Thursday, 23 February 2012


We are all modern Indians. Modernized Indians. Modernizing Indians. Modernized up to that extent that we do not even know what our culture is and what our traditions are. You ask a young urban going on the road, “What is the next album of Shakira?”There will be an instant reply. You ask another question, “Do you know who Tansen and Thyagaraja are?”The upcoming citizen of India thinks and thinks, but I am sure he finally gives it up. Such is the fate of Indian traditional music today, but ONLY IN INDIA. There is an excellent patronage to this music in most other countries of the globe. Cleveland Thyagaraja Aaraadhana is the best example to this. The migration of the traditional Indian musicians to these far off places suggests a considerable amount of lack of encouragement in the mother land though some of them had gone there with the motive of spreading our culture. It is fortunate that they are successful there.
However, did you know that there are foreigners who are proficient in our music? I too did not till very recently. The other day when I was casually turning some Wikipedian pages, I landed on the “List of Carnatic Singers”. I found one ‘Patrick’ among the orthodox names like Deekshithars, Murthys, Sastris, Nairs, etc. At first I checked my impulse of considering him a foreigner thinking he may be one of those Keralite Christians who gave a fair patronage to the traditional Carnatic music. But when I saw his last name ‘Ngcobo’ a moment later, I was indeed surprised and thinking of a possible African descent, I immediately clicked on the link attached to his name.
I came to know that he is indeed an African of Zulu lineage living in South Africa. I wondered how he came to be a seeker of Indian music.
The increasing curiosity made me click on the BBC news page link located at the bottom of the Wikipedia page.
Sri Patrick Ngcobo
There it was written, the whole saga of Sri Patrick Ngcobo and his Carnatic music. It was mentioned that Ngcobo was once very much impressed by a song of Sri K.J.Jesudas and being himself inclined to music, decided to pursue the style of music that was very pleasant to his ears. He was fortunate to find Sri Jesudas who being a wonderful human being had instantly agreed to teach him on the only condition of Patrick coming to Madras.
Then there is the mention of hundreds of hurdles and adversities Patrick had faced, starting from the poverty that made it difficult even to cross the boundary to the difficulties in practicing the great intricacies of Carnatic music.
After his formal training with Sri Jesudas he left India to his home place planning to make this as his profession. He believed his thoughts are justified by the presence of a large Indian population in South Africa. But much against to his idea, he did not receive that amount of encouragement which he had expected though he has sung in many concerts in Botswana. He says he want to sing in South Africa and it is remarkable that he expresses a lot of hope in singing Carnatic songs throughout the world.
Now the story is over. What is its moral, then?
It is a lesson to all those youngsters, who are running madly after the foreign customs and traditions, drastically endangering the culture of homeland.
It is a point of proof of the virtues of our traditional music when it had made a foreigner strive for it.
It makes us salute the individual who has become a patron of such an alien music, fighting the countless adversities that came his way. He could have been very peaceful without all these. But he did not care for all these and was finally very successful in pursuing his goal. This indeed showers us in a great inspiration.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Those Mystical False Assurances

Today, doubt sits in the mind of every individual, continuously hovering in the cloudy folds of his brain and interrupts the smooth transmission of almost every signal. Having a natural doubting mechanism is beneficial in the sense that it ensures security. But the abundant amount of it only worsens the situation just like a high resistance in an electrical circuit makes the battery ineffective and the circuit devoid of charge flow.
Generally, the rubbish of all sorts is that we doubt. Like, “Am I doing it right?”, after beginning the task. The task is also bound to be failure because of the excessive doubt we had while doing the task.
This false fearing, I think is present in all sorts of individuals. If a person is suffering from the feeling of inferiority then doubts his own talent, himself. If he is a confident person with a pinch of superior air around him, then he simply doubts others’ talents. If a person is introverted, he doubts the others’ feedback about him. If he is extroverted, then he doubts the effects of his uncompromising, sometimes rash style.

But I also think at the same time that this doubt Raja is partially inclined towards inferiority in the sense that the victims of inferiority are bound to be the victims of this tyrannical quality too. Ironically, we generally hate those highly doubting people who are indeed sufferers and the most notable observation of the irritating doubt expression is when people doubt themselves. However, inferiority is altogether another great aspect that only big people like psychologists can profess.
 Now, coming to the title discussion that is central to this article, “Those Mystical False Assurances” represents the natural relationship between people and the false assurances they sometime or the other, try to make use of.This can be adopted in technical situations also very relevantly.By doing so, one can escape the ill effects of chronic doubting (particularly in oneself) to some extent.
Number one:
I am preparing for my examination. Suddenly, a great doubt creeps into my mind, “Am I really going to perform well?”The time available to me starts leaking away unnoticed in my thinking this way, and I finally end up with exactly what I expect. How could I avoid this? By incorporating a simple thought in me that, “No, I can write the exam well. I will get very high marks. After all, the subject is just the same difficult for me as it is for others.”
Number two:
My technical communication professor asked me to give a surprise oral presentation. Luckily, I know many things about the topic. But, as soon as I enter the stage, I suddenly see all demons and devils sitting in front of me! I become fully confused and God knows what happens next. What could I have done, instead? I could have thought, “I shall speak very well. All these audience shall receive me very well. Of course, I am providing all of them with valuable information.”
The above two instances are followed by many other situations we generally come across. Each has its own solution.
There is an enchanting (and well known even) quotation in Sanskrit;
य़द्भावम् तद्भवति।
(Yadbhaavam Thadbhavathi) that means
 “What you think will happen.”
Finally, I want to emphasize that this sieve of false assurances will be highly useful only at the starting point of any task. Once our work is half spoilt and once our speech is half disturbed, the chances of success further, will diminish.
Hence, making a point to create a wonderful, comfortable atmosphere around us prior to every important task we perform lets us pass out with flying colors.
The recent Hindi movie song line, “ALL IS WELL” indeed fits here well.

A Warm Winter Day 
Light and warmth