They say, when life throws lemons at you, make lemonade out of it. By the time I became a fan of Ilaiyaraaja (IR as I fondly call him now), life had thrown enough lemons at me to make two barrels of lemonade. In fact, at one point, before I became a fan of that man, I considered the prospect of “enduring” his songs, a lemon that life threw at me. So the lemon reference.
I belong to a generation which grew up listening to A.R.Rahman more than IR. 90s was the period when ARR started to garner attention. Back in school, I never really watched movies. Obviously, I never listened to much cinema music too. As in, I wasn’t the type of kid who sat hours in front of the TV watching movies or songs. Even the occasional one or two songs I truly enjoyed back then were by ARR. Given that my parents found it wise to stock up only on carnatic music and sloka, I didn’t have that parental influence when it came to cinema songs. Being an introvert (of sorts, that part of my life deserves a post on its own) who was happy just reading books also didn’t help much.
That changed drastically when I stepped into college. I started making friends and stopped being that introvert. Given that most of my friends were also from my generation, it was just ARR, Backstreet boys, Greenday and Justin Timberlake for me. I couldn’t really stand IR’s music. I felt it was all slow.I could take melody from ARR but not from IR. I simply didn’t connect with his music back then. Thinking about it now, feels a bit comical.
I got out of college, stepped into corporate and the pelting of lemons had begun. One fine day, I got transferred to Tirunelveli to work in a factory. My work place was 26 kms away from where I stayed. The daily commute was a good one and half hour ride on dusty roads in a rickety cab up and down. How do you kill time travelling – you either sleep or listen to music. Given that it was a shared cab, I couldn’t dictate the choice of music. Moreover,You can’t really say NO to your manager’s choice of music can you? Thankfully, he turned out to be a man with impeccable taste in music and he played really fair.
That, my dear ladies and gentleman is how I properly got introduced to IR’s music. Initially I would doze off when IR’s songs were being played and wake up when ARR’s song came on. That started changing. I started liking IR’s music. No song was ever repeated in a month. His music started to soothe me and calm me immaterial of the “lemons” I endured.
It’s been a year and half now since I got back to Chennai. I’m in love with IR’s music. I suppose somethings can’t be undone. Thanks to my pal Vinay from work, I am ‘discovering’ lovely tracks composed by IR.
I still prefer ARR over IR, but they are not to be compared. It is wise to enjoy the variety rather than to criticize the differences.
Here is a small list of my favorites.
- Kalakalamaga Vazhum – Punnagai Mannan – Not the best, but its one peppy number I love.
- Poove Sempoove – I recently “discovered” that my mum loves this song too.
- Kaatre Enthan Geetham – Remember being speechless when I listened to this song the first time.
- Valayosai – God, this song is simply addictive
- All songs from Sindhu Bairavi – Never recovered after listening to this album
I hope to recollect that playlist I listened to for 8 months some day. To date, I regret not looting my manager’s music collection when I left the company. Of course, I can always catch the next train or bus to TVL and get that 😀