Wow, it feels strange to even be writing on the blog - it's been THAT long! I've really missed blogging... ever since the birth of Spark, things have been incredibly busy. And for some reason, I feel that every spare minute I have is being used up for something, and for the longest time, I've felt like I've been leaving no time for myself. But I guess it's good to be busy too!

After what seems like ages, I finally had the whole of today's afternoon free... all to myself! I completely enjoyed it - reading, watching videos, napping at odd hours... ah, such bliss! It just makes you so much more energised about going to work the next day! (I'm sure that is in large part because this Friday I'm going home to India!)

For a strange reason, started listening to Carnatic songs, and needless, got swept away by a wave of nostalgia. I have trained in Carnatic music for almost nine years, and quit when I was 15 - in large part, it was due to teenage angst, I guess - not wanting to be forced to do anything, hating the teacher for only criticising me and never encouraging me, pressure from the family, and so on. My mother's words still echo in me - she used to keep saying that I'd regret it some day.

Thinking back on those years, I guess I don't regret it so much now - I do regret the fact that I stopped practicing, which led to my pitch sinking as low as maybe DK Pattammal's. As I struggle to touch the high chords when singing for a concert I'm taking part in, I feel angry - my voice has never been suited for high pitches, but somehow, this felt very disappointing.

Browsing around for songs, I chanced upon Santhanam - a very popular singer, a chubby, old man, long gone, with an arresting voice. I will always remember Santhanam for the songs of Oothukaadu Venkata Subbaiyer songs. Having first heard those songs as a 4-year-old, they were probably the very first Carnatic songs I listened to. They used to play so often that I learnt nearly all of the songs simply by listening to them. He was perhaps the most popular singer of those kritis.

A vivid memory to do with Santhanam is from when I was probably five. My sister and I had just returned from school and were untying our shoes sitting on the sofa, when my mother came rushing in, looking anxious. 'Santhanam died,' she said, 'in a car accident this morning.' She was very upset, while my sister and I were simply puzzled. We both looked at each other and shrugged, unable to understand why that mattered so much to my mother.

Listening to these songs - Paal Vadiyum Mugam, Alaipayuthey, Thaaye Yashoda, Kuzhaloodi Manamellam - have simply brought so much joy! My mother will probably have a 'I-told-you-so' face if she ever happens to read this. I just want to tell her this is also so much fun; I know she'd much rather I'd continued to learn, practised, but having dipped a toe into the wide world of Carnatic music, the ability to enjoy parts of it, are sheer fun too.

What a random post! Totally loved rambling :D