Every now and then in the midst of the gloom and doom environmental scenario we are faced with, we are sometimes fortunate to experience a lovely high. The "Poromboke Paadal" has been a delightful and deeply moving song that gave me such a high last month.
Every now and then one gets a great high in the midst of the gloom and doom environmental scenario that we are faced with. Recently I came across the song titled 'Poromboke Paadal' by T.M. Krishna. In a fusion of chaste Carnatic music and language of the common man, including a couple of English words, it is a treat to soothe the environmentalist and at the same time ask some big questions. And subtly, elegantly say,"To hell with elitism!"
Poromboke originally meant 'the commons', property that belonged to everybody - land for use by everybody like grazing land, rivers and spaces not sold to people or appropriated by the Government. It was land that did not yield revenue, hence not assessed for tax. So over time it became a word that meant wasteland. From there it was a short step to being used as a pejorative for a person who is considered a no-gooder, a 'waste'!
The video has the Ennore creek as the backdrop. Ennore provides Chennai with Energy, with electricity and petrol, but is itself treated as a wasteland. The visuals are as heart rending as the song. Truly, if music can awaken, this song can begin the process of people beginning to do something about their sacred rivers, their commons. Along with the Jallikattu movement, it gives hope.
Kaber Vasuki has penned the words of the song - and we realise what a powerful medium is music to bring attention to some aspects of the crises of perception we are caught up in. The song based video that was launched in mid January has been viewed by almost a lakh people, and the Carnatic music community is all agog with new possibilities, although it requires an activist's heart to actually launch such music.
T.M.Krishna has been an activist who moved away from the elitist haunts of the Carnatic musician and sang for fishermen and the common person who could never go to the big and famous auditoria. He won the Magsaysay award last year for his amazing creative work in Srilanka to heal the war torn land and its people with music.
For me, personally, it has been sheer delight to see the video and listen to this Poromboke song. Because for a long, long time I have been hoping to meet a composer, singer and dancer who can bring alive the story of Gaia, of the Earth as a living being. For the Indian context it would be Bhoomi Devi, but more than just a goddess. Can there be a fusion of Science, the story of the Earth over 4 1/2 billion years and the belief that the Earth sacred again?
If anyone out there wants to work with a Bhoomi song... we are waiting!