Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Glad to escape from music

One of the plus points of moving out of India was that I could finally escape from the sounds of blaring into my unhappy ears from the streets and shops of Bangalore. The music would stream into my home, even if I shut the doors and windows. The  music put on loud speakers at   religious functions in parks and even on the roads would pour into my ears, annoying me intensely! The music was varied and I disliked all of it!

I dislike Carnatic classical music and I was forced to hear it at various places. I thought I had finally escaped from Carnatic classical when I moved to Canada but it has pursued me! My husband loves Carnatic and  recently, he's taken to listening to it late at night. I am unable to sleep though I changed rooms.  I can escape this onslaught only if I sleep in the basement, which I don't want to do...yet.

Another music I dislike is the wedding music at south India weddings i.e. the Nadaswaram. This is the loudest wind instrument I have ever heard in my life and the most annoying of all things to listen. Frankly, I think someone should check these musicians for hearing loss. Even the accompanying Thavil drum( like the  Tabala but I dont know the name of this drum in Kannada) is extremely loud and annoying to me.

The songs one  was forced to hear on various festival days on the streets of Bangalore was another major annoyance. I suffered for so many reasons. I like silence yet, I had to listen to these songs pouring out of loud speakers in the streets. Another annoying thing was that we had to listen to the same old songs for years and years! The songs were the same songs I have heard over 40 years and it's as if creativity is dead and no one could write new songs. For example, it was the song Gaja-mukha-ne ganapathi-ae, ne-na-ge van-dan-ne... on Ganesh Chaturti day.  Year after year after year, this song flowed into my unwilling ears. Decades ago, the songs were put on the radios, television channels and the street loudspeakers only the day of the festival. Now, they are played on the loudspeakers for weeks before and after the festival, giving headaches to people like me!

I once lived in  Gandhi bazar and with my luck, the house behind mine ran a music school. Students would practice the sa-re-ga-ma-pa-da-ni-sa at all times of day and night, which was a bit annoying. Truth be told, for some reason, these students did not annoy me much. But the veena(stringed instrument) & tabala (drums) practices were extremely annoying for me. It's not just the Carnatic vocal but Carnatic instrumental too which I find annoying.

Because I don't have 'good' taste in music, I enjoyed or tolerated the film music, the pop music and folk music in India. I did not like the Bhavageetegalu or the Sugama Sangeetha on the radio.

The daily prayers from the Mosques of Bangalore, a few times per day, over the loud speakers is another annoyance I am glad to have escaped from. If the mosque was very far and I heard it only faintly, it was okay or even nice but not if I had it  loud in my ears on old & scratchy loudspeakers!

Here in Canada, I am free from unwanted music except in malls, shops and restaurants. I like or can tolerate "western" music. Western music to Indians of my generation is every type of music coming from the west!

In the Indian and Pakistani restaurants of Toronto, the clients have to listen to Indian film music or film songs in instrumental music. Most of the restaurants play only music form the 60s and 70s and maybe 80s. I don't know if no good music ever came after the 80s decade or the owner of the restaurants is stuck in that era of music ! The Sri Lankan restaurants seem to play Indian Tamil film songs. My question, is why cant we eat Indian food at the Indian restaurant but listen to western music ? Why Indian food and Indian music? Why Tamil songs and Sri Lankan food? Why not rap or hip hop or country music with Indian food?

If I had my way, I would have barely audible music in the malls and eating spots of Toronto. 

Why did I write this piece? Because, I want to shout from the roof tops that I DONT LIKE CARNATIC CLASSICAL MUSIC. In India, I was always criticized for expressing this. Now I have the freedom to say what I want!

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