It is the season of big changes in my life. Here I was, happily chugging along in my ‘normal’ life, in a set, familiar pattern. Then it was as if someone picked up the kaleidoscope of my life and gave it a good shake. For a while now there has just been a jumble of shapes and colours, in a movement too fast for a pattern to emerge. I know that soon it will settle down into a brand new pattern. I imagine our good Lord holding the kaleidoscope and smiling with mischief when he gives that one last whirl! But at the moment, like a piece of coloured glass being whirled around, I see nothing but a revolving world.
It all started early on Mar 30, 2018 when our daughter announced that we are to be grandparents by the end of the year. Our plan was always to return home to Australia when we become grandparents. My husband and I left India when we were very young. Our children were born overseas and though they saw their grandparents once a year or two, they never established a close relationship with them. “My children lost out on their grandparents“, I told myself, “but I will not do that to their children. I’ll be there for them.“. So with the news of impending grandparenthood, we set our plans in motion. We started putting our affairs in order and faced the prospect of a move back to Australia after 18 years of being away.
In December, we did become grandparents to a gorgeous little boy. It was with a heavy heart that I returned to Switzerland in March. Over the last few months I have missed his special achievements. I never saw the first time he turned over on his stomach, his achievements in commando-crawling, his growing dexterity etc. Sad. In the meanwhile, there has been much to do here. We are getting through it all step by step. Not long to go now; we’ll be home in early July.
While we did all the physical sorting and packing, I have had to do some mental sorting out as well. After all this time in Switzerland, I am bonded to this country. Even familiar sights take on a certain poignancy. I look at the lakes and mountains which surround me and think ‘I won’t see you again in my daily life‘. I thought I was reconciled but as I write this, involuntary tears run down my cheeks. How can I be sad when I have the most precious bundle to play with in Australia? Grief and joy disturbingly co-exist in my heart.
So back to my theme of ‘puppet on a string‘. When such massive changes take place in our lives, there is a feeling of helplessness, a feeling of being rushed headlong towards something, an inevitability, all of which may be attributed to fate and God’s hand as a puppeteer by those who believe in these things. I do. This belief gives great comfort. When my stress levels become too high, I say to myself ‘Why should I worry? I will leave it all in God’s hands‘. For those who don’t believe, it may all seem a bit self-delusional! I too have my own doubts. Don’t our own actions chart the path of the future? Why would God bother about such a petty thing as my life? Still, my song choice of today reflects my need for believing in a God who will bother about me. Makelara Vicharamu is a composition of Tyagaraja set to raga Ravichandrika. The Saint refers to Lord Rama as the puppeteer who makes us dance in the drama of life.
I have listened to nothing but Makelara for the last few days! A popular kriti, there are many excellent renditions freely available online. I have chosen two interesting renditions for your listening pleasure. The first is by S.Kalyanaraman, a very clean, melodious rendition which sounds quite lovely to me. For some kritis, I like ‘drama’; for this one, I enjoyed the simplicity.
Click here to listen.
I think the lyrical beauty of the Raga is displayed very beautifully in this violin rendition by Ganesh & Kumaresh. I grew up listening to Lalgudi’s version of this song, so for me, the violin is just perfect for this kriti.
Footnotes (Lyrics and Translation) :
Composer : Tyagaraja
Raga : Ravichandrika
Language : Telugu
Please note that I do not speak Telugu. The translations are sourced from various internet sources, which I have tried to verify using dicionaries.
Transliteration in Devanagari
मरुगन्न श्री राम चन्द्र
साकेत राज कुमार
सद्भक्त मन्दार श्रीकर
जत कूर्चि नाटक सूत्रमुनु
जगमॆल्ल मॆच्चग करमुननिडि
गति तप्पक आडिञ्चॆवु (alt: आडिञ्चॆदवु) सुमी
नत त्यागराज गिरीश विनुत
maruganna shrI rAma chandra
sAkEta rAja kumAra
sad bhakta mandAra shrI kara
jata kUrci nATaka sUtramunu
jagamella mechchaga karamunaniDi
gati tappaka ADinchevu (alt: Adinchendavu) sumI
nata tyAgarAja girIsha vinuta
Why (ElarA) should we (mAku) have worries (vichAramu) O Lord Rama (shrI rAma chandra), father of Manmatha (maruganna**)?
(**Note: The site Tyagaraja Vaibhavam breaks this word as maruku – Cupid/Manmatha and anna – father. However, I could not verify maruku as Manmatha in any dictionary. Musicians sing it as maruganna. Marugu seems to be translated as something hidden. Is Cupid referred to as the hidden one? There is a comment by another blogger that mamuganna makes more sense, translated as ‘my father’.)
O Prince (rAja kumAra-son of king) of Ayodhya (sAkEta), the wish-fulfilling tree (mandAra, another name for Kalpavriksha) of true (sad) devotees (bhakta)! O One who bestows prosperity (shrI kara)!
Holding (-iDi) the strings (sUtramunu) of the puppets (implied) in the hands (karamunanu) and balancing (jata kUruchi) the drama (nAtaka) (implying the drama of life), you make us dance (ADinchevu) with an infallible (tappaka) pace (gati) to the extollation (mechchaga) of the whole world (jagamella), O Lord who is praised (vinuta) by Lord Shiva (girIsha), to whom this Tyagaraja bows (nata).
15 responses to “Makelara Vicharamu”
“Man Plans, and God Laughs”
I love receiving your emails.
Thank you Tom 🙂
Thanks for the beautiful blog. Enjoy you retirement with the new born. No experience can equal that.
Meera RamachandranSaratoga, Ca.
Thank you Meera! I’m rather excited about this new phase of my life!
Very nice Sujan. It has been quite a while since I went into your blog. Refreshing
Thank you Shobana! I myself haven’t been much into my blog either 🙂 Too busy with life…
Seeing your post after a long time
Looks like I missed a few in between
As usual your introduction to the krithi makes it an interesting one and also one which I always remember.. with reference to context !!
Happy settling down back at your home in Australia.
We should be there too in August upto Nov
And happy times with your grandson
Thanks for the wishes Padma 🙂 It has been a while since I wrote anything, just too busy with life! Hopefully once my life settles down once more to a pattern, I’ll write more frequently!
Oh – lovely krithi chosen for this post which I have enjoyed many times but with no clue as to what it means. As always, your posts bring a new dimension of understanding when I listen to music.
I am protesting at the step motherly treatment you are giving to the raga ! Other than its mention, nothing else ? Not done for such a beautiful raga 🙂
Thanks Ramesh for your unwavering support over all these years! Yikes! You always catch me out when I try to take short-cuts!! I ran out of time so abandoned what I had started writing about the raga 🙂 I will update it as soon as I can organise myself..
Well said about the dilemma in life with Makelara ending.
Thank you! These dilemmas small and big are the shared experiences of humankind, aren’t they!
Thanks for the S Kalyanaraman rendition. One of my favourites. And from a person who has seen it all, take it that God takes care of those who believe! So yes, go with “Makelara vicharamu”
Thank you Meera, you echo what is in my mind..
All the best!