Looking beyond the hills as I cross Arumbakkam Metro Station, I feel a sudden rush of warmth and sweet & sour memories. The smell of subsidised breakfast at Sangeetha before 10 am – dosai and filter coffee with pongal with the pleasant interruption of Chennai traffic reminds me of the neighbourhood, my neighbourhood.
I am transported back to those sweetest days of my life. Somewhere amidst that hullabaloo, I can see the shiny green board saying “AR Rahman Foundation” and a sudden smile graces my face. There is it, my dream palace in Chennai, KM Music Conservatory!
It was after my 12th, I had applied for about a dozen engineering colleges, got admission into Manipal, Electrical and Electronics. I guess I was happy, at least I felt so. I came back to my room, sitting in silence trying to absorb the fact that I’d be leaving this place in just a few days, my gaze stops at a brochure lying at one corner of the bed. Yes, it was from KMMC. I had ordered it online, read about it. Never did I dare talk about it though. In that moment, I somehow had the courage to walk up to my Dad, told him I can’t do this, I have to go to that place, atleast try my luck. Hours of heated arguments, my parents finally agreed.
Next day, I left for Chennai with my Uncle. It was a whole new world for someone like me who had never travelled. High rise buildings, new fragrances, the people, everything captivated me. I could not believe my eyes and fate as the driver parked the car in front of the beaming building, big letters KM College of Music and Technology. We went inside, Mrs. Vijaylakshmi welcomed us and while she briefed my uncle on the selection process, I was still trying to process the dreamy place I had entered. I remember Adam Sir interviewing me for my major as Vocals.
I was awestruck! I got in, got flatmates, and in just 1 day, my world had flipped. You could say I was living my dream. Some pictures that summarise the feeling
Like all things good, this, unfortunately, had an end too. I started feeling homesick, nervous, and extremely unsure about the decision I had taken. I was just a novice, the marvelous world had humbled me down, but I had started questioning my decision. Will I be able to survive here?, I would ask myself as I walked outside CMBT at night, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone and crying to Mom on the phone. It did take a toll on me, due to some reasons I had to take a trip back home. Little did I know that that’d be the last time I’d be seeing that place that year.
Dropped out. Prepared for engineering again for 1 year. Got into a college in Vellore (little did my parents have a clue why I chose that college). My master plan was that since my college was close to Chennai and had weekends off, I could still go and attend the Preparatory Piano and Hindustani Vocals and I did!
AGAIN, Got admission and started attending classes under Jay Sir and Sourav Sir. I was AGAIN living my dream.
AGAIN, like all things sweet, this did not last long. The college authorities had an issue with me pursuing a part-time course and approving my leave application every weekend. I was formally called to the office, my proctor dialled out my Dad’s cell number, told me to drop out of the course, else there’ll be consequences, would tell my parents that I had gotten into wrong company, not focussing on my academics and that the course was not worth it and would take a toll on my studies.
I had to drop out of KM again
That was a tough phase, I felt as if everything I ever try will be marred by a bad omen. I had never felt more regret. It consumed me eventually. I have made terrible choices, of being scared and not standing for myself, not having enough courage to stand up for my dream.
Today, as I write this down I feel hopeful.
I still look beyond the hills. I still miss the morning sounds of Arumbakkam, and especially those from inside KM, amazing people inside that heaven, giving all to their dreams, playing their hearts out.KM really is a place where a million dreams are being fulfilled as we speak. I’d say I envy them, but I am hopeful.
I am hopeful, I’ll go back AGAIN one day and bring my dream to life.
p.s. – Here’s a picture of me in the 2nd floor piano room. It hosts a beautiful vintage one 🙂