Understanding The Right Context

While studying in Maharashtra, I had three languages in the curriculum — English, Marathi, and Hindi. I felt that these three are sufficient for all my current and future needs of communication and entertainment. At least what I thought during 16 years of schooling. I could communicate in English in a professional setting and could also be able to appreciate folk art by the local community. I even felt fortunate that I can understand and appreciate the Marathi Theater Masterpiece — Natsamrat.

After all the schooling, I got an opportunity to move to Mumbai for a job. Now, suddenly I was around people who were not fluent in Hindi or Marathi and communication had to be in English; which created a barrier to connect with someone on a personal level. But it was still manageable until I got admission for MBA in a different state altogether — Kerala. A state which doesn’t even share borders with Maharashtra, so no linguistic overlap. I was going to get exposed to a completely different language and culture.

Kerala, a unique state with its picturesque view and taste in food and beverages. It was all exciting and new. I was exposed to so much new information while exploring nooks and corners of Kerala but all in Malayalam. My brain even started considering it as white noise which was never received, stored, and analyze. All Malayalam words were entering from one ear and leaving from the other.

As a part of trying something new exercise, I asked my batchmates to suggest some good Malayali movies. Now here I was planning to watch 3 movies (Banglore Days, Premam, and Kumbalangi Nights) back to back i.e. 8 hrs of a language that was white noise for my brain. And I must say those were the most amazing 8 hrs have spent watching movies. Without making this a movie review blog, I will only say that this was the best introduction of the Malayali cinema to a non- Malayalam speaker.

Now here is the important part of why I gave all the background — the music in the above movies. I legit understood “zero” words from any of the songs, but the impression they left on my mind was so authentic that I never felt that words made no sense to me. These songs made me realize that “music has no language”. They originate at the heart of the artist and reached mine. Tunes of Maanglayam, Aethu Kavi Raavilum, Malare, and Lagoon Chill soundtrack felt so good that I started listening to them on loop. Now obviously, the YouTube algorithm suggested a few more and now I have a playlist of 23 songs in languages I still don’t understand. (That include recent hits like Enjoy Enjaami and Manike Mage Hithe)

This is the magic of music or for that matter any art form to bring people closer and keep the human inside us alive even when there are hundreds of reasons to divide. Languages were the basis on which states were divided and there are still many disputes which may never get resolve. Now here the same feature (language) channeled through an artform changed its context altogether. On this Independence Day let us all be open to explore different art forms and try to understand their features in the right context. A context in which we not only enrich our Independence but also leave a legacy for future generations they’ll be proud of.

Image credits: all the HD images are free to use under the Unsplash License

Any comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcome




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Abhishek Lanjewar

Abhishek Lanjewar

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