The Songs our Parents gave us | A Tribute to mine

Dr Susie Pazhavarickel - Tribute to my parents

When I think back on my childhood from where I am now at 51, I think that I had a delightful time. Though with its share of disappointments and frustrations, the good memories now far outweigh the unpleasant.

The memory I treasure most is that of my father’s old gramophone and the thirty six 78 rpm records which came with it. They were mostly KPAC Drama songs and a few movie songs from the 50’s and 60’s. My father could sing in a good baritone. He would sing those songs and my mother would join in with good spirit. Neither had any formal musical training, but I suppose the Christian hymns we sang in church and the vespers at home were training enough.

These are the songs that they used to sing to us then, and I treasure their memories now. This is a tribute to my parents, my father who left us 38 years ago on September 27th, and my mother who left us at 15 minutes to midnight on the 2nd of July this year.

1. Aathmavidyaalayame from Harishchandra (1955)

Thirunayinarkurichi Madhavan Nair / Br Lakshman / Kamukara

Without doubt this was a favourite with both my mother and father. A deeply philosophical song written by Thirunayinarkurichi Madhavan Nair and with brilliant music by Br Lakshman, it is a timeless classic of Malayalam Cinema reflecting the sad plight of the mythical figure Raja Harischandra. Let us live life to its fullest, to its best in the present without greed or excessive pride. After all, is this what life comes down to? Is that all there is?

2. Nayapaisa Illa fromNeeli Saali (1960)

P Bhaskaran Master / K Raghavan / Mehboob

Penned by the genius of P Bhaskaran Master and set to music by folk maestro K Raghavan, sung with the characteristic peppiness of Mehboob, this song by far was one of my father’s favourites. This probably reflected our financial situation at the time, but I was too young to understand. I just liked the song and the tune at that time as a toddler.

നയാപ്പൈസ്സയില്ലാ കൈയ്യിലൊരു
നഞ്ചു വാങ്ങി തിന്നാന്‍ പോലും

Simple lyrics and a simple tune, but it stayed in your head for ever.

3.Vandee Vandee Ninneppole from Doctor (1963)

P Bhaskaran Master / G Devarajan / Mehboob

My father used to sing this song when he was hungry and waiting for food to be served, and we would all join in. At that time the lines “thendi nadannaal randu perkkum kayyil varunnathu kaayaane, kaayaane” to me meant that he was begging for Bananas, but I now know it means cash! 🙂

My dad must have been a fan of Mehboob, because most of the records he played and sang were Mehboob songs, like Aatte Potte Irikkatte and the popular megahit duet Kandam Bechoru Coataanu sung by the legend MS Baburaj and Mehboob from Kandam Becha Coat (1961). As usual, P Bhaskaran has showed his masterful touch for comedy in all the lyrics in this movie with catching tunes by Baburaj. Another of his Mehboob favourites was Theerchayilla from the movie Neeli Saali (Which, interestingly, was resung by Mohanlal in Usthaad (1999), and Kaayalarikathu Valayerinjappol (P Bhaskaran again, with music by K Raghavan who else would it be, with those folksy tunes!) from Neelakkuyil (1954).

The songs I remember my mother by are mostly lullabies (no surprise there :)) and of course the obvious favourite was Omanathinkal Kidaavo which I have followed tradition by singing to my own two kids when they were babies. Got them to sleep too! 😀

Dr Susie Pazhavarical-Surasangeetham Old Malayalam Cinema

4. Kannum Pootti Uranguka from Snehaseema (1954)

Listening to this song now brings tears to my eyes because I can actually remember their voices singing this duet – my mother singing

“kannum pootti uranguka neeyen
kanne punnaara ponnu makale
ammem achanum chaarathiripoo
chemme neeyurangomana kunje”

and my Dad joining in

“thaarani thoomugham sookshichu nokki
en thankakkudathine kannu vaykkathe
thamara kanakalil nidra vanallo
thamasikaatheyuranguken thankam ”

Only recently did I see the movie clip for this song. A very young debonair Sathyan and dazzling damsel Padmini. A beautiful song scene.

5. Appanippam Varum from Jnaanasundari (1961)

Being the youngest, I used to follow my father around like a puppy dog. When he was sometimes late from work and I asked my mother where he was, she would sing me this song.

“appanippam varum ningalurangalle makkale
athalellaam theerumente karalinte pookkale”

and, true to her words, he would appear later with a packet or two of lollies or some other goodies for us. No matter how late it was, we would sit around the dinner table till the food would dry on our hands, talking and joking far into the night.

Today I remember my parents with utmost love and express my gratitude to them for bringing us into this world and sacrificing everything else to gives us the best education, food, shelter and the values which I now uphold in life.

I would love you to share the songs that bring back memories of your parents and your childhood.

15 thoughts on “The Songs our Parents gave us | A Tribute to mine

  1. thanks for this post, susie – i have lovely memories of my parents singing too – Aadyatthe Kanmani (since i was the first-born!) Thumbi thumbi va va, and though this next song is not movie-based and it’s more of a rhyme – Saami pattare oru vaaku kelkanam… does anyone else know this? Another favorite with dad was omana thingal kidavo. They also sang Anjyana Shreedhara Charumoorthe Krishna. Both were hindi film song buffs – Dad would sing Pankaj Mullick’s Piya Milan Ko Jaana, Yeh Kaun aaaya Savere Savere, Saigal’s Ae Kaatib E Takdeer Mujhe Itna Bata De, Main Kya Janoo Kya Jadoo Hai and mom would sing Awaara songs, Ramaiyya Vastavayya, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Hum Bhi Hai Tum Bhi Ho…. so many many more…

    1. Dear Su Lee
      Glad to share your childhood musical memories, those treasured moments with your parents.
      No, I do not know the song “Saami pattare oru vaaku kelkanam”. I wonder whether anyone else would have. Any one?


  2. Dear Susie,
    My parents sung to me as a baby too. My father was slightly tone-deaf but liked film songs. He would put me to sleep singing “kannum pootiyuranguka neeyen…”, only since he was singing he would say, “tharaatu paaduvan achanundallo, thalam pidikkuvaan ammayundallo..”. I am really never sure which is the correct version. When I cried (which I often did, being a bit of a cry baby), he would sing and dance to “Mera laal dupatta malmal ka..”, with an old thorthumundu playing the role of a dupatta, making me laugh in spite of myself. Mother sang kaikottikali paatukal, bhajans and sometimes some kathakali padams which she had learnt as a child. And because of her I listened to Ceylon Radio and developed a love for malayalam songs in spite of being brought up outside Kerala.

    1. Dear Nalini
      Thank you for sharing your fond and precious memories. Although we had a few old hindi songs on LP, I can never remember my dad singing them.

      Woh guzre huve zamaane!



  3. Susy

    Glad to read your childhood memoirs and thanks for the select songs you heard from your loving parents.

    Aatmavidyaalayame, the first song here, as you said, is really philosophic. The composition is so similar to manasa sancharare (Film Sankarabharanam). Similarly the second song Vandi Vandi. This was also a favourite song to me. The third song you included which i rate as a good song is kanum pootti. I used to sing this lullaby even now for my children.
    My parents never sang songs to me. We had a small sony transistor radio and the songs broadcasted by TVM AIR helped to develop my keen interest in music.


    Sajith B

    1. Hi Sajith
      Of course, Maanasa sancharare! Now that you mention it, I can see the similarity.

      I am pleased to hear that some of these are your favourites, too. I have a similar relationship with AIR TVM. Their songs were with me till my early 20s. As we did not have ‘digital downloading’ then, I used to sit in front of the radio for many hours with a cassette tape recorder. 🙂


  4. There was a time, when literature and culture flourished, when the stories of the poor class was depicted in social life and medias as Films, I am saying about the golden time of our cultural heritage, not the cultureless present days as we are guided by only selfishness and greed, ruled by mafias known as government. Onam pirannalum, unni pirannalum oro kumbil kanneeru, manninoro kumbil kanneeru”, “onnurangoo, onnurangoo, ponnushassu kanikandunaraan, onnurangoo. “kanneeruppittu, kaanaatha vattittu, karkitakathil karikkati”; those days were…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    1. Hi Vinod
      Yes, they were the golden days. But now times have changed, and people have different likes and dislikes. Movies just reflect the changing times. I should say that there certainly are flashes of brilliance to be found even now. All is not lost.


  5. Susie,now we know how you developed your keen sense for good music 🙂 In a way,this is how our parents live through us. Of all these songs ‘Kannum pootti uranguka’ I am sure would strike a chord with most of those Malayalaee kids who were born and brought up in the 50s and 60s.
    Each old favourite song has a storie to tell that of our child hood and youth.Thanks for the nostalgia and the lovable home sequences

    1. Dear Jayashree Chechi
      You are right, each old song has a memory attached to it. In fact, a few minutes before she had her fatal fall, my mother was singing her first great-grandchild to sleep with “Omanathinkal Kidaavo”. Thank you for your reply.

  6. Susie chechi
    I am musically challenged- and cannot distinguish a raaga from a shruthi…….but some things from our childhood stills stays with us. I am now 37- and I remember my Amma singing some songs like kannum pootti uranguka…..when me and my brother were still wide awake. Achchan was more interested in telling us bedtime stories….
    enjoyed this article with nostalgia
    and condolences on the passing away of your mother

    1. Hi Narayan
      I am glad that you enjoyed my scribblings. I think the older we get, the more we remember those “Gpod old times”. Thank you for your kind words.


What do you think ?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.