“Paatukku naan paadupatten, andha paatukkal palavidham daan.”
At Amma’s prodding, I started to learn vocal carnatic music when I was in 2nd grade. On some days, the motivation to go to class was so high that I would make Amma carry me to class pretending that I just couldn’t walk another step (shameful, no?). I continued learning paatu for about five years with varying degrees of interest depending on the time of day. I finally discontinued lessons permanently when I reached 8th grade on the pretext that I was too busy with school to waste time on frilly activities like paatu. Not to mention that, with my habit of reading all my school lessons out loud in an effort to learn them, I had no voice left to speak of (or speak with).
Ironically, felt pangs for paatu class right after I discontinued lessons. I remember riding my bike around the neighborhood a few weeks later, and standing outside an apartment building mesmerized by the sound of paatu classes coming from within. And wondering whether I should confess to Amma that I was actually pining for paatu class, and ask her to enquire if there was a paatu teacher in that apartment building that I could continue to learn from. Never acted on that thought, though (wonder why?). So, all that remains right now as evidence of the five years of paatu class is a handful of varnams and keerthanais. Which, as you know, I do belt out with aplomb during golu season. But, you need at least a half a dozen songs to circulate during golu. I mean, it is getting to be more difficult to remember whether or not I already sang the same song at the same house last year (and the year before that) than to remember the actual krithis.
But, help is at hand. My friend, L, who has a lovely singing voice (and more training in carnatic music than self), is now a paatu teacher herself. She has recently started recording songs in her voice to make learning easier for the children in her class. And, very generously and thoughtfully, she has offered to send those recordings over to me as well (big thanks, L!!). I listened to the first couple that she sent me. So simple and yet so amazing. I am v. excited to be learning new paatus again, and look forward to teaching my munchkins too. Perhaps if I feel brave enough, I will post my recording of the songs here after I learn them.
And, this time, I fully intend to stick with the lessons for at least as long as L’s other students. 😉