The first day of university and 22 things I wish I knew from day one

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Bougainvillaea flowers near NUS Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library aka NUS Biz Library, 2014.

The First Day of University

It’s been almost four years since that day. But I can still remember the first day of university just like it happened today. I went to the class with so much of excitement. I was excited about all the things that I was going to learn. All the people that I was going to meet. I was a tiny bit nervous too. The professor gave a brief introduction of himself. Subsequently, he started calling out each name in the class register to distribute the name tents. As he went down the list, I started thinking about how he will mispronounce my name to amuse myself. Each person I meet comes up with a weird pronunciation of my name. Sometimes they even add extra letters as if my name wasn’t long enough. Chandrika, Chandika, Chandralicka, Chandralekh, Chandralick, Chandralenkha. I have heard it all(I was wrong; a professor would call me “Daughter of Thanabalan” in the future but I didn’t know that then). When he was done with the B’s, I got ready to get up to collect my name tent(which is something that NUS Business students are too familiar with). The only issue was that he didn’t call my name. Maybe he is going to call me by my father’s name, “Thanabalan”. Nope. He started saying the U’s. He probably missed my name, I reassured myself. I waited until the end. He didn’t call out my name. My name was not on the list. I was in the wrong class. I got out of the class. I was more than half-an-hour late for my actual class. I was lucky; the prof was totally cool with it. When the prof started teaching, I remember just staring at the prof with my hands cupping my face and swinging lightly. You know like in the movie 3 idiots.

It was happening. I was feeling elated. Completely contented at that moment. I was going to study hard, get my first class honours and kick ass in life. Reality would kick in soon enough like a brick hitting a glass. (Score: Lekha- 0, Life-1) To reduce my disappointments, I shifted the goalpost nearer and nearer to myself. First class honours became second upper honours. Second upper honours became second lower honours. Before you look down on second lower honours or third class honours and say that “if you had worked hard enough, you would have gotten first class honours”, I would like to remind you that with the bell curve system, there would definitely be second upper and second lower honours. It’s almost like a rule of nature. It’s about whether you do better than the rest and that depends on so many other factors. Some don’t spend three hours daily on the train. Some don’t have to work part-time to foot the tuition fees. It is not a level playing field. Some would call these plain excuses. I call them privileges(or the lack of it). That was one of the first lessons university had to offer.

Sometimes I do wonder if a university education is absolutely necessary. Since the content being taught is from textbooks, I could have gained that knowledge from the textbook itself. I could have gone to the library instead. Like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Besides, there are tons of free online content on YouTube. I could have chosen what I wanted to study without being forced to take a set of core modules. I could have gained that knowledge without having to pay over $30k for that paper. But that’s it. University education is just a paper qualification. A ticket to that job interview.

Okay, I shall not be so pessimistic. To be fair, university teaches you life skills and a lot about life. But I do wish I had known some things from the start itself.

22 Things I Learnt*

*Follow at your own discretion.

  1. Instead of having four hours of uninterrupted sleep, sleep for an hour, do work for an hour, sleep for another hour, and do work for another hour. That way you would have completed work for two hours as well as slept for two hours. Sleeping for four hours straight would leave you more tired than this plan. This is not healthy. But this sleeping pattern helped me to get through university life as well as get some sleep.
  2. Doing work at 2am after getting some sleep is much more productive than doing work through the night without getting any sleep.
  3. Making someone travel 3 hours(to and fro) for a half an hour meeting is NOT cool. Hint: Skype and Google Hangouts exist for a reason.
  4. If anything can go wrong, it will(Murphy’s law). You can never be fully prepared to handle all uncertainties. But you can prepare to have the right attitude to deal with them.
  5. Chat rooms in the library can also be used for crying.
  6. Chai latte from The Spread will save lives.
  7. Be kind to others – even if you haven’t been treated well.
  8. You don’t have to react to everything immediately. You have no control over what happens to you but you have control over your reaction.
  9. Meditate. You’ll need it to stay sane – enough said.
  10. When submitting hardcopy handwritten assignments, make sure that all pages have been submitted. You might discover a page of your assignment buried beneath your lecture notes two days later. When that happens, say aal izz well and try not to faint. Haha!
  11. Say no’s. Skip the small talk.
  12. Don’t worry too much about not getting a job. Have faith in yourself.
  13. There will always be assignments and projects. Throw that aside and go out sometimes.
  14. Know that some prefer lies to truths. When your tutor asks if you have done your tutorial, say yes.  Kidding.
  15. Go beyond what’s taught in school with my favourite YouTube channel, The School of Life.
  16. Read. Not just fictional books but non-fiction books as well. I know that there are so many of them and that’s where the Blinkist app comes in. You can read the 15-minute summaries and if that particular book really interests you, you can go borrow it from a library or buy it.
  17. Evernote is a cool note-taking app to throw everything into. This is where my preliminary drafts and ideas for my blog posts and articles to read go.
  18. Solve the issue of having an excessive number of tabs on your Chrome browser when working on your projects with Toby
  19. Block out all those annoying ads on sites with Adblock. (This doesn’t actually have anything to do with university actually.)
  20. Block out all those distracting websites with Work Mode. (Pls continue reading my blog posts though. Haha)
  21. Better manage your time using the Pomodoro technique with Pomotasking.
  22. Have a particular music which you’ll listen to for high concentration work. These are mine:

I hope that this post was useful or interesting. At least a wee bit.

Note: I wasn’t paid for this post though I think that I should be. Haha!

Till my next post, STAY CURIOUS! 🙂

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A night to remember: Ilampirai!

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Technically, this is my first Facebook post(in this new account) and it’s going to be really long. I want to put my thoughts here while my memory is still fresh. Besides, there’s a likelihood that I would wake up tomorrow not remembering anything at all. Because last night(April 20) was such a night for me. Amazing! Awesome! Go ahead and throw in all the other cool synonyms to describe it. It really was that exciting. You know what, this is really going to be very long for a Facebook post even by my standards. I am going to bring this over to WordPress.

Yesterday I attended my last lesson and I was feeling overwhelmed. Okay, why am I digressing? Wait for my next post to learn more about that. Back to the story. Yesterday, I recited my original poems in இளம்பிறை | Ilampirai Tamil poetry and music night. I shared the stage with this group of passionate and talented people(in order of appearance Harini, Logaraj, Vignesh, Premikha, Dinu, Priyavadhana, Jayasutha, Subashini.). You can read the poems that I recited(and other poems that I have written for other events and occasions) here.

I was having the same feeling I had when I did Sangae Muzhangu. I actually can’t remember much of what happened when I was performing. I just felt like I was in a daze. Some kind of high. So I am going to go through bits and pieces of my thoughts in random order.

I was rehearsing with the musician Loga and I think I was annoying him quite a bit. Actually, I think among the eight poets, (yes, I just called myself a poet too. :P) I am the one who annoyed him the most with my song choices. Especially since I was feeling so panicky and all. Can I just say that he played so well? Beautiful. Instantly melts your heart. Mark my words. He’s definitely going places. But what weight do my words carry? You see, I felt the same way about Ilayaraja and AR Rahman when they first started and look at them now. Okay, I see all the rotten tomatoes flying right at me.

When the audience started slowly streaming in, I saw some familiar faces. And then I saw that particular face. And I thought to myself, “how am I going to go there and perform this in front of her?” My secondary school Tamil teacher who sparked my interest in Tamil language through Tamil songs. This 24-year-old girl felt like she was 14 again. Afraid of her Tamil teacher. No, it was more of respect. And then I remembered the kind of issues my poems revolve around. I only had one word in my head. Aiyoyo! But she didn’t recognise me. No eye contact established. Great. I am good to go.

Wow! Harini is doing an excellent job hosting. I remember watching her on Chutties Club and then years later, as a toolkit author in STYC 2016. Brain and beauty. Arivum azhagum. I should stop here. Actually, she’s done an excellent job planning and running this entire thing. How does she do all these? And so patiently. Wow! She also had to handle a lot of tough questions from all of us, especially me. Which level in NLB has the cleanest toilet? Okay, that was too much information. She’s also so engaging and talented. Her poems are so beautiful too. RESPECT.

I begin reciting my first poem. Wow, people are laughing(It’s the good kind of laughing. Supposed to be funny). I love these people. Such a nice audience, we have here. And they are clapping. Wait, did I go overboard with my second poem. Should I apologise? If I had said anything wrong… Nope, I’m not going to apologise. Did I just say that? Do I have an alter ego inside of me? I can’t remember much after that except that the music was so good and I was just standing there enjoying every bit of it. He could and should actually do a solo performance or something. And I am done with my poems.

Even as people praise me, I sometimes struggle to accept it because I usually brush it off as them just being too nice. But I know that if anyone from this particular list of people(that I have in my head) compliments me, I would accept it without refuting it. And that it’s these compliments that would make me extremely happy. It happened today. Someone that I have been following on Facebook for a long time complimented me. You know, I had even sent her an anonymous message on Sarahah before. The secret(not anymore) fangirl in me was so happy. I think after that, I was just floating around and for the rest of the compliments, I was just saying Nandri(Thank you) over and over again. Nothing else.

I must be blessed. Seeing my family at the end of it was very heartwarming(especially my anneh 🙂 ). My mum watching me be praised by some random person and the rare hug from my mum that followed was such a perfect moment…. for a Thirukural.

ஈன்ற பொழுதின் பெரிதுவக்கும் தன்மகனைச்
சான்றோன் எனக்கேட்ட தாய். | The mother who hears her son being called “a wise man” will rejoice more than she did at his birth.

My mum taught me this Thirukural (even before it was taught in school) and I remember writing this Thirukural in almost every other compo in primary school. Okay, this is getting too emo-sumo.

Every poem that I heard today was so well-written. Beautiful. செவிகளில் தேன் பாய்வது போல இருந்தது. Okay, I got reminded of my primary school compos and phrases like this that I sprinkled throughout the compo. Haha! Here are some final thoughts on this entire experience, poetry and Tamil. The last time I had formal Tamil education was when I was 16. That’s eight years back. One important thread that connects me to Tamil language, is music.

Tamil film songs. Not a day passes without me listening to a Tamil song. I might be in business formal attire and delivering a presentation on the SWOT analysis of a company but I would have probably been listening to Thakka Thaiyya during my train ride to school and lightly shaking my head. I might have been working on a report but I was probably listening to Thendral vanthu on loop. You get the idea. There have been days where I didn’t meet any Tamils at school. A day packed with project meetings and sectionals. But at the start of the day and at the end of the day, Ilayaraja, AR Rahman, Vidyasagar, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Deva, Anirudh, Karthik Raja, MSV, Vijay Anthony, SP Rishi Kumaar, Shabir, SA Rajkumar, etc would have all talked to me. Why am I talking to so many men on the train and who are they? They are all Tamil music directors.( why all men ah? :X) I hummed and nodded my head to the beat as a reply. No, actually it’s mainly the lyricists who are talking to me. Vaali, Vairamuthu, Pa Vijay, Thamarai, Snehan, etc. The poems. What’s so beautiful about poems is that you can put yourself out there yet still be covered up. Am I even making sense? Some people get it. Some people don’t. It’s open to so many interpretations. Each person relates to it in their own way. That’s what makes it so beautiful. The best part is that anyone with a basic knowledge of the language and a habit of listening to Tamil songs can write it. You too can be a poet. It might not be perfect and it doesn’t have to be (especially since perfect does not exist). But I think it should mean something to you. Something that you feel for. Something that makes you angry. Something that makes you sad. We all have our unique experiences, thoughts and imagination. Share it with the world. Through a poem. In Tamil. Don’t just let a select few monopolise it. What do they have that you don’t? More experience and talent? That was probably built over the years. But remember, everyone started somewhere. Instead of quoting someone else’s lyrics as captions for your photos posted, why not write short poems for your posts in Tamil and English. Yes, there’ll be a lag time but I believe that we would have more quality content too. #icallthispoetry Just try. Continue attending these cool events to be inspired. We need them. We need your poems. The world needs you! What are you going to do?

Thank you, Harini for this amazing opportunity. Thank you, fellow poets and musician, who made this event so much more fun. Thank you, my tribe, for all the love. Thank you, Sugan for the bunch of flowers and for sitting right at the front(I think it made me feel like this all these people seated in front of me were my friends). Thank you, God. It’s 6am. I should probably go sleep now.

P.S. My Tamil teacher said that she didn’t recognise me at first but as I read my poem she knew that it was me. Oh, and there was a hug. Of course. 😉

Updates on life and stuff

Hey everyone! I haven’t followed my schedule. It’s been about a month since my last post. My apologies for that. This final semester has been quite hectic. I find it funny that the number of modules that I am taking this semester does not correspond to the actual workload. On a side note, everyone needs to stop asking me if I have completed by FYP and if I have secured a job. The answer is NO and NO. Business students do not have FYP. I do, however, have FSP(Field Service Project) which is done and dusted. And unless you have a job suggestion or job offer, please don’t ask me that question. It’s an utter waste of my time and yours. Yes, I can’t wait to graduate. But no, I don’t have a job. I’ll start applying and get one in due time. Till then, chill bro! I will be back with a proper post real soon. Watch this space. I am really excited for my next post which is meant to be a nice conclusion to my uni life.

Till then stay curious. 

 

Oh my Kadavule(God)!

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Alternative title 1: What I learnt from going to the temple weekly for six years

Alternative title 2: Why I stopped believing in God (and later, started believing again)

I settled for the shortest one. So there you have it, “Oh my Kadavule(God)”. Religion is such a sensitive issue these days. Instead of exercising discretion when discussing religion, people just completely avoid talking about it. Isn’t that the approach that we have taken to a lot of other things as well? Is something causing you a problem? Ban it. Pull the plug. Stop it completely. Anyways, I am not proposing that my religion is better than yours. Quite the contrary. I have a pluralistic view. I respect all religions and I am not making any comparisons. To each his own. Who am I to be defending my religion or God? Maybe I shouldn’t be using the word “religion”. Spirituality works better I think. This is one person’s journey and I hope you see it as just that.

Now that we’ve got that sorted, let me get this post started. I was born a Hindu. Hmmm. That’s not quite right. Let me rephrase. I was born in a Hindu family. I was brought up the Hindu way (you know, the customs, rituals and everything). And so, I became a Hindu. I was a devout Hindu. A part-time vegetarian. With a thick layer of sacred ash and Kumkumam(red religious powder) were smeared on my forehead. Sacred threads bound my wrists. Unwavering belief in all the Gods and Goddesses.

What happened? What happened to change all that? It wasn’t one particular event. Firstly, Kamal Hassan happened. I rewatched his movies(Read: Dasavatharam and Anbe Sivam) and interviews. I realised that he did have a point. He got me questioning something that I have believed in all my life. He sparked a conflict between the rational side and the sentimental side of me. That was the starting point. Secondly, when a prayer goes unanswered, that questioning voice in my head grew louder. It was a prayer to keep someone alive. To not take them away. It didn’t go as I had intended. Thirdly, I became more aware of the divides that religion causes. This awareness came from a class in poly. A lecturer said during a General Education class,”Everything that you see as a mark of your identity. Everything that you take pride in. Those are the very things that divide you from others”. How had I been ignorant all these while? I backspaced what was written under the religion field from my Facebook profile. The entire world doesn’t need to know that. Along the way, I had more conversations with many more Kamal Hassans. I mean, atheists. While I was not convinced that there wasn’t any God at all, they did manage to raise a reasonable doubt. I was a confused child. Was I more steadfast when I was a child? I don’t know. Do these Gods and Goddesses really exist? Were they just carved stone? Was it all an imagination?

There were several recollections and incidents which reminded me why I believed in God in the first place and how these questions are insignificant. For six years, I used to go to a particular temple on Thursday mornings. One of the priests even asked me, “Paapa(An irritating word used to refer to young girls and babies), don’t you go to school?” It was a valid question. School started later on Thursdays in my secondary school. And when I was in poly, Thursdays were my free days in every semester. Of course, I didn’t tell him all that. But that’s how I managed to pull that off for six years. My uni schedule didn’t allow me to continue that and so my weekly templing routine came to a halt. I learnt a lot in those six years by merely observing. Well, since they say the same mantra most of the time, you eventually pick them up yourself. You don’t need the middleman anymore. :X

The more important observation was that the kind of crowd that you see on Deepavali or New Year is very different from the kind of crowd that comes to the temple on an ordinary Thursday or Friday. A good sum of them is actually there to seek remedy(parigaram) for their bad astrological state. They would be vegetarian on that day and light oil lamps. I periodically saw people stand in front of the idols of Gods with their hands pressed together and tears streaming down from closed eyes. I wondered what could be bothering them so much. What was the issue? I have no idea. And I prayed for her and eventually, she stopped coming. Again, I have no idea. A lady was praying for her dyslexic son to pass PSLE and get into a mainstream school. Another was praying for her abusive husband to stop drinking. Another was praying for her husband who was having an affair to come back to her. A man was praying for his ailing mother to get better. A lady was praying for her husband to be acquitted from a drug trafficking case which could have potentially have a noose around his neck. A lady was praying that her husband with mental issues does not get a relapse again. They all believed in a trident or a spear. A conch and a wheel. A Lotus flower. They believed that all those hands will come together to save them. To put an end to their sufferings. To help them reach their dreams.

Living a logical life might work for some. But believing in magic, vibes, destiny and God make the journey more interesting and wonderful. If you can share your burdens with someone(God), why are you choosing to tread on this craggy path on your own instead? Oh God, I sound preachy. This is really self-talk. Personally, there’s an incident that I always remember. Something undesirable had happened. I knew what was to come and I dreaded it. Why? I felt like the day could only get worse. I wish I could stay at home and sleep it off. But no, I had a graded presentation. I was feeling really weak. More mentally than physically. Completely helpless. I was considering just going back home and getting an MC. And then it happened. My mp3 player played Shakti Kodu. That song playing right at that time gave me all the strength to press on. To take that step forward. To climb the hill leading to my class in SP Business School. Haha! And I did it. I don’t intend to brag, but I aced that presentation. Subsequently, things got better as well. I hear you realists saying that it was just a coincidence. I choose to believe that maybe it was God reminding me that he was there for me and that I was not alone.

Last year, I met a social worker at an Halfway House to do ground sensing for a project. He looked me in the eye and said I don’t care what people say but the people who don’t relapse back into abusing drugs after they’ve been released are the ones with strong spiritual belief-whatever the God is. Others who are also able to achieve that are those who had strong support from their family, friends, or self. Not everyone is blessed with that.  If the belief in God helps you breathe better, gives you strength to wake up, then believe in God. Today and tomorrow. Whether or not God exists becomes out of the question, doesn’t it? Besides, most people who engage in philanthropic acts and/or social work/social enterprises are driven by spiritual belief. So well, religion isn’t all that bad, is it?

This post was just sentimental me trying to reason with my logical self. Maybe not everything you do requires an explanation. :X

Till my next post, stay curious.

Weddings and Marriages.

My blog turned one two days back. To celebrate this, quote “TLLLB” at any shop to buy something that you don’t need at a discounted price for the whole of this month. Okay, that was a joke. In the past 12 months, I have written 23 posts(This is the 24th post). I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. On that note, if you know someone who would enjoy reading the kind of stuff I write about(not sure what genre my writing falls under. Personal essays?), do share it with them!

This post touches on weddings and marriages.

4 reasons why I love Hindu weddings

  1. It’s the time to celebrate!

In too many Tamil movies, marriages are depicted as vibrant and exuberant celebrations.

Singaporean Hindus have only one public holiday and that’s Deepavali. We have plenty of other festivals like Thaipusam. But let’s not go there now. :X Naturally, weddings are a perfect excuse for a celebration. Almost like a festival. Sometimes, they are even more exciting than other festivals with all the festivities. Colourful traditional costumes. The grand decorations. The scent of flowers and sandalwood(and subsequently, Briyani). Exciting, isn’t it?!

It doesn’t end there. It’s high on entertainment too. The bride and groom entrances make the weddings these days all the more entertaining. Guests actually look forward to them. They would all dig out their phones from their pockets or bags to record them. Couples don’t need to engage videographers and photographers for that matter. Haha! :X

2. Good Food!

If the weddings are held at temples(which usually is the case for most Hindu weddings), the food has to be vegetarian. I love vegetarian Indian food. This one reason is sufficient to explain my love for Indian weddings actually. You might also get laddoos in colourful plastic wrappers as door-gifts. That’s a bonus!

3. Love is in the air

After the wedding rituals are over, they usually play some really nice lovey-dovey songs. While savouring the Briyani and all the masalas, those songs get you into a certain mood. I can’t quite describe it. The same mood that you get into during the Valentine’s Day season. You feel light. Like you’re floating. Lovey-dovey. Then you get slightly angry when you realise that you don’t actually have a love interest in your life. But the songs get you back into the lovey-dovey mood. You realise that you are actually in love with someone. As a matter of fact, a lot of someone’s. The music composer, the lyricist, the singer, the actor who acted in those songs, the director. It’s quite amazing how much music and love are related. Are we really in love if we don’t actually sing a song while thinking about that person? Haha! :X

But it’s not just the songs that are played after the wedding. It’s the entire mood of the event. Maybe it’s just the movies that I have watched. Or just one movie in particular.

I thought that I would see Madhavan in a wedding that I attend. Nope, that didn’t happen. Haha! Okay, ignore this last part.

4. Everyone’s your relative.

When they said யாதும் ஊரே, யாவரும் கேளிர்/yaathum oorae yaavarum kelir (To us all towns are one, all men our kin), I don’t think they meant it literally. But if you’re an Indian who has attended a wedding of a relative, you would meet a lot of new relatives. Technically, they’re not new relatives. They’ve always existed in the background. You just didn’t know about them because you’ve never met them. Most of the time, they would have probably met you before. Like when you were born. Some would go on to pinch your cheeks and tell you how much you have grown(Mindvoice: Of course, I have grown. I mean the last time you saw me was when I was a baby! Haha!). If you’re unlucky, you would also get asked when you’re getting married. After they’re gone, I ask either of my parents, who that person is. The explanation of how you’re related to that person is worthy of a thesis. Okay maybe not. Your mother’s mother’s sister’s brother-in-law’s sister-in-law’s sister’s granddaughter’s brother’s sister. If you decoded it, that’s the relationship between you and you. Jokes aside, I find it fascinating how I have so many relatives. Weddings are also when you realise that a couple of your classmates are actually related to you. Conversations with these friends who have now become relatives at the wedding definitely would have the two words, “Small world!”. Haha! Oh yes, it is.

Marriages

Why do so many marriages fail?

Someone wise(you know who you are) once told me that weddings and marriages are two different things. She went on to say that getting confused with them is the root of key problems that the couple faces. Indeed. According to the Cambridge dictionary, the former is a marriage ceremony and any celebrations that follow it while the latter is a legally accepted relationship between two people in which they live together. Almost all weddings are happy ones but not all marriages are happy ones. A wedding is a one-day affair(pun intended). A marriage is (ideally) a life-long affair. Making vows, having the hen’s night/bachelor night, planning the wedding, posing for photos, designing the invitation cards, distributing the invitation cards are all fun things that build up to the wedding which builds up to the marriage(a lifelong merger). Putting the toilet seat down, taking care of your partner when they’re sick, choosing whose house to go for Deepavali first, deciding which of the two conflicting events to go to, deciding on the child’s name, deciding whether to continue working, deciding whether to pursue further studies are the not-so-fun operational things to do after the marriage.

Happily ever after

As a five-year-old kid, my ambition was to marry a rich man, have many kids and live happily ever after. Apart from the ridiculousness of desiring rich men, and having many kids(in my defence, I was clueless about how babies come to exist), the idea of a happily ever after coming after marrying and having kids is quite hilarious. That’s the idea that fairy tales have sold to me and other little girls and some boys. We place so much emphasis on getting married(This is because this is the only relationship that we actually have a say in. We don’t get to choose our mothers, father, or siblings, do we?). Marriage is the be-all and end-all sort of a thing. It brings the promise of a happily ever after. No problems. Flowers. Chocolates. Sunshine. Moonlight. All those cheesy stuff. Well, that doesn’t actually exist.

When you grow up, you realise that marriages are often joked to be like death. Both come at the end of the movie and mark the end of the story. But in real life, your life doesn’t end after you’re married.

The right one.

Life as always throws all kinds of troubles right on your face. You have to face everything with your partner. That’s when you realise that your choice of partner is pivotal. The Prince Charming. The right one. The destined one. The perfect one. If you marry him, everything will be perfect. Like Barbie and Ken. Suriya and Jyothika. But just like how there’s no perfect mother, father, sister, or brother, there’s no perfect husband or wife. Who knows what happens behind closed doors? All these romanticised ideas have ruined love. Like all things in life, to sustain something long term like a marriage, effort is needed. In the current age, social media creates an illusion of a lot of greener grass. That means more effort is needed. The very fundamental requirement is that you both complement each other. When companies merge, which basically has one company acquiring another company, it’s called a merger. In mergers, the market value of the acquiree company’s assets and liabilities is often much less than what is paid by the acquirer company to buy the acquiree company. That premium that is paid is often attributed to the synergy that will be created through the merger. I am sorry for comparing companies to human beings. But I think the logic applies to marriages too. There needs to be some kind of synergy. A company interacts with various groups and stakeholders like customers, employers, suppliers, etc. Similarly, human beings have different groups of people that we depend on and interact with for various reasons. We can’t just expect that right one to be supporting us in every aspect. Afterall, expectations lead to disappointments, don’t they? I think this deserves a separate post, so I shall not discuss it further here.

Pressures to get married

It gets even more complicated because some people who get married, do so because they feel pressured to do so not because they’re ready and in love. I recently realised that a couple of my classmates are married with kids. I still think of myself as a kid sometimes. I can’t imagine myself having a kid now. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that their decision to marry is wrong and my decision to not marry is right. I am just saying that everyone’s on their own journey, pursuing different things and expecting someone to get married just because they are of a certain age is just ridiculous. If they’re not ready, getting married might not be the most ideal thing to do.

Succumbing to the pressure of marriage and subsequently, kids will only snowball into a bigger problem into the future.

Let’s not get married!

Quite a number of marriages end in divorce/separation. There are some marriages where they live together but don’t love each other anymore. Sometimes, they stay in it just for the kids. If marriages are so problematic and difficult, why can’t we just do away with it? The other alternatives aren’t that great.

So much talk about marriage. Sigh.

I would like to end off with a quote by Søren Kierkegaard which was featured in the video above as well.

“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.”

I started out this post very lightheartedly and now it’s all so serious. Perhaps that parallels with marriages. Starts as a celebration and gets intense over time. I am not married and I am mostly making observations based on what I have seen and read. Maybe I will revisit this post when I am married. If I am married. :X Haha!

Till my next post, stay curious!

A slipper, The Greatest Showman, and a couple of mean words.

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“Seruppaalehye adippen! (I will beat you with a slipper!)”, he shouted over the phone. He continued, “Why do you have to talk about me? No! Just answer this one question!” The person on the other side seemed to come up with a reply which didn’t quite answer his question and this angry and possibly drunk man(who reeked of alcohol) repeats this over and over again. “Who are you to talk about me? No, you tell me right now. Hey, hey hey! Just don’t talk about me. It’s that simple. I don’t understand. Why do you have to-”

I don’t understand either. This roadside drunkard actually had a point. It is none of their business. Some, like this man, might have the confidence to question the person who talked ill about them. Others might just slowly believe these words of others. The external voice eventually becomes the inner voice. The inner voice that shuts them up. The inner voice that tells them that they’re utterly useless, untalented and/or stupid. You’re wasting your time. They’ll shame you till you cower.

Recently, I watched The Greatest Showmen and while the movie had a lot of great stuff to offer, my thoughts were fixated on why people are so mean. Why would they put down others for no reason at all? If they don’t like the show, they could just choose not to go. But this bunch of people, who had nothing else to do, decided to throw sticks and stones at them after every show. Why do such people even exist? It was so glaringly obvious that the performance crew were all talented and special in their own way. But not to the stone-throwers. The stone-throwers just seemed very primitive. But such people do exist in the current day too, don’t they? Just watch any YouTube video and you’ll notice trolls in the comments sections. But sometimes, it’s not just trolls. Sometimes, even your own family members and people you call friends can be doing this to you.

Why am I so disturbed by this? When someone describes their singing as croaking, their dancing as jumping, their music as random noise, their writing as scribbles, their poems as rubbish it’s usually because someone put them down for it before. That external voice, as mentioned above, became their inner voice even without them realising it. It can be worse. Some could have just completely stopped working on their craft. The interesting thing is most people that the world sees as talented, successful experts kind of started off like this. Hasn’t this been the narrative of almost every successful person? Humble beginnings. They mocked him/her. Look at whose laughing now.

I sound so preachy. Let me be honest. My mum always told me that even if you can’t help someone, don’t harm them. When I look back and think hard, there have been times where I haven’t been the nicest person. I have been a meanie too. Joining the crowd for a kind of belonging and acceptance. My scumbag days. Sorry to those whom I might have hurt intentionally and unintentionally.

The misfits. The weirdos. The losers. Keep doing your thing. If anyone says anything, you know what a seruppu (slipper) can do right? Haha! Kidding! Don’t succumb to violence, my dear children! We are all different in our own ways. Let’s not be pressured to be normal and lose ourselves. Those people putting you down today would one day be screaming your name. You’re unstoppable. The hard thing is that we might sometimes be lonely in our pursuits. Not everyone is blessed with supportive family and friends. You will be your own saviour. If that’s not enough, you have someone up there blessing you. God. Remember that and keep going.

Stay curious.

Look out for my next post on Feb 16!

Local Tamizhachi/Tamizhan Starter Pack: Singaporean Tamil Songs

Btw, hereon there will be a new post every other Friday. So the next post will be up on February 2, 2018. There are days where I wouldn’t even have spoken/read a single word of Tamil. As an ethnic minority, this is more of a norm than an exception in Singapore. But there’s one thing that ties me back to my language and that’s music. Tamil songs. Not a day goes without listening/humming to Tamil songs. I am not just talking about Indian Tamil movie songs. Singaporean Tamil artists have produced some really good stuff over the years too. Hence, I have painstakingly(haha, not really) curated this list of Singaporean Tamil songs. Why? Well, you can take this as a fangirl’s humble attempt at appreciating these artists for the good music that they have given us. Perhaps, you can say that it’s some sort of recognition. Or an archival? If you’re a new citizen trying to assimilate, you might find this useful too! :X In this list, I recount several trends and events as I talk about the various songs. While every effort was taken to keep this list as comprehensive as possible, I know for a fact that I would have missed some songs. Some information(e.g. artist information) is missing too. Whatever the case, just let me know and I will update it.

Mohamed Raffee

I think you can call him a godfather of the local Tamil music scene. The first local song which I had really liked-Manthiram Vatchayae- was by him. I saw the video song in a barber shop and I fell in love with it then. I still love it. That’s a legacy if you ask me.

1. Manthiram Vatchayae by Mohamed Raffee

2. Karuppaayee by Mohamed Raffee

3. Joe Joe Muniyandy by Mohamed Raffee

National Day songs

I hate to say this but there was this period where there weren’t many catchy local Tamil songs. Maybe they existed but I just was not aware of them. I don’t know. But when I think of local Tamil songs, I can’t miss the classic National Day song- Munnaeru Valibaa. The song that we would do the basic Bharathanatyam steps to which mostly looked like we’re plucking something and throwing it on the floor. And after a while(when everyone was getting tired of singing that same song every year), we got an even cooler Tamil National Day song. Thanks to Shabir. This song brings the patriotic spirit like no other song.

4. Munnaeru Valibaa by Unknown Artist

5. Singai Naadu by Shabir

Planet Galatta

At a time when we were really bored with the standard television programmes, Planet Galatta came. The entire show was very novel and refreshing at that time. Vadivazhagan’s comedy was quite a thing. They also had an original song in each episode. I feel conflicted about having those songs on the list because the songs weren’t 100% local. However, given that some of the singers are local, I think that these songs should be included in the list. Besides, during one of the National Day shows, they actually played the Nalla Sarakku song before the show started. Hence, I guess you can have these songs on the list.

6. Nalla Sarakku by Prem Gi Amaren

7. Engeyo Izhukkuthaiya by Prem Gi Amaren

8. Oruthanukkul Oruthi by Prem Gi Amaren

Local Drama opening title songs

When I was a kid, the local dramas usually had an opening title song. It was usually short and a tad bit dramatic. It would usually involve singing the drama series’s name in some sort of slow motion at the very end of the song. The drama’s episodes were telecasted on a weekly basis and there weren’t many episodes. One of the last few examples of this type of song was Sollamaley’s title song.

9. Sollamaley by Unknown Artist

Shabir

Do you remember this charming guy who was doing the hand signal for right turns as a dance step while he sang? The wildcard entry. The guy who became the first Vasantham Star. Yes, Shabir. There used to be long queues of girls asking for his autograph. 2005. (Camera phones weren’t as prevalent and they produced really bad quality photos anyway.) In that queue, there was a girl. Yes, it’s me. Haha! I haven’t seen any other local Indian celebrity having so many fangirls in Singapore. Or maybe I am just old and I don’t see celebrities that much. Or it’s the social media age. Anyway, it’s amazing to see that same Shabir accomplishing so many other things like composing music for Tamil movies. He’s truly an inspiration. Apart from the songs mentioned in the National Day songs, Local Drama craze section and Deepavali songs section, Shabir has given other catchy songs. Special mention: Muzhangu! Alright, I am biased. But who isn’t?! :X

10. Alaipayuthey by Shabir

11. Boomi Nadunguthu by Shabir

12. Maybe by Shabir

13. Muzhangu by Shabir

14. Nagara Vettai by Shabir ft. Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam

15. Oonjalaadum by Shabir

16. Tamizha by Shabir

Local Drama craze

“Dei Muttals!”

Remember that? That dialogue that Rishi says in Vettai? Nijangal and Vettai were two drama that shook things up quite a bit. They started the whole local drama craze and now we have so many long-form drama series. We started having songs for the dramas which is pretty cool too. My favourite on this list is Kangal Rendil, Oru Murai(both versions) and Ketta Pillai by Rishi Kumaar. Oh the good times!

17. Enathuyire by Vicknesh Saravanan

18. En Devathaiye by Shabir

19. En Kannil by K. Kumer

20. Ennule by Rishi Kumaar

21. En Vidiyalai Kaanavillai by Rishi Kumaar

22. Jaane Jaane by Vicknesh Saravanan

23. Ka by Unknown Artist

24. Kangal Rendil by Rishi Kumaar

25. Ketta Pillai by Rishi Kumaar

26. Kodi Parakkuthu by Shabir

27. LOL Sollathey by K. Kumer

28. Mudharkanave by Shabir

29. Nee Indru Kshatriyan by Shabir

30. Neeyaa by Unknown Artist

31. Nila Thoonguthu by Shabir

32. Oru Murai by Rishi Kumaar

33. Oru Murai(Male) by Rishi Kumaar

34. Ragasiyam by Shabir

35. Rasathi by Satthiya

36. Vettai by Shabir ft Emcee Jesz

37. Yaayum by Shabir

Deepavali MTV songs

About the same time the local drama craze happened, we started having Deepavali MTV songs. They bring the festive mood with all the colours and fun. (My favourite one-2010’s has been removed from Youtube. :/ )

38. Saravedi Deepavali 2017 by Rishi Kumaar

39. Takkaru Deepavali 2016 by Satthia

40. Athiradi Deepavali 2015 by Shabir

41. Deepavali 2014(Pattaasu vedikka vedikka) by Unknown Artist

42. Di Di Di Di Di Di Deepavali 2013 by Rishi Kumaar

43. Deepavali 2012 (Vanna Deepam Yetru Neeyum Deepavaliyum vanthaachu!) by Unknown Artist

44. Deepavali 2011 (Thom thom thanana thom) by Unknown Artist

Local movies

I was so excited when Gurushetram came out. A Singaporean Tamil movie. Wow. In recent years, there have been other local Tamil movies. And you can’t have a Tamil movie without songs, can you? The visuals are really pretty too. They have garnered quite a lot views too. Did I see it right? 4 million. Nothing short of impressive.

45. Saaral Mazhaiyaa by Stephen Zechariah

46. Usuraiya Tholaichean by Stephen Zechariah

Other Artists

47. Adi Aathi by Satthia

48. Adra Machi by Dravidar Feat. Sukanya Kanasan | DEYO Musical | Singisai Squad

49. Avalanche Penne by Yogen and Jeevanandhan Ram

50. Biasa Thaane by Dravidar feat. iShana,Thiru TK & Maha

51. Kaatrile by Suthasini

52. Magnet Paarvai by Karthik Jega

53. Manjal Nila by Pravin Saivi

54. Move ya Aduppu by Dj Sathiya

55. Rajinishake by Ragha, Jaynesh, Ganesh & ADK

56. The Aathichudi Movement – Shamroz Khan

If you would prefer to just have it as a playlist, here you go!

 

Additional: Popular Malaysian Tamil Songs

I called it a Local Tamizhachi/Tamizhan starter pack. So I just threw in an additional Malaysian Tamil songs section too. So if you want to be a true blue local Tamizhachi/Tamizhan, you know what to do.

1. Akka Maga by Darkkey

Isn’t this a classic? You know the man that appears in Kabali. He’s not just some nobody. He sang this song. This song is really something. It makes me go into a fit of headbanging. Haha! They have a Tamil movie version of it, a Michael Jackson version of it. Even Vikram has sung it in a concert before.

2. Goyang Goyang by Tamila Boys

This song is epic. I first heard this song at a motivational workshop. Yes, you read that right. In that motivational workshop, they made us watch Rocky and they played this song. Hahaha, and my parents thought I was going to return back home as some champion with smart studying skills. Lol. But hey, listen to the lyrics carefully, this is a motivational song. Pretty catchy one too. Btw there’s a Telugu version of it as well.

3. Graamathu Ponnu by Vivek Ji & Shantra

A simple but catchy song!

4. Indian Girls by Yogi B and Natchatra

This song appeared on a lot of our Friendster profiles back then. It’s a pity that they don’t have a proper video on Youtube.

5. Kokkorokko by Lock Up

This song was quite popular when I was a kid. We even had the cd. In those days, that meant something.

6. Kollusu Shop by the Villainz

This song is based on a folk song which has a natural charm to it.

7. Madai Thiranthu by Yogi B and Natchathra

Another classic. The original itself is pretty good. I actually know the rap portions by heart. Want me to do a demo? Okay nvm. Haha

8. Maria Two by Daddyshaq and Rubba.Bend

I like the rap by Rubba.Bend. Especially the Gila part. Haha!

9. My Indian Girls by Switch Lock up

I didn’t know this song existed before I started writing this post. Like many other songs on this list, this song is revolving around Indian girls. You can’t go wrong with that, can you? And I gotta give it to him for knowing the various accessories that Indian girls wear.

10. Na Venuma Appa Venuma by Shantesh and David Raj

For some reason, this reminds me of the Akka Maga song. Again, this is a very catchy song. Not a fan of the lyrics though! :/

11. Sandiyar Kathai by Havoc Brothers

To be honest, I didn’t know this song before I started writing this post. Even now, I don’t know the lyrics. All I do is hum the lalalala part. Oops! :X

12. Scooter Vandi by OG Dass feat. Kash Villanz & Shamini

This song is so catchy. Need I say more?

13. Ta Ta Tai Tai by Unknown Artist

I wasn’t sure if I should include this since it’s a religious song and I want this blog to be secular. But this is quite a catchy Malaysian Tamil song and some don’t even know that it’s a religious song. So why not? Fun fact: This song was featured in the Kabali movie too.

14. Thappa Pesaathe by Punitha Raja

In this entire list, there are so many songs by males. I especially like this song because it is a nice response to the many songs written trashing females.

15. Vaanga Vaanga Masthana by Unknown Artist

This song isn’t that famous but I remember listening to this as a kid. Not many female-lead songs. Maybe that’s why I remember it so well.

And here’s the playlist!

Till my next post(which will be coming on February 2, 2018), stay curious! 🙂

Yes, I am repeating the date for the second time so that I will remember it and stick to the schedule. Haha!