Of correct meanings and right ones…

Yesterday, I wrote about Sojugada Soon Mallige, a soulful folk song that was beautifully sung by Ananya Bhat.

As I reflected on the inner meaning of this song, many thoughts came to my mind. I sought answers, and interestingly enough, I stumbled upon a blog that had quite a lot of them. So here are some beautiful thoughts, on an equally beautiful song.

The Kannada jAnapada (folk) literature is rich, old and is more sophisticated than meets the eye. Most works do not have a named author, the songs are sung by village folks by village bands and housewives, passed on to their sons and daughters and deciples. Rarely written down until recent times. A song can have multiple version handed down by different lines orally. Add to that, different accents of Kannada spoken across the region, some words acquire different meanings. Compound that, with the way these songs are sung. Words are stretched to fit the tune and meter (this is by design, and contributes to the folk song’s signature feel). For example in Ananya Bhat rendition, additional time was added as below (shown by ~) by stretching the previous syllable.

tappa~le beLa~givni~ tuppa~va~ kA~ysivni, 
kitta~Le haNNu tandivni~, madEva nimge~, 
kitta~Le haNN~u~ tan~divni, mA~dappa, 
kitta~Di baruva parase~ge~ ..mAdEva nimma…

kittaDi is a Sage (sanyAsi) and kitta~Di = kittADi means “by fight”! While this is an extreme example and easily eliminated, there are more interesting meanings that I do want to keep in play and extract as much rasa from this song. For those of the opinion “this is a folk song, so is it this meaning or that”? I humbly appeal, why not all of them? let them all in so they may paint larger and with more color on the mental canvas? the intent of the poet is of no concern when one is intent on extracting the most out of an art.

The beauty of art lies in it’s interpretation. What I see, and feel, and absorb, may be different from what you feel, see or absorb. There is a literal meaning, there is a philosophical meaning or metaphorical meaning, and then there is a personal meaning.

You understand the lyrics by the literal meaning, you think about the deeper message through the philosophical meaning, but you feel the song through the personal meaning – what those words mean to you specifically, and may not mean the same, or even anything, to someone else.

And so, when you come across something that can have a lot of meanings, don’t try to find the correct one, for there is none. Instead, find the right one – the one right for you:)

Will continue tomorrow!