and the feeling of just needing nothing but one person in life. Now and then, catching a glimpse of the splash of colors in the horizon. Towards the end, there is a distant rumble of thunder and a feeling of getting drenched in the purest of rains, at the moment of their birth. The song ends with the words ‘Ennodu Nee Illa Ulagathil Naan Vaazha Maatene’ (I will not live in a world that doesn’t have you with me)… and to me, it seemed like a word-perfect metaphor for an impossibility of life in this world without the sky.
3. Ladio: A blazing fire, dancing lights and sizzling heat. How better to describe a dazzling lady! Hard to see the substance when something shines so brilliantly with so much beauty on the outside. It may look like an exciting display of fireworks but it isn’t just that. Look close and you will see the warmth of a campfire on a cold night in those mellifluous pure Tamil words glowing amidst the embers. Think of the fire of life, the fire in eyes that love, the fire of a heart that wants to create and you will see beyond the razzle-dazzle of her outer musical beauty, that this is a girl who will set not just hearts but minds too, on fire.
4. Pookale: A breeze… a beautiful breeze that plays with the locks of your hair in a fragrant garden; A gushing wind on a terrace that surrounds to cool you when you are burning within. ‘Aval Vanthuvittal’ (She is here) like the breath of a loved one! The very breath of beauty. Oh, and how she does toss and turn you around, surprising you with her touch and her fragrance. The beauty of beauties! Like the beautiful breath of a newborn baby and the last breath of a dying man. Poetic! As this song vibrates within, it makes you wonder if you are human or the most perfect wind instrument ever invented. When the song talks about the man, it feels like a morning breeze that wakes up the world and when about the woman, it feels like the evening breeze that soothes the world to sleep. A song that truly does ‘give a life, anew’ (‘maru uyir thanthal’).
5. Ayla: By now, you must have got the ‘drift’. This one is a glacial stream travelling at a racy speed, at times a leaping waterfall, at times, a cute little pond and at a turn, a deep lake and in all its forms, meandering away to be an ocean. A song of surprises. At times, you hear a pristine Swiss lake as the opera notes soar and at others, a jolly pond of ‘Dandanaka’ drum beats, coexisting delightfully together. The stream does wash you and makes you say ‘Menmai Seythai’ (You rendered me soft). Twinkling with ‘Siri thuli’, this is indeed, an ocean of ‘smile drops’.
In my eyes, I’s songs are beautifully complex and complexly beautiful as those other things forged of the five elements… This world and You and I!