This reminiscence is way back from the mid 1980s and it will remain forever fresh in my heart.
I guess the location was somewhere between Arsikere and Kadur. Outside it was hot, horrid and as far as our eyes could gaze, we were surrounded with desiccated wilderness. I was sitting on my Dad’s lap in the front seat and the heat from the Matador engine was unbearable. We were travelling to Shivamogga for my ChikAppa’s marriage and the van was packed with my parents, the groom, aunts, uncles and our luggage.
Beating the torrid monotony, a Kannada song starts to play over the van’s cassette deck and out of the blue, I feel elated. The tune was lovely, the orchestration is simple and yet, mellifluous. The interludes are grand, the lyrics divine and most importantly, the female vocals are blissful. Without my knowledge, I start to hum along and by-heart the lyrics, because, my mind suddenly realizes that I’m listening to something so incredible that soon I will be falling in love with it, forever!
Devara Aata Ballavaraaru from Avala Hejje, a 1981 Kannada release, is the song that made me fall eternally in love with the melodious voice of S. Janaki, and the melodies in general.
[ChikAppa = Dad’s younger brother]