Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Singing The Same Song

COLUMN: Spouse's Turn 

Athulya talks about life with the musician Jassie Gift

By Shevlin Sebastian

When Athulya Jayakumar received the marriage proposal from Jassie Gift’s family, in July, 2012, she was unsure. She had seen the musician in television interviews and he seemed like a man of few words. “I preferred a person who spoke a lot,” she says. Nevertheless, she was intrigued enough and decided to meet Jassie.

But in their first meeting, at her house in Thiruvananthapuram, Jassie spoke non-stop. “In fact he talked much more than me,” says Athulya. The subjects included his music career and her doctoral studies in information technology at Kannur University. Interestingly, Jassie was also doing his doctoral studies in Indian philosophy at the same university, but they had not seen each other.

I liked him at that first meeting,” says Athulya. Soon after, she said yes and the marriage, according to Hindu rites, took place on September 11, 2012, at the Kottecattu Convention Hall at Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram.  

While Athulya’s father is a Hindu, her mother is a Christian, just like Jassie. “In fact, the proposal came from my mother's side of the family,” says Athulya.

It has been an unusual marriage, in the sense that the couple have spent more time away from each other, than together. The main reason is that Jassie is based in Bangalore where his songs are in big demand in the Kannada film industry, while Athulya remains at Kannur for her doctoral studies. “But we are constantly in touch,” says Athulya.

After every two months, both of them will come to Perumbavur, where Jassie has a villa, near his parents’ house. They will stay a week, before they go their separate ways once again. “We are still in the honeymoon phase,” says Athulya, with a smile. “When we meet, we are always sweet to each other.”

But Jassie has a sweet character, according to Atulya. “He is an understanding and cool person,” she says. “I have not seen Jassie get angry. Even when there is a lot of stress in his career he will not show it. He will simply say he has to finish some work.”

At home, Jassie goes into a music room, which has a keyboard, as well as a synthesizer. “He prefers to be alone, because that helps his creativity,” says Athulya. “When he is working he is in full concentration. I don’t think he is aware of my presence then.”

But once Jassie finishes his work, unlike most artists, he does not carry on pondering over it. “Instead, Jassie forgets about the music,” says Athulya. “For him, the family is as important as his career.”

Nevertheless, Jassie is doing well in the Kannada film industry. The songs, 
which he composed for the blockbuster hit, ‘Myna’ were well received. The singers included Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal and Nithya Menon, “An earlier song, ‘Gaganave Baagi’ sung by Shreya for the film, 'Sanju weds Geeta', became a hit,” says Athulya. Later, Jassie re-recorded that song in Malayalam for 'Chinatown', and called it 'Arikil Ninnalum'. “Jassie is happy in Bangalore,” says Athulya.

He is also happy to play video games during his spare time. “Jassie is a child at heart,” says Athulya. “He spends a lot of time in the Games Zones of most malls.”

On the other hand, when he is at home in Perumbavur, Jassie reads a lot. At present, he is going through 'The Great Indian Novel' by Shashi Tharoor. “Another book he read and liked recently was 'Francis Ittycora' by TD Ramakrishnan,” says Athulya.

A favourite pastime is when they go to Athulya's home in Thiruvananthapuram. “Most nights, after 10 p.m., we go to the Shankumugham beach and watch the waves,” says Athulya. “That is the time when Jassie talks about his school and college days, and the struggle to make a mark as a musician. 

At the same time, Jassie says he was lucky that his first film song, 'Lajjavathiye' [for the 2004 film, '4 The People'], became such a big hit. In fact, once when he had gone to Malappuram for a stage show, there was such a crush of young people that he needed police escort to reach the stage.” 
In Bangalore, too, the Malayalis recognise him, even now, for 'Lajjavathiye'. “People congratulate him for that number,” says Athulya. “Nowadays, the fans no longer ask for autographs. Instead, they want to take photos with Jassie on their mobile phones. And, always, he will introduce me to all his fans.”

When asked about the lessons that she has learnt in her brief marriage, Athulya says, “Each person has their own individuality. We should respect that. Give freedom to your husband. Don’t nag him too much. Then they will become happy and treat us well.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)

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