While rating an association with another human being, if you go by the amount of the help received in your daily drudgery, then it is to my house maid that I am indebted to the most, but of course that is not the case in all spheres of our lives, as there are some valued associations that are inspiring, uplifting and almost divine.
Prem Chandran Nair Sir undoubtedly had such an association with his student force which was both enriching and uplifting. As a teacher, he induced in his students a desire to be gentlemen in their dispositions and conduct, and may be brought them closer to being an anglophile.
Come the annual function season of the academic year, he would arrange a band from outside world and would spontaneously devote himself wholly into the mission of whipping out melodies from our coarse vocal chords. Soon, the House Common Room, the mossy bathroom walls, corridors would start praying for their dear lives as the strains of Gogi Grant ‘s masterpiece resound everywhere!
“The wayward wind, is a restless wind
A restless wind that yearns to wander
And he was born, the next of kin
The next of kin to
The wayward windddddddddd.”
He would lead the practice sessions with his whole soul and body. We would follow suit, all the while, with the band desperately and helplessly trying to catch up, some times upping and sometimes dipping the pitch, but all in vain. Gosh! How I wish they realized in those days, that the only music that the average Kazhakian had in his blood was the monotonous cadence that went on and on, like that bee on steroids,”Lefffttt Raaaiiighttt Lefffttt Raaaiiighttt !”
More than the exactness and total adherence to the tone and pitch in the original track , what each of us craved for was uniformity. To us, pitch didn’t matter, harmony didn’t matter, rhythm didn’t matter. If the song was totally off pitch, it was fine, but there had to be UNIFORMITY! Each one of the singers could be out of pitch, but they had to be out of pitch by the same measure ! And so the practice sessions went on, courtesy Mr PCN, driving the rest of the buddies up the wall and trees. Although songs were taught to us in the study hours, we made up for lost practice time by venturing to strain our vocal chords, during the evening cold shower in the bathroom complex, much to the irritation of the long queue waiting outside.
“Hang down your head Tom Dooleey
Hang down your head and cryy
Hang down your head Tom Dooley
Poor boy you’re bound to diiiie”
You would go at the top of your lungs, in the shower, which once enraged Tharian so much that he started mercilessly banging and kicking on the wooden bathroom door, bending it back and forth against the tension of the metal hinges and door latches, while yelling out ” Daaa, you don’t have to wait that long to die ! You come out and it’s waiting for you right here and right NOW, this very moment ! Why don’t you go and serve your Tom Dooley stuff to the train of rowdy ants lined up to conquer the urinary pot so that they might die, die laughing or else they would at least get disoriented and might leave the place for good ? Come out, you *******”
When it wasn’t Tom Dooley that was getting butchered and dismembered, it had to be the House of the Rising Sun that was being methodically dismantled, brick by brick, in the confines of the shower rooms.
“There is a house in New Orleanss
They call the rising sun
Well It’s been the ruin of many a poor boyy
And god I know I’m oooooooooone.”
Before you know, the D-day arrived ! Our house show was aptly christened as The Peanut Show with the logo of a green monster monkey as the visual representation ( now I understand the deep hidden meanings of the whole thing, now I see it) . We sang our heart out, three songs in one go, one after the other as a medley and the entire Kazhakians in the massive VGK Auditorium, were sporty enough to sit through it, along with the pigeons on the rafters , most of them, I’m sure who would have undergone massive coronary aneurysms. So sweet, their loved ones never complained.
Years later, I had the good fortune to slip back into the nostalgia lodged in these songs when Jaimon from ‘89 batch, armed with The Wayward Wind presented it melodiously and in correct pitch and tune at the MG University Youth Festival and he was truly at his best. He would have sure won a medal or so for his commendable effort but then we wouldn’t care less, because as true Kazhakians, we were already out of the trappings of winning and losing.