Today’s story is from the province of pious pilgrimage, where women wear long braids and gajras, men are in lungis and tikas. They wake up by 5, pray a lot, and make the tastiest sambhar.

“I wish the sultriness of Chennai’s weather would calm with A R Rehman’s voice”, our music teacher K. V. Nair said. The Gateway of South India is one of the best places to learn Carnatic Classical Music in India, and I was happy to be here.

Paloma Kala Kendra (Paloma Art Centre) is located close to Marina beach and radiates a sanguine vibe as soon as you enter it. I made a few friends there – mostly from the tabla, mridang, and drums division. We exchanged numbers and created a WhatsApp group too. We’d sometimes visit the promenade for a stroll too.

I’d a special connection with Venkat. He was a simple man. Wore loose khadi shirts, carried a jhola with a notebook, some biscuits, and a fountain pen. We mostly met after my vocal sessions. “What do you enjoy the most?” I asked him. “Umm, I guess everything. I can’t narrow it down to one.” “hah, seri, seri!” (okay, okay)

We spoke a lot about how commercialization is killing music taste buds in India. “Don’t you think lyrics are bones of a song?” he added. I looked at him in depth. He fidgeted with his jhola and took out a notebook to show me his work. “Have you written all of this?” he simply nodded. “Will you add some flesh to these skeletons, Karthik?

“Why not? I’d be happy too.” I agreed. I didn’t think twice. But when I did, I questioned, “You can too, brother, why don’t you give it a shot?”

“No, I can’t”, he dropped his smile. “Okay, wait let’s check with Nair sir, I hope he’d allow his harmonium. I’d convince him to guide!”

He stopped me with a stern look in his eyes. “No, I can’t, I might know a bunch of things about music because I hover around and ear up on walls. I have never been inside.”

mélomanie – deep attraction to music

prompt: music