Before connoisseurs of the South Indian offerings of Saravana Bhavan loudly proclaim their annoyance at its name being used in conjunction with an Italian sounding name and before fans of Andrea Bocelli convey their subtle displeasure at the hint of an association of the great Italian singer with an eatery serving basic South Indian fare, I need to point out there is in fact, a basis for these two names to be appearing together in the title of this blog post. But I will come to that later on.
Without meaning any disrespect to fans of either Saravana Bhavan or Andrea Bochelli, I can well understand as to why this association could be considered outrageous, if not sacrilegious by the fans (or, better still, patrons) of these two institutions. You would not go to Saravana Bhavan and ask the bearer to get you Risotto or Tiramisu and it would be equally impossible for one to visualize Andrea Bochelli having mini oothappams as the hors d’oeuvre item soon after his performance.
Although I had heard the Besame Mucho song earlier on (the Beatles have sung it many times and this has been a background number in quite a few movies and perhaps there is a Bollywood number with the same tune), I had not bothered to know its meaning and delve into other details. Besame Mucho, incidentally is a Spanish song written by a Mexican song writer Consuelo Velázquez way back in 1940. And although she wrote it when she was still in her early teens, it beautifully captures the passions that get aroused by kissing a loved one. The literal translation of that song is given below and doesnt quite convey the sentiment; the other singers have therefore adapted the lyrics to convey the true sentiment and fitted these adaptations in the original tune.
KISS ME FOR LONG
KISS ME, GIVE ME MANY KISSES, AS IF TONIGHT IS THE LAST NIGHT.
KISS ME, GIVE ME MANY KISSES, FOR I’M SCARED TO LOSE YOU, LOSE YOU FOREVER.
I WANT TO HAVE YOU VERY CLOSE, TO SEE MYSELF IN YOUR EYES, TO SEE YOU NEXT TO ME,
THINK THAT TOMORROW, PERHAPS, I WILL BE FAR AWAY FROM YOU,
On a fine Friday morning, Lata and I fixed up with my dear friend, Deepak Srivastav (whose wife was out of the country that time) to meet at Saravana Bhavan for a typical South Indian breakfast. We reached the place a little later than scheduled and when we parked our car next to Deepak’s car, we hurriedly got out of our car, not to delay the proceedings any further, since Deepak had apparently arrived earlier on. Just then, Lata pointed me to Deepak’s car, whose engine was running and in the car was Deepak, eyes closed and gently swaying from side to side as if in a deep trance. Considering that he seemed to be in a deep state of bliss, Lata did not want to disturb him and waiting outside under the hot Muscat sun, I was dreaming and salivating with the prospect of the breakfast ahead of us. Granted, the aromas of the Onion Sambhar wafting out from the frequently opened doors, were making the wait in the sun a little more bearable, but after a few minutes, I couldn’t hold myself from gently tapping on Deepak’s car window. It looked to me as though I had rudely jolted Deepak out of his meditative state, but the sweet person that he is, gave me a broad smile and signaled to us to come into his car. I pointed out the watch, but Deepak’s smile won in the end and we were treated to what had held Deepak in that state of bliss by the music being played in his car. That was Besame Mucho and the golden voice, I learnt from Deepak was that of Andrea Bochelli. It was not difficult for us to visualize as to how much Deepak was missing his wife and younger daughter, who was at that point of time studying in Italy. I will not go into details of how Deepak came across this collection of numbers by Andrea Bochelli; all that I will say is Andrea Bochelli held me in absolute bliss over the next few days, since Deepak loaned that CD to us.
We had a sumptuous breakfast after that encounter and that is how the association between Andrea Bochelli and Saravana Bhavan began.
And on November 1, 2011 , when Andrea Bochelli plays in the Royal Opera House in Muscat, I am sure that we four, Deepak and his wife, Lata and myself will be transported into yet another blissful state. Of course, there will be no Onion sambhar served during the intermission!!
September 9th, 2011