I don’t know where to start. And I am also sure that there will be no ending to my outpouring of love and respect. People follow music religiously and it is tough to tag it as a ‘hobby’ any more. Moreover, music almost defines the kind of person you are. Only a few take up music as a profession and make a living out of it; others have to be content with just listening to it. Listeners’ tastes differ a lot, as much as the lines in our palm! You may find some people sitting down cross-legged on the floor to listen to a ‘kutchery’, tapping their thigh with the beats. On the other hand, you may find some people banging their heads in a rock concert. I remember a childhood friend who used to listen only to Christian devotional songs. There are also some people who listen to any music that comes their way. But there is also a set of people who take one man’s music seriously in particular. And when the question of listening to that man’s compositions arises, they leave everything else aside. These people are willing to dedicate their lives for one cause—being a Rahmaniac. And there is only one religion that they follow—Rahman’s music. They not only call A. R. Rahman the ‘Boss’ but also speak of him as a god. I know, it is crazy to call a human being God. But then again, to each his/her own God. And, needless to say, I belong to this cult too.
The amount of pride Rahmaniacs take in being a Rahmaniac is bewildering. They always have first-hand information of his compositions, his next movies, concerts and songs. They research deeply into each of his compositions, almost dutifully. They religiously follow his concerts, buy original music CDs on the first day of its release, post their thoughts in various groups and meet fellow Rahmaniacs to discuss his music alone. It is extremely hard for them to accept that some Rahman compositions can be ‘ordinary’. Ask them what is the one thing that they want to do in life, and their answer would be simple: meet the man! Some may also have secret ambitions of singing for him. I also love his music but I do not go mad about getting his autographs or a photo clicked with him (even if it will give me 10000 likes on my Facebook profile pic!). If such opportunities ever knock on my door, I would like to simply say ‘Thank You’ to him for all the music he has given and those that he will.
All Rahmaniacs have their Facebook status message reflecting his song names/movie names, etc. but this is not to show off their craziness. They simply do not know any other way to express the happiness, bliss and eternal satisfaction they feel while listening to his albums. And the pleasure a Rahmaniac gets when playing a new Rahman CD for the first time is unmatched. The CD has to be played in loop, and with each round of listening, the music grows; slow nectar, Rahmaniacs call the sensation. Of course, there are some songs/compositions that are like cocaine—shooting straight to the brain. Rahmaniacs do not need any drugs to follow the music; the music itself leads to that kick or high.
So what is bringing this huge outpouring of emotions and words from me? The Oscars? His being such a successful ambassador for Indian music? I don’t think so. Something changed over the years for me and my musical listening, and it started with a song called Chaiyya Chaiyya. This song made me realize that music may be the only way to salvation. I can go on to compile a list of his great songs, but then again, it will include most of his compositions, from Roja to Rockstar. But once I had heard Arziyan, life began to have a new meaning. People say that you have to die to go to heaven. But I tell them that I have been there at least a thousand times, i.e. each time I hear Arziyan. And as soon as the harmonica of “Tango” from Passage fades, the guitar strumming starts to strike a chord in me. Aaromale (O Beloved) was a word that I had never used for a long time, but today, it may be my most often used word!
As always, I am happily waiting for his next song now. And I really do not have a concluding paragraph for this write up, just like there is no conclusion for my love for Rahman’s music. All I can say is that I thank God, the real one, for having made me live in this era, the era in which A. R. Rahman lives. And, finally, to the ‘Boss’, I will simply quote a line from his own song: Un isai mattum illayendral naan endro endro irandiruppen.