Tag Archives: Celebrity

Im-mortal!

18 Sep

Im-mortal ~ a tribute to a true Legend & pondering about how mortal even such legends are – especially in the fickle human memory! 

Yesterday was the birth centenary (not your hilarious annual celebration of the day you stepped out to survive this silly world) of a once-in-a-lifetime… Nah… Once-in-a-millennium… Uh, huh… Once-in-a-creation kind of artisan, whose name is synonymous with her craft. Yet, as far as Swamy knows, none of the prime time media – including the most democratic of ’em all, the Social Media – did much to commemorate the momentous occasion!

Graphic: Awards, accolades & global recognition for the legendary MuSician (source: msstribute.org)

Before we get to the name, here are a few (there are very few in the entire history of human existence, btw) parallels, to give you a perspective of what we’re conversing about…

Football (no, we won’t call it soccer, like the unsure citizens of the global big brother nation) – Pele’

ScienceEinstein (no silly comparisons with Edison et al here, he remains incomparable)

WritingTwain (very debatable, but let’s just go with the longevity here)

ArtMichelangelo (we can add Craft too here as he dabbled in far too many things, so well)

PoetryBhArathi (as far as Swamy is concerned, there has been no one as versatile & skilled as the MahAkavi

ComposingBeethoven (yep, there are far too many like Back et al, but no one will have any problem with nodding their head for the big B)

PhilosophySages who wrote the Upanishads (if you haven’t read them, then you’ve no idea about the purpose of your human birth)

ActingChaplin (you’ve no idea – just shut up & go watch his silent classics)

StrategyChAnakyA (start reading his ArthasAstra, before buying yet another strategy tome) 

AutomobileFord (“you can have the model-T in any colour as long as it’s black” – ‘nuf said)

DefianceGandhi (just imagine the ‘half-naked fakir’ standing up against the once-mighty empire where the sun never sets – according to them, of course)

Leadership – Captain Cool aka MS Dhoni (just Google him & you’ll know why)

Guess you have a fair – even if only faint – idea of where we’re getting to by now.

Graphic: Life time line of the legendary vocal artist who simply has no equal (source: msstribute.org)

The legend – truly, in every sense of the word – we’re conversing about is MS Subbulakshmi, fondly known as MS Amma. She’s to Classical (& Devotional) Music what Pele’ is to Football (& all the aforementioned greats were to their respective art / craft / chosen space). 

She was popular at the age of 10. The popularity graph kept going up, up & away, defying celebrity gravity, all the way to her being awarded the Bharat Ratna – the highest civilian honour in India. She sang all over the globe, including the UN. Heck, even Gods wake up daily listening to her melodious rendering of their praise (e.g. Venkatesa Suprabhatam rendered by her is officially used in Lord Venkatachalapathy aka Balaji temple at Thirumala to wake the Lord up, daily – incidentally, millions of households too wake up with her signing the same – even today).

Her list of honours knew no limit, yet she remained humble all her life.

Her remuneration & gifts were sizeable, yet she donated most of it for charity (still goes on).

Her popularity was more than heads of states and celluloid celebrities, yet she remained intensely private.

She could’ve easily been a Diva, yet chose to remain deeply rooted in devotion – to her craft & the creator.

She went all over the world with an entourage, and she always travelled, stayed and ate with them, without any airs. 

She was the symbol of devotion, piety, simplicity, eminence, elegance, grace, gratitude, benevolence, humility, loyalty and a lot more things that we hardly see in a celebrity today.

Yet, this once-great nation seem to have collectively ignored this legendary performing artist’s existence, on the momentous occasion of her birth centenary. Other than a few concerts by true devotees (who saw her as divine incarnate) and probably a commemoration lecture or two, the voice that still wakes up millions – including the Gods themselves – has already faded away!

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Human memory (& loyalty) is a fickle thing. It forgets greatness easily – especially when the great ones aren’t around anymore. Humans are silly beings stuck in their mUlAdhAra chakra, who will remember only things that they can feel and experience with their sense organs, collectively. 

Someone like MS – arguably the greatest classical + devotional artist of all time – is still remembered when they hear her Suprabhatam or Sahasranamam in the morning. But that’s only one of the 5 senses – auditory. As soon as the song is done, she fades away from their pointlessly busy survival mind. Until the next morning.

Sujatha – arguably the most diverse & exceptionally talented (& needless to say, hugely successful) is remembered during the annual book fair. Or while reading one of his many amazing books – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, classics, science, God… You name it. And then forgotten entirely, until the next book.

MahAkavi BhArathi – arguably the greatest poet that ever walked the earth – had just a handful of people attending his funeral. His poems will make even a Millennial kid go wow, even today. 

KBalachandar – arguably the most daring director ever in the history of Tamil cinema (& TV), who also happened to mentor two of his greates superstars Kamal Hassan & Rajinikanth – is hardly remembered by the fans now.

Tagore, Palke, Premchand, Rajaji, Balasaraswathi, Mali, Ravi varma, Ray, RK brothers, Patel, GD Naidu, Sarabhai, Ramanujan, Dhyan Chand, … 

All of them, and a lot many more global celebrities – sportspersons, musicians, actors, writers, leaders, business icons, astronauts, artists, architects… – who once were celebrated as immortals, are all probably lamenting at how mortal they indeed are, muttering with a sigh, “I’m-mortal”! 

MS probably isn’t regretting it one bit because she treated her celebrity status – almost unheard of in her time, making her even more mystical – adulation, awards, accolades like one of those enchanting sarees she used to wear for her concerts. Useful & valuable at that point in time, but of no importance whatsoever once the concerns was over. 

In a way,

MS was a Yogini. Nada Yogini. Music was her sadhana


Singing with utmost devotion, from the core of her being, was her daily penance – to attain the ultimate liberation. She seems to have been created, nurtured, celebrated and protected by the creator exclusively to sing his praise (that her husband + mentor was named Sadasivam isn’t a coincidence). And boy did she do that.. And how!

MS, the mortal being, became the MuSic, the immortal being! 

You may cherish Swamy’s hymn tribute to the true legend of Classical & Devotional Music MS Subbulakshmi here ~ Isaiyarasi (இசையரசி – Queen of Music) 

You may know more about the legendary perfect performing artist here ~ msstribute.org

Who cares if the media didn’t care to acknowledge the immortality of her MuSic? They must be too busy chasing the next Im-mortal story. Until the next one. BAUHumbug!

Slide an audio CD of MS into your hi-fi or just search for one of her many immortal songs like Kurai Ondrum Illai on your smartphone or tablet. Close your eyes & open your ears. Listen deeply as her immortal voice caresses the deeply hidden devotion within you. Let the joy drops, i.e. tears flow. Repeat. Until you comprehend why (& how) MS is synonymous with MuSic!  

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

~Swamy

@PrakashSwamy   

The Tolerant Indian!

25 Nov
I found the sun shining bright when I woke up, warming the planet, just like any other sunny day.
I found the earth spinning around the solar system, tolerant of the evolved beings’ misdeed, just like any other earthy day.
I found the plants wafting in the gentle morning breeze, waving at me, just like any other breezy day.
I found the stagnant rainwater, shimmering in the light, with nowhere to go, just like any other rainy day.
IndiaMap3I found my 4-legged daughters waging their tails & licking my face, just like any other lovely day.
I found my family up and moving around, meditating & doing daily chorse, just like any other busy day.
I found my son going through text books, solving problems and preparing for his exam, just like any other studious day.
I found the electricity was out at 11pm yesternight and back at 7am today, just like any other powerless day.
I found my phone, tablet, PC, laptop, broadband, cellular & satellite TV connections working fine, just like any other connected day.
I found the newspaper filled with negativity delivered a bit late, just like any other newsy day.
IndiaMap4
I found yet another celebrity in the eye of the media storm, worried about intolerance, just like any other noisy day.
I found that he singlehandedly revived the whole intolerance noise that fell silent, just like any other vociferous day.
I found the loony toonish high & mighty jumping on the bandwagon merrily, just like any other talkative day.
IndiaMap1I found the head of my nation, chosen by people like me, mocked time and again by lackeys, just like any other chamchagiri day.
I found the high decibel voices of intolerance have enjoyed the good Life for long, in my motherland, just like any other thankless day.
I found my nation’s culture, wealth & might have been systematically eroded by marauding invaders, just like any tyrant’s day.
I found those who strain their vocal chord daily to denounce my nation’s greatness are intolerant about its potential revival, just like those invaders of the glorious old days.
IndiaMap5I found I can go about doing my business without fear, daily, in my country, when even developed nations declare emergency, just like any other terror-filled day.
I found I can aspire to do whatever I want, despite my birth still decides where & what I can study and where do I work, just like any other competitive day.
I found living happily in my own property, bought with my own hard earned money, being able to go where I want and do what I want, enjoying the rights of my citizenship, just like any other lawful day.
I found renting my own property to a group of majority & minority friends wasn’t a challenge, just like any other regular day.
IndiaMap7I found my nation’s sports teams filled with talented majority & minority players winning laurels at the global level, just like any other sporty day.
I found I can walk into a store or sign in an app and buy whatever I want, just like any other business-as-usual day.
I found myself hearing from loudspeakers the rendering of prayer 5 times a day, the sermons on Sundays and devotional hymns on gods & goddesses on festival days, just like any other religious day.
I found myself able to follow a Guru of my choice, practice Yoga of any kind and pursue the omnipresent Truth, without entangling myself in religious beliefs, just like any other spiritual day.
IndiaMap6I found myself marveling at the hardworking police, fire service & armed service personnel going about their business regulating, protecting, rescuing & helping all in need, just like any other thankful day.
I found myself speechless at the willingness of the armed service personnel to lay down their Life to protect my safety, just like any other respectful day.
I found myself pondering the pointless intolerance debate stalling progress of my nation forward, day after day, just like any other past-dwelling day.
I found myself wondering at so many elitist glitterati having nothing to do productively but yak, yak & yak about intolerance, just like any other vacuous day.
I found myself simmering at the wily politicians always willing to sing along, while enjoying all the perks of being a politician, just like any other silly day.
IndiaMap9I found the commoner going about his/her business, trying to eke out a living, working hard for the love of the family, just like any other hard day.
I found the elected leader of my proud nation, diligently going about his business to elevate my India from developing to developed status, just like any other focused day.
I found those who hung on to power, along with their chamchas & chelas, still find it hard to digest that their time robbing my nation of its greatness over, just like any other regressive day.
IndiaMapI found myself content, hopeful and joyful, when I remain a simple citizen, keeping aside all my titles & awards, celebrity status, intellectual might and political clout, thinking about what I can I do to make my nation move ahead and grow, just like any other thoughtful day.
I found myself dreaming of a developed nation where any Indian will be proud to learn the culture, produce goods, earn and spend honestly, share and care willingly and join hands with fellow Indians to make my once-great nation great again, just like any hopeful day.
I found myself ignoring the nagging noise, brushing aside crude criticism and focusing on useful action based on valuable insights, just like any other progressive day.
I found myself being able to do useful, valuable, purposeful and respectful things, when I really start doing things than just talking about things, just like any other purposeful day.
I found myself being among billions of peaceful, hopeful and proud Indians who love their motherland, family, friends, neighbours & even strangers, irrespective of religion, caste or status, just like a positive day.
india-outline-map
I am the simple Indian, who tolerates competitive survival in a complex world.
I am the studious Indian, who tolerates ridiculous rote learning to gain knowledge.
I am the hardworking Indian, who tolerates lack of recognition to earn for living.
I am the loving Indian, who tolerates hatred of any form to show love is God.
I am the caring Indian, who tolerates apathy of any kind to care for needs of fellow beings.
I am the argumentative Indian, who tolerates vehement opponents to highlight the value of his point.
I am the religious Indian, who tolerates any insult to my most tolerant religion, which was magnanimous enough to accept not only different perspectives of Truth but even dissent and other faiths.
I am the non-celebrity Indian, who tolerates the smug indifference of celebrities to show respect for talent.
I am the non-intellectual Indian, who tolerates the superficial noise of pseudo secularist intellectual glitterati to show intelligence is more precious than intellect.
I am the powerless Indian, who tolerates the abuse of power by netas & babus to show the powerful their place at election time.
I am the rational Indian, who tolerates irrational arguments against an elected government, to show change is hard but inevitable.
I am the nondescript Indian, who tolerates the arrogance of high & mighty to show being faceless doesn’t mean being rightless.
I am the diverse Indian, who tolerates the shameless attempts by politicians to use the diversity for their survival to show diversity has been, is and will continue to be my strength. 
india_map_animation_created_by_samnad.s_kudappanamooduI am the nationalist Indian, who tolerates the taunts of all trying to destabilize my nation to show being patriotic is my birthright.
I am the intrepid Indian, who tolerates waves of invasions to loot my nation and convert my faithful to show the depth of my greatness.
I am the united Indian, who tolerates all pathetic attempts to divide my nation to show we all are Indians, united by our faith in this great nation.
I am the modern Indian, who tolerates any horrendous act to portray my nation in poor light to show ancient glory can help fuel modern progress.
I am the proud Indian, who tolerates insensitive comments about my motherland’s glorious past to show she’ll regain the glory all over again.
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I am The Tolerant Indian, whose tolerance is boundless. And strengthened by an ancient vibrant culture that was inventive, progressive, liberating and empowering, many millennia ago, when many so-called developed nations weren’t even born. 
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So are you. At least supposed to be, being born in this great nation. If you aren’t, for whatever reason, I am tolerant enough to discuss your needless apprehensions, clarify your unnecessary doubts and help you know and appreciate my motherland’s greatness.
Mera Bharat Mahaan!
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Be joyful & spread the cheer 🙂
And don’t ever forget to love & respect your nation!
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@PrakashSwamy
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Note: If you prefer to listening than reading, click here to listen to “The Tolerant Indian!” in Swamy’s voice.
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