Ilaiyaraaja vs. A.R. Rahman

One of the dilemma’s that South Indians have in their lives (talking about the 30+ middle-aged guys) is that one day they end up having a debate about who is the best music director in the country (basically means music for movies).

In that conundrum rise two names, legends in their own right, accomplishments of different kinds, and of course widely divergent in their presentation of their musical offerings – Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman. The former is a legend who composed over 6000 movie songs in multiple languages since the 70s. The latter musician, with more modern music under his belt has won the Oscar and a whole bunch of other accolades. He of course rules the uno position generally speaking in the Indian heartland.

If one grew up in the 80s in South India, like me, Ilaiyaraaja was like music God. Nobody came close and they couldn’t either. One good song after the other was released by this maestro almost every day. When I was in my 12th grade, A.R. Rahman stormed the scene with music for the movie Roja. Many didn’t know that music could sound like this also! Of course, western musicians wouldn’t be surprised by this movie, but India had its own Indian music that came first.

One of the never ending debates that even happens today is to declare who is the better between the two musicians. Ilaiyaraaja is rightfully called as “Isaignaani” – A great scholar of music! A.R. Rahman on the other hand is considered as the Mozart of Madras.

After careful analysis and consideration, I have come to the following conclusion expressed in this equation. It is only a matter of perspective after all and who is greater or better depends on the music listener’s preference for what is more important for them between melody and music (as in instrumental play). In other words, what touches their heart first?

So, here is the final solution:

Ilaiyaraaja = Melody + Music

A.R. Rahman = Music + Melody

A.R. Rahman’s early career when he struggled to establish himself was in creating catchy jingles for Ads. Everything from the second a song begins is about the music that hits the instrumental appetite of the listener. Every song of his generally has this pattern.
Ilaiyaraaja, who grew up in a remote Southern village, had no access to all the musical instruments in his struggling years. This has given him a capability to create melody in his songs. One can test it by humming his songs without any music in the background. It will still sound good. The instrumental music does help but isn’t what hits you first.

Anyways, so that is it. Solved the ultimate musical puzzle of the century for all lovers of these two Indian music greats!



Pinki’s Day Out

Nandini was feeling bored waiting for her sister to finish her dance practice. The dance hall was in a beautiful housing society will Spanish-themed villas. I decided to entertain her by taking her doll (Pinki) and giving her a jungle experience using the trees in the housing society as props. She loved it!


Go! Go! Goa

Goa is one of those must-visit places in India that every tourist needs to make a trip to. Why? I don't know. It is just that it has to be done. I had no regrets when the family made the trip in 2015.

Resorts pamper you with high costs and comfort. The Holiday Inn resort we stayed in wasn't a disappointment in this regard. They even charged for printing a sheet of paper. Well organized. The food, good Goan cuisine, was great. All the places in Goa are crowded. The resort had its own beach and that made life amazingly great.

We made an odd visit to a spices place which turned out to be a good visit. With a drunk tour guide walking tourists through all the spice plantations around, it was a cool experience to listen to weird stories from the guide topped with our fun exploration of the place around us.

The beaches are certainly worth visiting once. Unfortunately, my wife and I were pampered by amazing white sand beaches in the Monterey Bay area in California. Goa isn't that but is still good in its own way.


A visit to Gandhi’s place – Ahmedabad

A Spelling Bee competition that Shivani participated in took the family to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It was a short stay and we made it to the Sabarmati ashram from where Mahatma Gandhi orchestrated a great many events for India's freedom.

Ahmedabad is a very clean and surprisingly green city given the high temperatures in summer and generally tough weather throughout the year. Overall, a good safe city, good people around and a wonderful place for a quick 2-day visit. We skipped the Akshardham temple as it was heavily crowded. But, it was a fabulous view from outside. There was also a unique underground stepped well in the outskirts of the city that we couldn't make it to.



The lake near my farm and bone-dry farmland

There is a beautiful lake on the way to my farm which during times of good rains actually cuts off the road link providing some good offroading experience.

Even though things are soon getting dry, the lake has some wonderful water lily flowers and attracts some cool birds.

On the other hand, my farm land is like a desert right now. Everything is dry with absolutely no good vegetation. To top it up, I am taking a gamble with setting up an open well literally praying for water to somehow show up in the good land below! I do hope things show up on the brighter side.

Here is my favorite view of the land with a small temple in the background in the neighbor’s farm.


Kalamkari art: Saraswati Devi

My first attempt on replicating a Kalamkarti art work of the goddess Saraswati. It was one of the most time consuming and difficult work to date for me. I spent more than fifteen hours with two sessions lasting four hours each. Stuck at one place until I got each brushstroke right. I used a 000 brush to get the thin black border and designer patterns.

The entire work was done using water colors on a hand-made paper.

Every line drawn tested my patience and my audience was happy with the work I did. Got kudos from family and friends too!


Kalamkari art: Happy Sun by Nandini

My little one (age 6) didn’t want to be left behind and did her own attempt at kalamkari work with an image of a smiling Sun. She used black sketch pen for the border work and painted everything on her own. Dedicated to the cause and focused on finishing the art work to her satisfaction!


Kalamkari art: Elegant Elephant by Shivani

My older daughter (age 11) has worked out a terrific kalamkari art of an elephant. She took the tough road of using a 000 brush to get the difficult to make black borders for the picture. Amazing details and a lot of hard work!!


Project A: Setting up an open well and fencing my farmland

After waiting for the right time to get back to my farm and do something beyond de-weeding the land (successfully done in December), I am now working on a project to dig an open well and put some fencing around my land.

An open well is a hit and miss given the arid conditions in the village of Marupally and in the greater Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu. Not many farmers are keen on farming as much as they are interested in earning a few quick bucks doing some odd jobs, looking after farmhouses of rich folks from Bangalore or altogether ignoring the land to pursue other professions.

If the open well doesn’t work (by end of April, 2018), I have no other choice but to go with an expensive borewell set up. That I am not keen on doing for various reasons including the strain on the natural resources and pain of dealing with electricity authorities for pulling a power line to the farm.