Music is just an art, but have you ever thought about why some songs comfort our hearts? What do our ears have to do with our emotions? Does the human body contain any subway station? No! It is because of our brain’s reaction. 

Travelling through the air, vibrations get into the canal of our ear. Those vibrations tickle the eardrum and are transmitted into an electrical signal for transiting the auditory nerve to the brain stem. That is where it is reassembled into something that we perceive as music. In response to this process, a chemical called dopamine is being released in the brain. This is responsible for our feel-good mood, and this is the exact chemical that is released at the moments of having sex and enjoying food. You know what? We get turned on more by a song’s pitch than our partner’s touch. (Call me a bitch, but I ought to teach.)

Songs play such an important role that they should be listed among the basic needs of human survival. Though, they are mostly used as mere sleeping pills. Yes, we lack basic music listening skills. 

While hearing a song, we only need headphones, whereas while listening to a song, we need to be alone. We can cook, flip through a book or check Facebook while (h)earing music, but if we want to listen to music, we should never multitask. As songs speak to us, they seek our silence. We can achieve this only through our practice, not through anyone’s advice. So, I seize this chance to summarise my favourite songs, for I believe that we will listen to them if we learn them. 

As a start of this part, I have taken a song from the Tamil film “Paarthale Paravasam” directed by K. Balachander

காதலே ஜெயம்
நீதான் என் தேசிய கீதம் ரஞ்சனா ரஞ்சனா ரஞ்சனா ரஞ்சனா

“Love is victory,” says a man to his lady. Winning her over may seem to be a victory, but how can loving her itself be a victory? Isn’t it such a mystery? 

I don’t talk about the rose, but to love is nothing but to lose. We may have failed in love, but we may not have failed to love. Despite the bites of loss, our fight for success itself is a success. So, it’s not that getting the person whom we love but loving the person whom we have is an achievement. Thus, the poet has penned that love is a success. 

“You are my national anthem, Ranjana!” the man exclaims. This metaphor is different, and yet it is excellent. It is to explain that just like our nation, what every woman expects is respect. Comparing her to the national anthem is considering her as a respected woman.

And I wondered why the man had called the lady ‘ரஞ்சனா when her name is Chella in the movie. This urged me to search for the meaning behind his naming. To speak of Indian origin, the name ‘Ranjana’ means ‘delightful’. Though, in Korean, it does mean  ‘the gift of God’.

“என் ஒரே பாடலே
உயிர்க் காதலே
என் மரியாதைக்கு உரியவளே மனதிற்கு இனியவளே”

“My only song!” he has called her. Loving only one lady can’t be wrong, but how could he love only one song? I can never be monogamous when it comes to music. 

Or perhaps this is only an indirect comparison to the national anthem again. 

His mention of this woman as the “love of life” is not only nice but also wise. Life(உயிர்) is the only thing that will survive until we are alive. However, we can’t see where it is. Thanks to our eyes and science! Life is just like what love is. All those left unseen will remain very clean as said by John Keats in the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn“.

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter,” Keats wrote. The love of life doesn’t make any sound when we bond. There is no need for the internet or to be intimate. This love will always be as it is, regardless of distance and existence. Thus, to prove that his love for the lady is beyond the body, the man has honoured her as his love of life. 

My respected lady!” the man has addressed her. What a phrase! I can spend my whole life explaining this. He is the man who knows that even in love, he should give both the rose and respect. And the possessive pronoun he has used here is perfect. 

As he put it, his sweetheart is “sweet to heart”, for he sees her through his inner eyes.

“காலையும் நீயே மாலையும் நீயே
கனவிலும் நீயே நனவிலும் நீயே”

“You are my morning and evening, and I see you both when I’m dreaming and I’m conscious,” he says. These two sentences are too simple to see, but I’m curious to know if the opposite of the word ‘consciousness’ is ‘dreams’. To my surprise, the answer is yes. The theory of dreams by Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, suggests that dreams may reflect the unconscious. What else, then?  Let’s move on!

“என் பிறவா மழலைகளை
உன் விழியில் பார்க்கிறேன்
என் பிறவா மழலைகளை விழியில் பார்க்கிறேன்
நான் எழுதாக் கவிதைகளை மொழியில் கேட்கிறேன்
உன் மொழியில் கேட்கிறேன்”

“I see my unborn babies in your eyes and hear my unwritten poems in your words,” the man says. This verse is so versatile. The poet has written it with hundreds of meanings. Though, I try to explain some of them.  

As he lets out that he sees his fetus in her every eye, he may convince us those eyes are uteri. Or if those eyes are the fetuses themselves, isn’t her face a uterus? This poet is so precious! He can feel a fetus in a woman’s eyes, not just fish or flowers like other lovers.

The man is good at not only perceiving her world but also conceiving her words. He hears all of his unwritten poems as she speaks. 

What is it that the poets need except babies and poems? This poet has got what he wanted. 

“நான் வேண்டிய வரங்களை
வரவில் பார்க்கிறேன்
உன் வரவில் பார்க்கிறேன்
என் விடியா இரவுகளை
என் விடியா இரவுகளை
உறவில் பார்க்கிறேன்
உன் உறவில் பார்க்கிறேன்”

“I see needed blessings in your presence and feel not-yet-dawned nights in your relationship,” she sings.

It is not odd for a lady to feel his man as her God. Here, the same is happening, for she thinks that he brings all the blessings. Yes, if we can admire the essence of a flower and the presence of our lover, that is everything. 

The night she said has not dawned yet. It’s still dawning, not to call it a morning. Only nerds and seeds know its meaning. It is as painful as it is pleasant. She explains that their relationship is just like this. 

“காதலே ஜெயம் காண்பதுன்மயம்”

“Love is victory. It’s all you wherever I see,” he says. 

It is sure that if you are in love, nature will show your lover everywhere. Isn’t it nice to see the whole world in your man’s eyes and his eyes in the whole world? 

“உடலால் வரும் சுகத்தை உதறப் பார்க்கிறேன்
வெறும் உடலால் வரும் சுகத்தை உதறப் பார்க்கிறேன்
நாம் இறந்தும் இறவாநிலை

“I endeavour to throw away mere physical pleasure and expect to achieve immortality though we die,” he states in the second verse. 

My folks, you are wrong if you think that he talks only about the joy of sex. It is the second line that you should focus on. He wants them to be immortalised. Thus, to tell the truth, he prepares to renounce the pleasure of life on earth, as he prefers to be remembered even after their death. 

“எல்லா எழுத்துக்கும் உயிர் தொடக்கம் உயிர் தொடக்கம்
என் எல்லா உணர்வுக்கும்
என் எல்லா உணர்வுக்கும்
நீ தொடக்கம் நீ தொடக்கம்”

“The beginning of all the letters is a vowel, and the beginning of all my feelings is you,” she responds. Like a vowel to every letter is her lover to make everything better. 

“காதலே ஜெயம்
அது கடவுளின் குணம்…

என் மரியாதைக்கு உரியவனே
இந்த மண்ணிலும் பெரியவனே”

“Love is victory. It is God’s quality. My respected beloved! You are greater than this world,” she reacts with what she got. 

God is the one who loves everyone. Of course, we love him because he loves us. Those who can’t love can’t find the Lord, for he is love, not hatred

This song expresses the extent of equal respect in every aspect of it. She returns the respect that she has got. To add to this respect, she regards him as greater than her world. 

“நீதான் என் தேசிய கீதம் ரஞ்சனா ரஞ்சனா ரஞ்சனா ரஞ்சனா”

My hand doesn’t want to bend. Though, this is the song’s end. Vaali is the poet who wrote it. I feel this is one of his best. I want to thank A.R. Rahman, the musician, for making this melodious medicine. I can’t believe that this is Balram’s first song in Tamil, but it is. I want to ask him how he felt when he pronounced the word ‘மழலைகளை‘ so plainly and beautifully. Both his and Chithra‘s every vocable is very notable. I thank these soulful singers, the musician’s magical fingers and all those creative thinkers who produced such a masterpiece. 

Thank you!

I’ll meet you with the next song. Until then, don’t stop. Just keep listening.

About the author

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Reshma Selvaraj

Hello, my name is Reshma Selvaraj. I am a graduate with a bachelor's degree in English. I am from a village called Kombadi Thalavaipuram in Tuticorin, a southern district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil is my mother tongue. Though I studied English as a second language during my schooling, I enjoyed reading English poems and essays. As years passed by, I enrolled to study the literature of English in a college. That was when I began to read a lot of books both in Tamil and English. Thus I started to have a dream of becoming a writer. I have already written and published two short stories. The first short story, entitled “I have an interview tomorrow”, depicts the life of a disabled graduate searching for a job, and the second short story, titled “Aval Oru Maram”, defines the deforestation happening in the Western Ghats of India. This blog is to show the world that I am becoming what I wanted to become, and I hope that it will help you to become what you want to become.

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