On Sheila, Munni and other things
Singing is one thing I just cannot do, even to save my life. I have absolutely no musical inclination whatsoever. I can paint, I can make extremely realistic portraits, I can write, I can play basket-ball, I can bowl a leg-spin and even do a perfect chakrasana in Yoga.
But when it comes to singing--I'd rather run a mile. Or perhaps that statement should be slightly altered to say, those around me would rather run a mile :-)
I swear I don't sing badly at all. After all, I have taught at a pre-school (for children in the age group 2-4) where I sang nursery rhymes all the time. There is a certain grace and poise in singing "People in the bus bounce up and down" while jumping up and down, without looking like a complete moron. :-)) You have to jump elegantly and sing loudly enough so that the child in the back row doesn't fall asleep. The children loved it, I swear! They always asked me "Preeti aunty, can we please sing 'up and down'?" And I obliged. It is hard to resist cute little 3 years olds asking with great hope in their eyes. Besides, I had an absolutely adoring audience who hung on to every word I said like it was gospel. They would even throw in a free hug afterwards.
We hardly heard any of the latest Bollywood songs when we were in the UK. After we have relocated to India, however, Sheila and Munni seem to be making as many appearances in my home as the ironing wallah who comes to collect clothes. My daughter (who is nine) asked me the other day "Mummy, what does main zandu balm huyi, darling tere liye' mean? That was the first time I tried to poetically interpret an item number. Don't laugh, I swear, there is such deep meaning in those lyrics. :D Especially when you try to explain them to a nine year old who has been exposed mainly to Pendulum, Katy Perry and Iyaz.
And then of course, there is no escape in India from the famous Sheila ki jawaani. My children very well understood what 'I'm too sexy for you' meant. After all they are 13 and 9, which is equivalent of what we were at the ages 24 and 21. Yeah, today's children are the google-x-box-kinect generation, unlike us who were the doordarshan-cable-TV-video-game console kids. I had to explain what "main tere haath na aanvi' meant and what 'jawaani' meant too.
My English friends can watch the two songs (which have almost become anthems in India) mentioned in this post by clicking here and here (and boy am I glad I do not have to explain the lyrics to my English friends in the UK! I would not be able to even if I tried!)
I must admit, the tunes are quite catchy. The other day I found myself humming (mind you, I said humming, it was not even singing, my voice was so low) 'Sheila ki jawaani'.
Both my children said in unison "Maaaa--please please STOP. Please do not sing."
"Why children, it is such a nice song," I teased them and sang a little louder.
"Maaa--please STOP ma. Even a person who has no intention to commit suicide will do so if they hear you sing. STOP," implored my son.
These days it is very easy for me to make my children obey me, as soon as I tell them something
"Go clean your rooms, otherwise I will sing sheila ki jawani."
"Go finish your homework, else I will sing Sheila ki jawaani"
"Better drink your milk.If not--'my name is sheeeeeeeeela...sheeeeeeela ki..."
The chipmunks version embedded above has made my task even more easier. All I have to do is say in a squeaky voice "My name is............"
The children run and finish whatever they have been asked to do :-)
A thank you to Munni and Sheila :D
ps: See this page for a chance to win a signed copy of BOTH my books. Or scroll down and read the previous post. Some amazing discussions with superb insights have been taking place there.