Smaller than Life
Why a blog? Simple. Cacoethes Scribendi -- the urge to write! My literary pretensions and caprices bring me here. Like any writer I write to be read. All my posts, though fettered to my small world and trivially myopic, will live and yearn that somebody connects to them someday. Cognitive frenzies, sardonic musings, aimless banters, incoherent ramblings and trivial indulgences; this is simply an episodic narrative of my trivial world -- in a grain of sand… Smaller than Life.
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Sunday, June 20, 2004
An Unequal Music
A few days back I happened to see the name of Mr. M.O Srinivasan in The Hindu’s obituary. His name brought back memories of my third standard ‘Music Periods’ in thatch-roofed classrooms of Vidya Mandir, Adyar in which he zestfully rendered to us Bhajan tunes that went like ‘Muthaana Muthukumara, Muruga Nee Odivaa’, ‘Danguravasaarirayya’ and some expatiations of Mohana Raagam – the songs I forget -- and cheerily urged us white-and-jungle-green uniformed tots to throatily rehearse the renderings leaving aside our inhibitions. We were asked by the school to buy a book of Bhajans, Dasanjali Bhajanavali, brought out by him and bring it along for the Music Periods, failing which we would be upbraided by our class teacher. I still remember that I found it, as a third standard schoolboy, quite incredible that despite being hard of hearing, he was able to be in line with the shruthi of each raaga; I took it for granted then that he, the teacher, had to be well in line and my mind, upon the verity of that matter, firmly refused to even skirt the realms of doubt. It never ceased to amaze me and I often questioned myself: how could he correct himself if he could not hear his own voice? I also recollect my third standard impishness of deliberately trying to sing Muthaana Muthukumara in the tune of another song and trying to investigate if he was able to pick me out, only to be promptly censured by my class teacher watching me from behind. Some people, despite having impeccably functional ears, are simply tone deaf. I suppose he would complete the perfect antithesis.
The music book meant little to me before and after the Music Periods. But I used to spend a lot of time staring at the ‘About the Author’ section in the back cover. The write-up went like this: “M.O Srinivasan, the dextrous former India wicketkeeper who made snaffling catches behind the stumps a habit, has now, through his music, been gloving children with the same ease.” The simile captured my third standard imagination for some strange reason and I am able to recollect it after fourteen years! The fact that he was an international cricketer enthralled my schoolboyish cricketing fancies. I was secretly cocksure that he could secure a definite entry into the Guinness Book of World Records if only he tried. I had never till then heard of any musician who had been good enough to be an international cricketer. I was certain that I would one day go and request him to try for it. I came to read later that he played once for India, and his undoubted skill as a wicketkeeper was made more endearing by his deafness (he appealed only after the slips had alerted him to the fact that the ball that nestled in his gloves had, en route, clipped the edge of the bat).
There are many people who touch your life without their knowledge by some complex surjection of societal or professional relationships or merely by the virtue of having been a part of your life at a time when you look up to a lot of different people. In my case, he was one.
The obituary write-up of The Hindu:
M.O. Srinivasan passes away
CHENNAI, JUNE 14.
M.O. Srinivasan, who represented Tamil Nadu in an unofficial Test against the Australian Services team in 1945-46, died on Monday. He was 86.
Regarded as a courageous wicketkeeper and right-hand batsman, Srinivasan figured in 20 first-class matches between 1941 and 1948, making 504 runs with an average of 20.16. Behind the stumps, he took 31 catches and made 21 stumpings.
Born on August 3, 1918, Srinivasan, a student of Hindu High School in Triplicane, was a prominent player on the city scene from 1941 to 1948. He figured in the Presidency Matches against the Europeans, and made his Ranji Trophy debut against Mysore at the Central College in 1941.
Srinivasan played for Rest of India and Indian XI against the Australian Services alongside Vijay Merchant, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare and Rusi Modi. He also turned up for South Zone against the West Indies in 1948-49.
He played for Triplicane Cricket Club in the city league along with the late M. J. Gopalan and C. R. Rangachari, and also for Sounder Cricket Club.
Srinivasan is survived by his daughter and son, M.O. Parthasarathy who played for Tamil Nadu and Bihar in the Ranji Trophy and also represented the East Zone in Deodhar Trophy.
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