"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart"
There are these moments that leave you bereft of words. Moments those stir every emotion in you and form a kaleidoscope of nothingness. Today was one such day, where I was lost in the world of the challenged, breathing every minute of their existence.
Today, 30 December 2007 is a day chosen to celebrate Music God A.R. Rahman’s 41st birthday(which is on the 6 January 2007). A bunch of extremely genuine, socially conscious Rahman music slaves (that’s a degree higher than fans) decided to do something noble on his birthday. After a lot of thought process and option-exploring-sessions, Rahmaniacs, as they (read- we) proudly call themselves (read- ourselves), decided to spend a day with the inmates of an organization called Nethrodaya, a home for the Blind.
Rahmaniacs certainly have qualities of their idol imbibed in them. They’re bouquet of simple, humble people who belong to different backgrounds united with the power of A.R. Rahman’s heavenly music. We celebrated his birthday, with God’s special people – the visually challenged.
The day began with everybody feasting breakfast king-size. Meanwhile, we had our Rahmaniacs’ band inaugurating the day by invoking A.R. Rahman’s presence amidst us. Singer Pop Shalini, the guest for the day, did the honors, by cutting the piano shaped cake as we all sang “Happy Birthday to Rahman Sir”. The first piece of cake was received by Rani, one of the inmates in Nethrodaya. She was someone whom we all named “Paadum Rani”, owing to her singing prowess! Pop Shalini and myself sang a couple of A.R. Rahman numbers and then our very on Rahmaniacs’ band put together a wonderful show for us all.
The best part of the day, was the contest that we had for the inmates. We had our self-manufactured DJ who played some wonderful interludes of Rahman songs while the inmates had to identify the song and sing it! The enthusiasm we witnessed was rather infectious! We were awestruck by the response each one of them gave us as music penetrated into their ears. They were on their toes, throwing their hands up in the air, to identify the songs and grab the brownie points. Every correct identification of song was followed by truck-loads of applause, and all of us singing the song, in one voice. We even had a tie breaker and quiz for the ones that competed for the first and second position! This was one of the most gratifying events ever.
These people are indeed special. I made my way to this very pretty inmate called Pricilla, first. Introduced myself as Megha and she was elated! She patted my head and said she enjoyed my singing. I held her hands as we chitchatted about our lives. She was telling me all about herself – her routine for the day, how she travels by bus by herself for her computer classes. She felt my hands, my hair and said she’s really sure I look beautiful. She showered generous words of kindness and said, “Please come back and visit us whenever you can”. I was choking already. I did not know if I had the courage to talk to another inmate… I made myself feel really small in front of their might and strength.
Next came four other little girls, who were physically challenged. Rosy, Padma, Madhavi and Selvi… They were all really excited as we talked about each other’s lives. Incredibly touching. I was surprised when they sang along with me, when I did a mini private performance of my songs, on demand! It felt overwhelming to be at my end, where I am an ordinary person at heart, but get treated like an extraordinary person by these people. They tore a piece of white paper into equal fours and asked me to sign them autographs with my contact details. They said, they will be at my doorstep one fine day… I smiled with all my heart and invited them over, fighting back tears at the same time…
Next came, the Paadum Rani, as I have already introduced her earlier. She is an amazing vocalist and sings at concersts, as well. When I asked her, about her achievements and what she feels about it. All she said was that she wants to improve on her singing and her dream is to at least sing a scratch track for a music director. She loves singing “melodies”, she proudly beamed. I held her right hand with a pen, as we signed “Paadum Rani” with a smiley on the A.R. Rahman Birthday Wish Card that did its rounds. Rani expressed her joy as we wrote each letter of her name on the card, together…
Rahmanias were all in Cloud 100… The event filled our hearts in totality. We saw that as each one expressed in their own way. Each one of the Rahmaniacs went out of their way in doing their lil bit, towards the success of this event. Dedication and passion showed in their every gesture. This event is indeed very special to each one of us. We dedicate it to the man, we worship – A.R.Rahman. We are thrilled to have spent his birthday in a way, he’d wanted us to have celebrated it...
Rahmaniacs – Thanks a million for making me a part of this event, so willingly. You guys were incredibly sweet. I’m humbled by all your gestures. Please accept my gratitude with a smile. The very first event turned out nicer than we all imagined it to be. Here’s hoping every one of you get together for many such events. Let’s spread the divinity of Rahman’s music to many more special people, as one family.
In specific – John, Vithur, Narayan. Thanks for coordinating with me all along :)
On that note, here’s wishing all of you Rahmaniacs, a very Happy New Year..
May God bless our Rahman and all of us in abundance this year, and for years to come.
Log onto: http://www.nethrodaya.org
For more pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/Narayan.Srivathsan/RahmanBdayCelebrationPics