Category Archives: Songs that make me cry

Song of the day – 5

Rob tagged me to this:

The rules are to post the lyrics of a favorite song five days in a row, explain what they mean to you (if you like) and add the video if available. 

I am also supposed to nominate two bloggers to carry on the meme, but I would like to leave that open.  Anyone who blogs, reads this post and wants to take it on, please do, and link back to this post so we can all read about your choices of songs. You may also leave your choice in the comment section here.

I enjoyed doing this series.  Thanks Rob, for the tag.

**

Author of the song: Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi

Set to music by: Sri Vasant Desai

Popularised by MSS, who sang it at the United Nations in 1966, receiving standing ovation for the rendition.

Meaning:

Serve the world with friendship and humility, to conquer hearts
Look upon others as yourself.
Renounce War
Renounce fight for power
Give up aggression towards others

Mother Earth is generous enough and gives us all that we desire
God, Our Father, is compassionate to us all
So, Restrain yourself
So, Be generous
So, be kind
Oh People of the World
May All People of this World be Happy and Prosperous.
May All People of this World be Happy and Prosperous.
May All People of this World be Happy and Prosperous.

Voice in the video: Ahem ! (Interestingly enough, “Aham” in Sanskrit means “Me”.  The out-of-tune falsetto in the last line shows you the lack of practice)

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Song of the day – 4

Rob tagged me to this:

The rules are to post the lyrics of a favorite song five days in a row, explain what they mean to you (if you like) and add the video if available. 

I am also supposed to nominate two bloggers to carry on the meme, but I would like to leave that open.  Anyone who blogs, reads this post and wants to take it on, please do, and link back to this post so we can all read about your choices of songs. You may also leave your choice in the comment section here.

**

Indian movies are almost always musicals.  There are songs and dances thrown in every fifteen minutes of so.  Before the 1960s, there were as many as 50 songs per movie – Indrasabh, a Hindi movie of the 1930’s holds the world record for the most number of songs (72) in it.  The numbers have come down over the years (Hallelujah!), but even now, a regular box office movie has 4-5 songs in it.    Most of them are ridiculous, and are worthy of much mocking.  Such as this:

But on the up-side, many beautiful songs have been written for movies.  And continue to be.

I grew up listening to film music by Ilayaraja.  In clandestine, because movies were taboo in my household.  There are many Ilayaraja songs that I love (and many I seem to increasingly hate these days – Ilayaraja was very strong with melody and orchestra but was dismal at using voices well – SPB and Chitra were his best finds/fits).  Many times Ilayaraja sang the songs himself.  He sounds very nasal and earthy, but like Bob Dylan’s, his voice has a sort of irritating irresistibility.

I like the following song for (a) the lyrics and (b) the subtle use of bass guitar to compensate for the nasal voice of Raja .  The lyrics were written by the late poet-of-sorts, Vaali.  Vaali was a little temperamental.  While he was nowhere near the earlier Kannadasan, he could pull a good one now and then.  This song is one of the better songs penned by Vaali.  The song only starts at 0:50 after some cheesy, over-the-top, monologue by the actor Revathy, who, incidentally was my school senior – not that it matters to this post.

I attempted to translate the lyrics but it came out very banal.  Sudalai of Suzalgal is a bilingual poet that I follow on WP.  I love her poems, especially Tamil ones.  This morning as I read a particularly lovely piece by her, I had an a-ha moment, why not ask her to translate this song for me.  She kindly agreed, and I believe her translation has done complete justice to Vaali’s original.  It is a poem in its own right.  Thank you, Sudalai.

The lyrics are very reminiscent of the song in Pochahontas that goes “Colors of the wind“.

What  colours  in  the mind,

With the tease of the breeze,

What  colours be thoughts ,

At the moonshine,

The  thoughts that come and go,

Color my thoughts so

Changing hues with the thoughts that flow

There’s truth in what I say ,

MY lovely little girl,

{The  colours……..moon   shines]

None bids the flowers to spread sweet fragrance,

Without  kinship do  two minds  speak,

None bids the cukcoo to  sing  as sweet,

Without   reason  does the  mind  rejoice,

The  world,   like  a  stream , flows,

And  runs  its  course  as  time  melts  away,

Flighty as the  colours  of thought

 

Life  sprouts  with  a  drizzle,

A cold  shiver  creeps  when  love  is born,

Desire  swing  like  the   roots  of  the banyan  in air,

Like  a waving   wave,  weaving  beautiful   patterns,

The   cuckoo  flock  sings  of  eternal  beauty,

And  parrots  speak   the  stories  ,

Of Love that never   ends, unlike  a  story  or   riddle,

[The  colours …….]

 

 

 

Song of the day – 2

Rob tagged me to this:

The rules are to post the lyrics of a favorite song five days in a row, explain what they mean to you (if you like) and add the video if available. 

I am also supposed to nominate two bloggers to carry on the meme, but I would like to leave that open.  Anyone who blogs, reads this post and wants to take it on, please do, and link back to this post so we can all read about your choices of songs. You may also leave your choice in the comment section here.

**

People born in TamBram (which is short for Tamil (language), Brahmin (caste)) households in South India during the last few decades of the past century, grew up listening to the honeyed voice of M.S. Subbulakshmi singing the Suprabatham, Sahasranamam, Bhaja Govindam etc.  Her perfect pitch, the way her voice blended with the background tambura (pitch setter), her accurate diction in any language, and that blissful face that comes to the mind’s eye the moment one hears her voice – for many of us, MSS’s voice flows through our veins, and triggers an automatic “coming home” reflex in the brain.  At least in me.

My favourite of MSS’s pieces is “Kurai onrum illai“.   “What regrets have I in this world , when the Lord gives me everything”, to me, is the essence of “Bhakthi yoga” – unquestioning devotion and faith. More recently, I read that the composer, Dr. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) , faced many adversities in life, and yet had it in him to sing that he had no regrets. I read that

As Rajaji lay dying in General Hospital, Madras, in December 1972, all his regrets must have crossed his mind, all his sorrows. But also, all his reconciliations of those emotions with his faith in the “rock”. The last words spoken by him from his death bed, when asked how he felt were simple: “I am happy”.

That upped my love for the song a bit further.  I reproduce below, the translation made by Gopal Gandhi and Gowri Ramnarayan. And of course, the immortal voice of MSS singing it.  The video is of a rather aged MSS singing it, I could not find a video of a younger MSS singing Kurai onrum Iillai.

No regrets have I
My lord,
None.
Lord of the Written Word,
My light, my sight,
My very eyes
No regrets,
None.
Though you stand
Where I behold you not
My light, my very eyes,
Protector of all earthlings
I know you sustain me
Lord of the Venkata Hill so pure
You meet my hunger, my thirst
My hope, my prayer
You keep me from harm,
Lord of the Sparkling Gems,
I need naught else
Father of the Seven Hills,
Naught else.

* * *

You stand — do you not? —
Veiled by a screen
Only the learned can part
For they are the learned
Which I am not
But no, no regrets have I.
Crowning this hill
You stand as rock
Giver of Boons
Immutable God
Father to these hills
No regrets have I
Govinda !

* * *

In this benighted Age of ours
Lord —
The worst of all the Four —
You have entered
The sanctum
A shaft of granite
Where though I see you not
No regrets have I.
Boulder of strength
With the Ocean,
Heaving on your breast,
Of the purest compassion —
My Mother,
My very own, who grants
Anything I ask of her
Can I possibly have regrets?
The two of you, I know,
Stand there for me
Eternally
No regrets have I my Govinda
None, none whatsoever
Govinda! Govinda!
Govinda! Govinda!

Songs that make me cry: 9-Dec-2016

I started writing this post four times and deleted them because I was terrified that it would send me down the rabbit hole of grief again.  I am re-starting the fifth time, not sure if it will see the light of day.  If you are reading it, it means I overcame the emotional block to write about it, which means there is hope for me yet.

I always thought I am a very pragmatic and emotionally cold person. So it surprised the hell out of me that my grandmother’s death on Jan 17th this year hit me so hard.  Almost a year later, I still feel the nondescript pain in the chest region when I think of her.  But at least I am not hyperventilating with grief, that must be a good thing.

What has that got to do with a song to make me cry?

In her last week alive, my grandmother was admitted in a hospital, in which the elevator music was the instrumental rendition of a song by The Carpenters that I have heard, liked and in fact, sung myself in various inter-college events in the past.  I have always maintained that the best way to kill a favorite song is to use it as a ring tone on the cell phone.  I add another caveat to that – use it as elevator music, especially in a hospital in which your loved one died, and you have essentially killed that song in you. I wrote to the hospital director (who is also my work-client) asking him to get rid of the elevator music because it is very annoying.  I haven’t been to the hospital since, so don’t know if they took my suggestion or not.

A couple of weeks back, I was listening to music, under random sort, which my daughter had stored under “Amma’s kitchen songs” in her iPod, when I was cooking (duh !) and this song came up.  The stomach gave a violent lurch and I pulled off the headphone and flung it across the kitchen in abject panic.  Some day, I will be able to listen to this song without going into a panic attack, but it will always be associated with my grandmother and the miserable week in January.

Yesterday once more  by The Carpenters

When I was young I’d listen to the radio
Waitin’ for my favorite songs
When they played I’d sing along, it made me smile

Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they’d gone
But they’re back again just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s, so fine

When they get to the part
Where he’s breakin’ her heart
It can really make me cry, just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Lookin’ back on how it was in years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad, so much has changed.

It was songs of love that I would sing to then
And I’d memorize each word
Those old melodies still sound so good to me
As they melt the years away

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s so fine

All my best memories come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry, just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s so fine

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling

Songs that make me cry -Dec 8, 2016

Good things come in threes, it seems.  Which means I’ll probably have one more to go.  Today’s song was brought to my mind by Rob’s post about the Pearl Harbor memorial day, in which he reminds us all to be friends.

The first time I heard this song was in 1996.  I was in grad school and on this particular day, studying for my end-sem exams in my lab. A friend and lab neighbour attempting to study with me, played this song on his CD player.  I can’t study when there is music playing, so I took a break to listen to it.  I remember sobbing uncontrollably at the end of the song, freaking the guy out.  I had listened to the Beatles since I was ye high, but I had not bothered following the band members individually since it broke up.  So, when I heard this song, I was taken aback that the chap who wrote “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” (Ok Ok, the LSD reference is a myth- eye roll) came up with this.  Once the friend was convinced that I was not out of my rockers, he made me watch the video, which made me cry even harder. For the next two years that we were lab neighbours, he treated me like a bomb ready to explode.

The specific words that still touch me are: Imagine no possessions| I wonder if you can| No need for greed or hunger| A brotherhood of man

“Imagine” by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as oneImagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

The video is here