TMS – A Tribute
To me, TMS the individual never existed.
Yes, there was a man called TM Soundararajan. He passed away on May 25, 2013. He was called, among other things, the ‘theiva paadagar’ – the divine singer.
Few hours prior to the news of his demise reaching me, I was listening to one of his songs. “Nenjam undu nermai undu odu raja”. It was the boost I needed at a time of crisis in my professional life.
The news of his demise did not make me sad. As I said, TMS the individual never existed.
Yes there was a man called TM Soundararajan, a Sourashtran born in Madurai. He was a man from this socio-cultural background. That class background. A father, a husband, a brother, a friend. Many things to many people closely associated to him.
I never knew the man. Nor did I probe much about his background. Nor do I care to know. I only knew his voice.
The voice which gave vigor to the finest lyrics of Kannadasan. The voice which complemented the music of Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy. The voice that contributed to the MGR myth.
The voice which sang “Vasantha mullai pole vanthu”, one of the best songs a Tamil lover can sing to his beloved when in a jubilant mood. And “Or aayiram paarvaiyile”, for a lover in pensive articulation of his love. “Anbe vaa”, for the lover in desperate need of approval from his beloved. The voice which sang songs that can accompany most states of mind a Tamil can have. And I do see quite some Tamils, some of whom who have been divorced from Tamil soil for ages, who still adore his voice.
These songs, besides many others of his, have given me and continue to give me comfort when I need it. Does it really matter that the man is dead?
I still listen to these songs. When I am alone. When I am stressed. When I am happy. When I am nostalgic. When I am pissed off with people. When it rains and when it doesn’t. While taking a stroll in the park. While working in my cabin. While returning home from work. While travelling in a crowded train surrounded by British people.
The man is dead. I do not know the person. But only his art. Which will endure.
My late grandfather said that if god existed, he would have come down to the earth after listening to TMS’ voice towards the end of the song below.
Well, he didn’t. Maybe this is yet another incontrovertible proof that god does not exist.