Friday, 9 December 2011

A little bit of Yodhakaa in my life

I'm writing this post quick-quick. Yesterday I happened to attend a live performance of the music band that I love the most - Yodhakaa. Their tagline is "Contemporary Indian music" and they live up to it. The band has seriously changed my life, and I mean it in the literal sense.

I had been to Satyam Cinemas at Chennai in June this year, to watch Kung Fu Panda 2. During the intermission, I saw the advert of Yodhakaa, a very simple ad, just a picture of their debut album's cover. Something told me that I must remember that name and must check out what it is about. So I pulled out my phone and opened up the Notes, where I saved the name, just in case I would forget. As soon as I got back home, I googled 'Yodhakaa' and found out what they were all about. I downloaded a few tracks from a file-hosting website illegally. After a week, I couldn't help myself listening to them over and over, again and again and realized that their music was really worth buying the CD. Honestly, there has been no band that has captivated me so much towards its music, be it Indian or international. I have never been interested in anything religious, be it songs or slokas. My parents have long branded me outcast in that sense, as I'm totally against such stuff, being born in a Hindu brahmin family who supposedly love such music and chants. Even my Facebook profile read my religious views as 'Agnostic'. When I first told my mom about the liking that I had taken towards this new band, it hardly meant anything to her. After I started humming the tunes of Yodhakaa at home, it made a difference. When they saw me saying words like 'Mudaakaratta Modakam' and 'Vasudeva Sutham', I guess they finally considered me to be a part of their family!

There is this incident that I want to share with everyone. I believe in coincidence, but this incident that I'm going to speak of, in my view, isn't a coincident at all. Well, you can compare it to 'Divine Intervention' from Pulp Fiction, which is what I think it is. This incident happened on the 1st of September this year. A day that is perhaps, too valuable to forget. I know, after I finish narrating this incident, it'll make no difference to you, or you may probably never understand why this has been so important to me. But let me tell you, it really meant a lot to me. I'll get started right away. This friend of mine, Vishnu Maya, my ex-classmate, now studies at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT). She's one of the best friends I have ever had all my life, and I call her my pseudo-sibling. On this particular day, September 1st, we were talking over the phone at around 1:00 a.m. regarding some issues about Linux drivers for Dell laptops, after which we hung up. At around 1:30, I sent her a text, to check if she was awake, and she replied. I called her up again and asked her if she knew Sanskrit. I told her regarding the music of Yodhakaa I had been listening to lately. She said, "Let me guess, did you come across this band when you went to Express Avenue for a movie or something ?". She was quite close, I had found out about Yodhakaa at Satyam Cinemas. I asked her that how on earth could she guess that, as not everyone knew about this band. Her reply make my heart skip a beat. She said, "You know what, I had been to Escape at Express Avenue around the same time in June for a lame movie, where they had a Yodhakaa advert in the intermission with a background score. I immediately fell for that music but I never remembered the name of the band after that. Till today, I've been searching for them on the internet, on Google, searching for keywords like 'Indian traditional music' etc., but nothing has been even half as close to it. You won't believe, it's been three months now, and I was searching for them even this afternoon. You remembered the name, but I didn't. And that's all made the difference!". She told me that she had searched in leading music stores in Chennai for the album, but she couldn't find it, as she didn't remember the name. She even went to the extent of saying that when she would come to Chennai next time, she'd go to Escape to watch some lame movie again, just to see that advert during the intermission (Believe me, she said that). After the call, she put this status up on her Facebook wall :

"Never went so dumbstruck in life... It was just a music album, whose name I did not know, but was running as a background process in my mind... And thanks to Gautam Krishnan (Could he read my mind?or see through my head?) who led me to bump into it, in course of him flaunting his recent favorite. That was the album I was looking for.. Yodhakaa. Joy, I guess, streamed in along with the songs...."

She also sent me a text message, which read "You know what... I thought joy was got in nothing. Nothing gives joy. Now I know, it lies in finding what you are looking for. May it be a name, a pin, your love, whatever!". Over the next few days, we discussed about the various songs in the album, what they meant, wondering and realizing how much they meant to us. We would talk of the verses of other religious scriptures too, and I would often quote some verses from the songs amidst of our conversations, which I still do!

Ever since I first heard to the tracks of Yodhakaa, I feel there has really been a change in me. I feel I'm starting to get religiously inclined (at least a bit) and more conscious about our tradition. I've started appreciating traditional music and pay a close attention to the slokas I happen to listen these days. No day passes by when I don't sing a song or two from the album. Whenever I drive, or travel by bus, Yodhakaa accompanies me. The songs seem to give a new meaning each time I listen to them. I hum the songs, whistle the tunes, while walking, bathing and even before sleeping! Buying the Yodhakaa CD was perhaps the most valuable 150 Rupees that I've ever spent. I gifted my Aunt a CD for her birthday, which I ordered online, and it arrived promptly and exactly on her birthday. And thus, I've decided that it's the best birthday gift I could ever give to anyone. Also, my religious views on my Facebook profile now reads "Hindu"! Sometime ago, I sent friend requests to 'Darbuka' Siva, Pradeep Vijay and Subhiksha Rangarajan, the three lead artists of the band. I was very glad when I found out that all of them had accepted it! W00t !!

Yesterday, I was at the Yodhakaa thanks giving show was organized at Alliance Fran├žaise, Nungambakkam, Chennai. I has been my dream to attend a live concert of Yodhakaa ever since I fell in love with their music. I realized that, to me, Yodhakaa has become something more than music. It has become a way of life. The combination of Pradeep Vijay's and Subhiksha's voices were simply magical. I got to hear a few songs that might be a part of the next album, and I must say that they are too good. The 'Jataa Kataa' song was performed in the end, and it filled the hall with so much divinity. That song really brought a tear in my eye. If there's another concert in the vicinity, I cannot afford to miss it, and so can't you. After the show got over, I shook hands with all those who performed, especially, Siva, Pradeep, and Susha, and told them what I felt regarding the show. I found it hard to believe that they were so simple and really interactive with everyone who had come down to congratulate them. I really want to be a part of the Yodhakaa family, and want to contribute to them in every way possible so that they become a huge favorite of everyone.

It was a few weeks after that incident that I've described above happened. Maya had called me and told me that she was scared as it was her practical exam that day. I sent her a text "Say Krishnam Vande Jagat Gurum and go write your exam". She replied, "Was listening to it!".