Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mathavan Lachupathan

It’s been sometimes since I updated this blog. I have to, now, but on a sad note.

My colleague passed away on Sunday night (5 June 2005). It was quite a blow to our office. And a bigger blow (apart from his family, close friend and relatives) was for me. Not that I was particularly close to him. He would introduce me as friend to others and I would think, “I’m not your friend, I am your colleague”. That’s me. And that was him.

You see, Mathavan is a musician. He plays drum for Indian bands, playing for Tamil songs. That is where both of us clicked. I shared my love for old Tamil songs and films with him. Like me, he was an ardent Sivaji fans. We would spent long time discussing Sivaji films and analyse performances until the boss calls him.

Then, on Monday afternoon, me, and the rest of the office folks, were looking at his widow by the coffin. He looked calm. There was satisfaction in his face. He should be. Because, when his life left him, he was playing drum. It was the second song, according to his close friend and fellow musician for last few decades, Bani, and he dropped the stick. Mathavan bend down to pick the stick up and he never got up.

I will miss all those conversations we had. Those discussions, debates. I lent him Sivaji movie Savale Samali a couple of weeks ago. Something strange happened. Because usually he would watch it over the weekend and return it to me on Monday. He was THAT disciplined, something I don’t see in many Malaysians. This time, he never finished the movie. He kept apologising to me for the delay, and I would brush that away, knowing well the he would watch it and return it. I was just eager to discuss about it. Alas, none of these happened.

He was not a great worker. Maybe adequate. We have our squabbles, the usual office politics. But he did not and never have hurt me. I don’t recall having heard of him talking bad about me. Much more, he helped me. Even financially in many occasions. All that no more.

I know his loss will be and should be mourned. But I will try not too. He died peacefully, and especially while doing something he loved the most. It was a great death. Not many artists can get this kind of death. Its like straight to heaven with no passport. Mr Mathavan, wherever you are, Thank You. And say hi to John Bonham for me, will ya.


Sara said...

How do we account for the loss of a friend, a colleague and a fellow musician all in one?

Mr. Mathavan was a very soft spoken humble man. There were times when I was irritated by him and he by me, i'm sure, yet we always found reasons to laugh together. His is the first face I'd see every morning when I come to the office. We come from the same town (seremban), he and I. So we always had things to talk about regarding our childhood (despite the generation gap between us). The man loved playing the drums. When I introduced him to John Bonham's work, he was overwhelmed with appreciation for it. He had a lot of passion for life though it would seldom show due to his humble nature, but engaging in conversations with him about music and humour would make it clear. He was supposed to have joined me and my band to play with us at a music studio in a couple of weeks. Now I only wish that we could have had the privilege of his rhythm in our music.

He had comforted me with his soothing words whenever I was in a melancholic mood and he would share the cheer whenever there was opportunity. My last travel with him was to Singapore in may this year and I'm glad I made him laugh with my antics throughout the journey and our stay in Johore Bahru.

I'll always value the encouragement he had given me on a personal level and cherish the memories of his laughter and humble smile.

Bonham knows of those who love the drums... he'll find you, Mr. Mathavan. And whatever I play, I'll always play one for you. So, see you in paradise, tuan. Stay in tune.

Anonymous said...

To me, remembering all the good times with Mr Mathavan is something that I find quite hard to forget. Yes, just like everyone here in ADPR, he has shared quite a few things with me.

I admired his outfit, very corporate. Clean-iron shirt, tie, cool coloured pants. Me, I come to work like a thug.

Best times with Mr Mathavan would be during IMDEX 2005. He had two of us, me and Sara for 5 days. We taught him 'Trench'(Tamil in French accent) and amazingly, it kinda stuck on to him.

We had good food together. Shared some great moments. We talked about music and recording. We shared stories and incidents. We even shared our fetishes and fantasies (i'm quite stunned hearing his..).

Yes, like young boys just reached puberty, we talked about girls. Even though I've known him for just a few months, I've enjoyed his company, his ideas and his dedications towards ADPR.

So, Mr. Mathavan, even though you are in a place where great drum legends hang out, I want you to ask God to change the pitiful state of our local musicians here. And perhaps even change all of their stuck up shit attitudes also.

Jam with the great ones there Mr Mathavan, for your sticks will never break, your drums will never miss a beat, your playing will never go out of style. You are missed dearly here by all of us.


Anonymous said...

Its been more than a month since Mathavan passed away, and his absence is even more apparent now.
Slowly, the things I used to gripe about Mathavan are disappearing. As is usually the case, the process of forgetting has begun. Soon only a handful of memories will remain of the man I worked with for about two years.
These memories, one could say, are the essence of the relationship one has had with the person who's passed away.
In Mathavan's case, a number of reminisces are tucked away; ending with a snapshot of him lying in a coffin surrounded by flowers.
Its a stark reminder to live one's life well, balance work with something else on the side and try to pass through life with a handful of friends who will truly grieve your death.
Though the name Mathavan Latchupathan will not be mentioned in the history books, I do feel - from the little that I know - that he had lived his life.
A long career as an administrative staff in a bank, and an equally long time spent drumming with a band. Two children, both grown up and settled in life. Financial security. A home all paid for. Lasting friendships.
I guess he achieved most of the basic requirements that we set for ourselves these days and will struggle to meet.
It was sad that Mathavan died at a relatively young age of 59, but like we've said: He died happy, doing something he loved. That's something we would'nt mind at all.
And yes, we will miss him...