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Pages from a music score of silent melodies.

Consonance and dissonance

Consonance and dissonance. John (Baldie uncle) Blog by Anuj Nair

When you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi

There are several entertainers that I have met or rather seen in the early stages of my life. As a household with numerous servants and helpers, there was one character even to chase away stray cats. His name is Bhaskaran, but he is called Pakkaran. With his threadlike moustache, whiskers and hairy pinnae, the child viewed him as a tomcat. Pakkaran himself took over the mentioned task, probably because of boredom or out of ailurophobia. In the late evening, he used to roam around the property to hit the poor cats that are peacefully napping. One day he took the child along to demonstrate his prowess, and the child didn't find it amusing.

Yet, the child noticed and admired the talent possessed by some of those servants and helpers. A boy named Prabhakaran was a good singer and an instant poet who created and recited limericks at ease.

In earlier days, there was a character called 'Hanuman Pandaram'. Dressed as a monkey, he once a while visits the palace and some significant households. Have heard that he visits shouting, "Are there any kids who do not listen to parents?", "Are there any kids who do not behave?". If children misbehave, parents threaten that they would call Hanuman Pandaram and hand them over to him. When the child was about two years old, he once saw a big monkey tail protruding out from a nearby gate while he was taken back home from somewhere. Those days, the servants, aides and the workers who serve the household used to address the child with a respectful title "Kochangunnu". On that occasion, he heard one of them shout, "Hide fast, Kochangunnu is coming", and glimpsed a figure with a big tail sneak inside the nearby gate. After a few years, once the child asked his mom about that big-tailed monkey, she wondered how he remembered something that happened when he was too young to memorise. I was not fortunate to see them again as that 'species' later went extinct.

I have watched lots of Kathakali performances, and the child loathed it. Often, he's taken to the periodic performance at Victoria Jubilee Town Hall, probably because he didn't reveal his disinterest. He would be carried on the shoulder by one of those aides to return home, as his dad is keen to watch the whole episode, and the child would be dozy by the time the show gets over.

There were some unique, entertaining visitors whom the child eagerly awaited. One of them is 'Bhagavathar', an entertainer who sings and dances. He acts as a jester too. He entertains the kids in the palace and visits us about once a month. His costume is a mix of traditional and Western. A khaki suit jacket above a white shirt on top and a white dhoti (thar mundu / anthareeyam) below had a tonsured head with a long tuft of hair left on top, folded and tied. He sang songs without any significant meaning and danced in a circular motion, as the kid watch, amused, with a smile. I only remember the line "Manjulangi kunjulangi" of the lyrics. After his performanc