I often moan about the way technology influences my life. I remember the days when I didn’t own a mobile phone; when I actually received handwritten letters in the post and when a keyboard was something I played music on. It was kind of nice to not be accessible at every moment – or at least to be up against the expectation that I should be.
Now, after travelling for the past five years on and off, my once fairly small social circle has exploded to include thousands, across continents and timezones. It can be quite overwhelming to stay in touch, or just understand the nature of those relationships, kept alive by Facebook messages and occasional Skype calls.
The other day though, I thanked God for technology. I met a wonderful lady in Melbourne this year – a fellow Hare Krishna who also happens to love Carnatic music. While I was there we shared a happy hour swapping songs and ragas, and she told me how she’d been doing the same with another lady she knows in India. So last Friday morning we all met up on a conference call to have a music lesson – morning in London, afternoon in Coimbatore and evening in Melbourne. It was so enlivening, and unexpectedly easy, given that we couldn’t even see each other (which I know is possible too). We learnt ‘Jamuna Kinare’, a bhajan in Hindi by the Carnatic composer, Swati Thirunal. Below is a version sung by Prince Rama Varma.
Ahh. Sharing music gives me a warm feeling inside. Perhaps I can live with Skype after all.