I was proud my father spoke Arabic fluently - his father sent him to learn Arabic from a sheikh - and we had Arab friends. His task of understanding the Arabs - not only politics but poetry - was very important; he took it as a vocation.
I remember, in my first show in New York, they asked, 'Where is the Indian-ness in your work?'... Now, the same people, after having watched the body of my work, say, 'There is too much Indian philosophy in your work.' They're looking for a superficial skin-level Indian-ness, which I'm not about.
In the past, I used to counter any such notions by asking myself: 'Would you really want President Hattersley?' I now find that possibility rather cheers me up. With his chubby, Dickensian features and his knowledge of T.H. Green and other harmless leftish political classics, Hattersley might not be such a bad thing after all.
It seems astonishing to be paid for indulging in pure pleasure. For me to go to Coburg is rather as if a trainspotter was sent for a few weeks to Swindon or a chocoholic asked on holiday by Green and Black.
When Christians start thinking about Jesus, things start breaking down, they lose their faith. It's perfectly possible to go to church every Sunday and not ask any questions, just because you like it as a way of life. They fear that if they ask questions they'll lose their Christ, the very linchpin of their religion.
One of the very important characteristics of a student is to question. Let the students ask questions.
One of the more difficult tasks for me as president was to decide on the issue of confirming capital punishment awarded by courts... to my surprise... almost all cases which were pending had a social and economic bias.
If we ask a vague question, such as, 'What is poetry?' we expect a vague answer, such as, 'Poetry is the music of words,' or 'Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.'
I joined the Madras Christian College but dropped out after three months. Telugu music director Ramesh Naidu asked me to assist him, and I did so for over a year. I did think of rejoining college, but by then, I was discovering the musician in me. I worked with Illaya Raja and Raj Koti and soon shifted to commercials. This led to movie offers.
Every time I sit for a song, I feel I am finished. It's like a beggar sitting waiting for God to fill your bowl with the right thought. In every song, I ask help from Him. Everybody around is so good, so to create music that will connect with so many people is not humanly possible without inspiration.