There was an emergency at home- Interhouse Malayalam recitation competition! My brother, known for his melodious recital, needed a new poem and a new tune.
My aunts, one a medical student and another studying Commerce, took over the arduous task of putting music to Asan’s Karuna- specifically to the haunting grave yard scene, which he intended to recite.
The Vrittam was Nathonnatha- sung typically as a boat song- joyous and undulating. Absolutely a no, no, when you describe the Yamuna flowing, the mood foreboding, a sense of doom to the reader; even as Vasavadatta lies mutilated, and Upagupta is yet to arrive.
Azhakodanagarathil, thekkukizhakathu vazhy, ozhukum yamuna thante, pulinam kanmoo…
Ilammanja veyil tatty, niram marum neelavinnil, tilangunna venmukilin nira kanakke…
By seven in the evening, the tune was ready-it gave me the shivers, when my brother sang out the lyrics mournfully.I remember the poem till date, and yes, he went on to win the prize.
The judges were all praise for the haunting music. Totally homemade.
My little girl is preparing for Hindi recitation. She is preparing Jayashanker Prasadji’s spirited poetry, ‘ Himadri Tung Shring Se’.
Himadri Tung Shring Se, Prabuddh shudh Bharathy,
Swayam Prabha, Samujjwala, Swantantrata Pukarthy..
She recites it deadpan and her sister protests in outrage.
“Emotion, passion, modulation…” The seasoned speaker advises her sibling, and gets a sniff in response. She has to be convinced in another way. The importance of both music and lyrics.
I remember the Karuna saga; and intervene to tell the tale.They both listen with keen interest.
Little girl starts rehearsing-with more feeling. She admires her uncle- she thinks he has great fashion sense.
Poetry springs anew in my homestead.
Amartya Vir Putra Ho, Drid Pratigya Soch Lo
Prashasta punya Panth hai, bade chalo, bade chalo!