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I honestly think Bombay Jayashree and Michael Danna did a great job in creating this very soothing track for Life of Pi. However, this caught an unexpected plagiarism controversy while the Oscar nomination is on and a potential felicitation is ringing at the door.
The controversy is surrounding a portion of the lyrics of this track. Apparently, a couple of lines are taken or adapted from the very very famous Malayalam lullaby “Omana thingal kidavo… nalla komala thamara poovo….”, which almost all Malayalaee mothers recites to their babies at bedtime. The slow pace at which this being sung would draw even the crankiest of babies lulled into sleep. There is a sense of nostalgia and cultural belonging this song evokes to all Malayalees and in that sense it is not entirely surprising that a question being posed when a few of the lines of Life of Pi echoed resemblance to Irayimman Thampi‘s masterpiece. Some argue that the lines under dispute are literal translation of the original, from Malayalam to Tamil, but others refute with the claim that it is a common feeling any mother could have and Jayashree only scripted it in her own words. Whether a segment of the song was adapted from somewhere else, still a lot of work had to be done to make this to a wide awakening one and to something like an Oscar nomination. That way, it is touch unfair to simply brag the artists as copycats. At the same time, if there was a genuine adaptation pooled into the song, then it is only fair to respect and give credit to where it belongs. It is a bit sad that this had to be drawn to a public bashing. Getting an Oscar will be a real delight since that also will take Carnatic music trace to the world stage reaching to a broader audience, hitherto unheard of its rich and classical history.
Since we are on this subject, I thought it is a good time to read up a little on the history of the Omana thingal kidavo song. This song was supposedly written by the famous Travancore king Swathi Thirunal‘s uncle Irayimman Thampi. When Swathi Thirunal was born, his maternal uncle himself a trained Carnatic musician composed this and was apparently sung by the mother Gowri Laksmi Bhai and the royal ladies to put the baby to sleep. The princely baby was all the more special since he was born after a prolonged wait at a time the Kingdom itself was at threat of being dissolved with the British empire having had no foreseeable replacement of a male successor to the King. Swathi Thirunal went on to become a famous King, who being an ardent Carnatic music follower also produced several masterpieces, some of them are popular even today. Irayimman Thampi as well produced many more compositions including Karuna Cheyvan enthu thamasam.
Besides the rich and soothing music, the lyrics of Omana Thingal Kidavo are knitted with superlatives comparing the baby to the most wonderful things one can see in nature such as nectar in my sight or the bright and charming crescent moon. It doesn’t utter a word about the sleep, but just has many questions posed by the mother to baby as to which among the greatest wonders will match the priceless baby grandeur. For any mother, none will match her baby and the lullaby carved into the minds of mothers of many generations. Whether they gave credit to Irayimman Thampi or not, the lullaby echoes in several hearts, even today.
Some interesting information on this composition is here. Further information on Irayimman Thampi and his contribution to Carnatic music is discussed by Dr. PP.Narayana Swamy. Renditions of some of the famous compositions can be heard here. A page on Swathi Thirunal is also maintained here. I am not sure whether it is the most comprehensive of his contribution, but has several useful links there.
I heard about the Indian agricultural minister Sharat Pawar making such an atrocious statement on the highly dangerous pesticide Endosulfan. According to him, Endosulfan is a good thing. Holy cow. What an insane statement!. Someone sitting in the ivory tower with the rich cricket administration under his tummy, may not have to be overly bothered by the hundreds and thousands of lives already ruined by a dangerous pesticide. A pesticide which is banned in pretty much all the developing countries, is enjoying 70% market share in the largest democracy in the world. That shows the will and responsibility of our government. Kerala is the first Indian state to ban this pesticide. Why wouldn’t they. Their state, the northern Kasargod district is the worst hit by the hazards of Endosulfan. Hundreds of people are still suffering from the genetic impact of the dangerous venom, Endosulfan.
According to this, Endosulfan export from India is worth 180 crores. The largest democracy in the world has no time and seriousness to protect its good majority of poor people. The Endosulfan tragedy is rated as the disaster whose magnitude is next only to the Bhopal gas tragedy. It is so sad that, the government is so sick in their drive on corporate responsibility.
Here is a video revelation of the nonsense pesticide that Sharat Pawar think is good. For him, the IPLs and the billions along with that is more precious than the millions of suffering elsewhere. Shameless.
Just heard about the 2010 Hay festival was held last week in Thiruvananthapuram. Although I couldn’t have gone there, it felt nice to have had such a great global art and literary event in my own home state in India. The official website hosted some amazing scenes from various parts of Kerala, which to an ardent Kerala fan like me wished to see all times. The Hay festival of arts and literature has become quite prominent in the public media, recently and what better place to have it, than the beautiful and literary rich Kerala!
Thanks to Youtube, I could gather glimpses from the event. Part of Vikram Seth‘s Storypooja is captured here. The one session, I would have liked to attend is Marcus du Sautoy on “The Number Mysteries: A Mathematical Odyssey Through Everyday Life“. I hope to see a video tape of this program online sometime soon! After all, Marcus claimed to have had a reason for everything, including why bend it like Beckam! Another of my favourite is ONV Kuruppu. His candid and lively talk is an anytime favorite of mine. He was supposed to have had a conversation with poet Sachidanandan. And, how much I missed Bob Geldof‘s conversation, let alone his concert!
Yesudas and Mohammed Rafi singing the same melody: How about that for a treat to the ears? I didn’t realize that they have done it already for us. Rafi singing Jis Raat Ke Khwab Aaye (Film Habba Khatoon) and later Yesudas making that beautiful song Anuraga lola gathri (Movie Dwani) to a classic. I’ve learned that this melody is the creation of Naushad Ali. I am not going to make a comparison between these two legends (Well I am too in eligible to do that anyway). Both are so soothing. I find Yesudas has an amazing skill to vary the pitch with ease and that is perhaps quite critical in Malayalam language. Anyway, I have enjoyed both masters at work.
Sadly, these days, truthful, sensible and objective reporting are missing from many mainstream media houses. This is true globally including Europe, USA and without exception in India too. Take for instance Kerala, a tiny piece of land in the south west tip of India. The media over the past many weeks or months are just doing a masala gaga over silly factional arguments within a section of the ruling party. They go wild to picturize every tiny statements given by leaders and then glorify with their on puerile interpretations. It is a mess, the Kerala media at the moment;to say the least. Where are truthful media and journalists? Is any of them sensible enough to do truthful and objective reporting, sans yellowing the news? In an attempt to sell their masala craps, everyone go mad and go after such third rated reporting. The masala and gosspis can be at most a desert, but that cannot be the main course. Unfortunately, in reality the media changed their roles and glorified the wrong one.
The Hindu, is the only paper I find as an exception. It is indeed commendable that we have one source to reply upon. While the entire Kerala media was behind gossipping, The Hindu published this report (by C. Gouridasan Nair )on the progress of Kerala government over the last three years. This simply opened my eyes. While the sensational media events otherwise created an impression that the current government is not functioning at all, the truth clearly is the opposite. Surely, the common man do not get to read The Hindu and hence is caught in the wrong net of fallacy world spooned with incorrect information. I am sure that reflected in the vote share too.”
Whither goest thou media? Will you please grow up to be much more sensible and judicial? Thank you The Hindu for standing tall as a true piece of hope in the journalistic world. If only, the other media house learned a piece of your ideology!
The 2009 Indian Parlament election results are out. The Congress lead government is all set to return for the second successive term. I personally think this is the best governmet at the moment available to the people. Manmohan singh is an able man and largely they seem to have a vision. His last five year term has been one with many accolades and a very few dulls. The Congress under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi seem to be freed of large scale problems within the party. Congress even though have a lot of sycophants, the top leadership acts more or less sensibly to larger issues concerning the nation.
Now this being a clear mandate to Congress, it is an opportunity for them to take India forward with a stronger vision and clearer direction. A vision not merely targeted to improve the India shining media tag or sensex alone, but the one which genuinely helps to scale the rural and poorer section of the population. It is important now than ever to improve their lives by providing education, food and employment. While cities have gathered some colour and prospetrity in the recent years, the villages in many part of India still have a different story to say. I really hope this government begin addressing such issues with utmost importance. We need development stemming from rural areas, because immense potential are to be tapped from that often underprivilaged segment of society.
The defeat suffered by many regional parties which lacked any ethical base in some sense is going to be a blessing in disguise. We have seen over the years, the ugly negotiations between major parties and these swinging parties, in order to hang on to power. Some of them still are in there. I hope we don’t get to see such pity party MPs make mockery of people. I really hope that party leaders like Amar Singh, Mayawati and their respective parties don’t get to play that ugly negotiations.
The left parties, who have always stood as one of the rare political parties in India, for certain ideological standing also do not have much strength in this parliament. While many would consider their less than expected performance as an aid for a trouble free governance, I still consider their standing in many social issues has helped the current government to implement many people friendly schemes. This faiure is also a time for them to introspect into the ugly political factions within their party. As they say, you can learn more from failures than victory. I hope they learn to become a better outfit, by raising above pity individual factionism.
In Kerala, I personally, find the result as a mixed bag. I am indeed thrilled to see Shashi Tharoor winning with a handsome margin. He is surely our next foreign minister, largely because of his UN employment credentials. My wishful thinking is to have him taking up a ministerial portfolio involving rural society. Say for instance agriculture or rural development. I know this may not happen, because these are seen more of second class port folios, with no glamour or media hype around it. My argument however is to have someone who can make that policy vision for the future, which can transform a nation forward. One thing for sure. Kerala, which is often overlooked as a non-important state in national scene will get some preference, because some heavy weights including Shashi are going to be housed in parliament as representatives from Kerala. Apart from Shashi Tharoor, the better representatives are the young CPI(M) Mps such as Rajesh and Biju. Kasargod MP Karunakaran of CPI(M) and Vadakara MP Mullapally Ramachandran of Congress are also known to be good vocal representatives of people in the parliament. I hope they all live up to people’s expectations. Some of the winning MPs are less than useful to people and indeed it is sad to learn about this verdict, especially the ones from Kannur, Alappuzha, Kollam,Ernakulam,Trichur,Kottayam etc. End of the day, it is people’s verdict and we should respect it. We can only hope for these elected candidates to be model representatives for their people.
Meanwhile, the much underrated Laloo Prasad Yadav made it from one of the two constituencies he tried. He has been an amazing railway minister, in spite of his ridiculed public view among elite social circle. To me, he is the champion minister who made the Railway from an organization of deep debt to one of the very successful outfit. Considering that Indian Railways is the largest employment providing organization in the world (claimed to have over 1.4 Million employees!), his contribution is nothing less than extra ordinary. Many people, including your truly had once thought of him as a mere laughing stock, but now he has my respect in lump-some. I hope he continue his promising work and stay as Railway minister.
Elsewhere, the most dynamic minister in the current cabinet Chidambaram just survived a scare at Shivaganga. I am glad that he made it, simply because he is too good a minister to miss out. With Rahul Gandhi in, the new Cabinet is going to have some promising members. Together with many others, including many young and vibrant representatives, we have the making of a very dynamic cabinet under Manmohan singh. I am really looking forward to a more stable, cleaner and efficient government which can take our nation forward, eradicating the mark of poverty in many villages to one India of prosperity.
I wonder how this song found itself a way to the drains! I remember listening to this audio in All India Radio chalachithraganangal program during childhood. It is a little slow but I have enjoyed the rhythm. Never seen this video before. Now, the video brings more nostalgia about those paddy fields and picturesque Kerala, my home land. Missing Kerala!
Hope you guys enjoy this music. (For information the music is in malayalam)
It appears that, both the LDF and UDF have overcome the usual uneasiness in coming out with the candidate lists to the coming Loksabha elections. Quite strangely, LDF candidate selection meetings turned out to be much like the usual UDF fights. LDF known for their discipline and ideologies, had to face a lot of mudslinging exercise, not only from opponents, but as well from their allies. However, largely, their candidate list showed some sense of vibrancy by fielding young and cheerful candidates. After all, people need their MPs to talk and present their woes; more importantly present and represent them well in the Parliament. Personally, I am not too inclined and happy with these Ponnani episode. Nor am I happy with these religious mongers having a big say in these elections. Sadly, the sense of reality hastens that, even the religious outfits have their agendas waiting to be exploited by one of these two fronts, namely LDF and UDFs.
Now, what do we have from the UDF list? Quite frankly, all but two are hopeless. Among the UDF list, I would like Shashi Tharoor to get elected, even though he will have to sweat it out from Thiruvananthapuram. I am not enthused by the religious agenda dominated constituencies like Ponnani and Malappuram, partly because I am ignorant of the real scene there and partly because of my uneasiness in mixing religion and politics. In the remaining 16 seats, I would rather prefer LDF candidates to win, simply because the opponent candidates stay no chance of being effective representatives. Congress has been lacking smart leaders. Their usual choices are drawn from the pool of factions and castes. LDF, in spite of all their hodgepodge alliances, fielded some decent candidates. It will not be easy, I reckon even for LDF, because the unpleasantness among allies and even within the members of major party CPI(M) is looming large. Going by the corruption history and ability to stand up and speak, many of the LDF nominees deserve to get elected over the UDF counterparts. For sure, I would really think Shashi tharoor is an appropriate candidate to represent Kerala. If elected he can perhaps be a very vocal MP for not only Thiruvananthapuram, but Kerala as a whole. To be honest UDF inspite of the minor opposition from within Congress party, got a good candidate to contest from the state. You can argue that he is not a big wig politician, but he knows more about India and is an exemplary policy maker, which will help in the parliament.
As a footnote, it is appalling that Rajdeep Sardesai cant even say the word Thiruvanathapuram, not in one, but four or five trials. Quite pity that, a leading national reporter cant get this right. I don’t mind a little change in accent, but he seem to care little to get the name correct. Horrible. At least a sense of respect? Anyway, their credibility tag is lost long ago, with their sensational reporting. Sad thing is that, they seem to continuously relish on that ideology. And they are sort of ridiculing Mallika Sarabhai, by asking something like “You, urban English speaking candidate fielding from Ahmadabad?” It was (and still is) so stupid a question that, Mallika replied in Gujarati to create more splines and wrinkles on their face (Suhasini Hyder the other news anchor in this case). Weren’t they expecting it? Or do they think that, everything in this world revolve around their concept of Indianness? Being a broadcast medium one thing is that, they can say any nonsense, but being responsible is entirely another. Over the years, Rajdeep who had been such a fine journalist, now all confined to being one among the many, new era sensationalizing breed. It saddens people like me, who had enjoyed their good piece of reporting; all when sensibility prevailed! She is standing in an election from a constituency where she lives. How ignorant are these urban news reporters on her ability to speak her mother tongue? They fielded similar question to Shashi tharoor as well. For their information, he can speak Malayalam, pretty decently.
In this post, I tried (for the first time) to write something in Malayalam, my mother tongue. My dear English only readers, please excuse! The pleasure of writing something in mother tongue is different. Sadly and regrettably, I seem to have forgotten some of the alphabets of Malayalam. I feel ashamed.
മലയാളത്തിലെഴുതാന് ഇപ്പോള് വളരെ എളുപ്പമായി. പണ്ട് ഞാന് മലയാളം LaTex malayalam ഉപയോഗിച്ചിരുന്നതോര്ക്കുന്നു (In 2000 or so, it was. Now, latex omega is pretty nice and easy too, especially while LaTexing). കുറച്ചതികം ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടിയാണ് അന്ന് കുറച്ചു വരികളെഴുതാന് കഴിഞ്ഞത്. എന്നാല് ഇപ്പോള് എത്രയോ എളുപ്പമാണ് (all thanks to Google Transliteration). എന്തായാലും വേര്ഡ്പ്രെസ്സില് ഒന്ന് എഴുതി നോക്കാമെന്ന് വച്ചു.
കഴിഞ്ഞ രണ്ട് ദിവസ്സമായി ഞാന് കേരളത്തിലെ രാഷ്ട്രിയ സംഭവ വികാസങ്ങള് നിരീക്ഷിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. ഇവിടെ യുറോപ്പില് ഇന്റര്നെറ്റ് വഴി കിട്ടുന്ന വാര്ത്തകള് മാത്രമാണ് ഒരു മാര്ഗം. പ്രധാനമായും വാര്ത്തകളെല്ലാം വരുന്ന ലോകസഭ തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പ് സ്ഥാനാര്ത്തികളെ ചുറ്റിപറ്റിയുളളതായിരുന്നു. സി പി ഐ എം, സി പി ഐ തമ്മില് പൊന്നാനി സീറ്റ് സ്ഥാനാര്ഥി നിര്ണ്ണയം ചൊല്ലിയുള്ള വിവാദം ഒരു പക്ഷേ അനാവശ്യമായിരുന്നു. സി പി ഐ സെക്രടറി വെളിയം ഭാര്ഗവന് തീര്ത്തും നിര്ഭാഗ്യകരമായ രീതിയിലാണ് പത്ര സമ്മേളനം നടത്തിയത്. ഒരു മുന്നണിയില് പ്രവര്ത്തിക്കുമ്പോള് ചില അഭിപ്രായ വിത്യസങ്ങളൊക്കെ ഉണ്ടാകുന്നതു സ്വാഭാവികം. പക്ഷേ അത് ജനങ്ങളുടെയും പ്രവര്ത്തകരുടെയും മുന്നില് അവതരിപ്പിക്കുമ്പോള് കുറച്ചു പക്വതയൊക്കെ ആകാമായിരുന്നു. ഇത് കോണ്ഗ്രസിലെ അടിപിടി പോലെയുള്ള ഒന്നായി മാറ്റിയതിനു വെളിയത്തിന്റെ കൊള്ളരുതായ്മ്മയായി മാത്രമേ കാണാന് കഴിയു. ഇതില് ഏറ്റവും വിചിത്രം പൊന്നാനി സി പി ഐയുടെ കൊട്ടയോന്നുമല്ല. മിക്കവാറും തോക്കാറുള്ള മുസ്ലിം പ്രാധിനിത്യം അത്യധികമുള്ള ഒരു മണ്ഡലം,അതില് ഒരു പൊതു സമ്മതനെ അങ്ങീകരിക്കാന് ചേര്ന്ന ഒരു മീറ്റിങ്ങില് തങ്ങളുടെ ആഗ്രഹം അതെ പടി സാധിയ്ക്കാതത്തിന്റെ പേരില് ഒരു പത്ര സമ്മേളനം നടത്തി ശകാര വര്ഷം ചൊരിഞ്ഞ് വെളിയം അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ഉള്ള വിലയും ഇല്ലാതാക്കി. ഒരു കണക്കിന് ഭര്ദ്ദനും വെളിയവും ഏകദേശം ഒരേ പോലെയുള്ള മൂക്കിന്റെ അറ്റത്ത് ദേഷ്യം ഒട്ടിച്ച രണ്ടു നേതാക്കള്. നിര്ഭാഗ്യവശാല് രണ്ടുപേരും ഒരേ പാര്ട്ടിയില്. അതോ ഭാഗ്യവശാലോ?
Growing up in Kerala is an experience one cannot describe in few words. One must live through it to really feel it. It is different! This video
brings back a whole lot of those memories of childhood. I may be heavily biased here to say so much uniqueness about the social life in Kerala, but to me they simply remain so. The greeneries and the beautiful countryside, the many little ponds, rivers, streams, lakes, paddy fields, the list goes on. The days of Onam and Vishu are more than festivals for the people of Kerala. The expectations and excitement build around these festivals on children’s mind and the fun of playing so many little games: playing in rain, then invariably fall sick, all that in spite of being truly aware of the consequences. August-September time frame also had the monsoon settles when all the ponds and lakes are filled with water. As kids, those were special days to spend near full days swimming and play the various games by staying in water. Beautiful! Now, all those little games like Kuttikol, Pulikkali, lathi and the countless many games all must have disappeared and perhaps paved the ways for cricket or computer. I wish to believe that it is not!
Looking back, it is amazing that people of Kerala unanimously enjoyed the festivals like Onam, Vishu and Christmas irrespective of religious beliefs. The excitement of a festival was much more than religion, even though there is mythological trace to each of them.
Coming back to this video, it instantly took me to the days of Onam when we all kids (my siblings, cousins and neighbourhood friends) took pride in displaying new dresses, (more traditional it used to be) and group ourselves to play the whole day, with intermittent breaks for lunch feast etc and the pleasure of eating a sweet or two from the neighborhood house and to feel it tastier than the one at home.
And how can I have enough of those Kani konna pookkal (Cassia fistula), a seasonal flower seen all around during vishu summer days! (Courtesy, this beautiful image of kani konna is taken from http://www.ulujain.org/album/casino/casinoflowers/cassia1.jpg)
Nandu (Nandakishore Santhi) married to Kavita on 27th December 2006 at Cherpulasseri, Palghat (Palakkad), Kerala. I went with my friend Soni PM (in the photo, Soni is at right hand side of Nandu and yours truly is seen to the left side of of Kavitha) to this beautiful part of Gods own country!
Paghat is a beautiful place, known for its natural setup aside the western ghats. The green paddy fields are a scene worth many a click. You could see many fields all around (all over Kerala for that matter, but Palghat has little more to its credit, historically). Music is one another thing you would associate Paghat to. The Tamil Brahmin’s population in this area (this place is also in the close proximity to the city, Coimbatore) credits to a rich history of music (Carnatic music).