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He has a nose for it

Pastor S. Charles finds it more fascinating to blow the mouth organ with his nose.

RECALL DEV Anand or Rajesh Kanna of Bollywood or Jai Shankar and Kamal Hassan of Kollywood in their roles as romantic heroes. And what is featured along with them? - the ubiquitous `mouth organ'. Size does not matter. Small and sweet, the musical organ has lent weight to the characters on reel and certainly created and left an indelible impact on the audiences far and wide.

As the name implies, the musical instrument is played with the mouth. But here is an exception in real life. Funny but true, Pastor S. Charles finds it more fascinating to blow the mouth organ with his nose!

Ask him how and pat comes the reply: "The technique is the same. Only the medium through which air is released differs. I blow the air from the bottom of my stomach. Then, it reaches my mouth and gets released through the nose." It may be easier said than done for others. Charles uses a regular `C' Major mouth organ only and there is nothing special about it. "There are seven types of mouth organ, `A', `B', `C', `D', `E', `F', `G', and `H' majors, based on western music notes. One mouth organ cannot match with another major," he says.

A friend's teasing remark drove him to this different style. And he gushes, "the small musical instrument is not a mouth organ for me but a nose organ!"

High aim

Having mastered the different playing technique in 1999, Charles can't now stop dreaming of creating a Guinness record. He wants to play the mouth organ with his nose for more than 14 hours non-stop.

But as all achievers' stories are riddled with financial problems, Charles' too is no different. "Who will sponsor me?" he wonders sadly.

But hope remains because many organisations invite him to play at their functions. But any offer for a Guinness endeavour is yet to come. Charles has not given up and continues to practice for a couple of hours daily.

Leading TV channels have interviewed him while AIR has relayed an hour-long programme. Shahjahan, who conducts the music.com in the AMN TV, was the first to discover Charles and his skills and give him adequate publicity in a local cable TV.

Father and teacher

Having won fans all over the world, courtesy TV programmes, Charles admits with all humility: "It is all because of my father, Alexander, an employee of the Indian Air Force and a mouth organ player of the IAF troupe. He taught me how to play this instrument." The 59-year-old Pastor's love for the melodious instrument developed when he was 10 years old but he is also an equally good drummer and a vocalist as well. Being a multi-linguist - he knows Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and English - Charles plays songs of multiple languages with much ease. The mouth organ has not been a source of income for him. But it has proved to be a good exercise for the lungs. "My doctor certified that my lungs are clean and in perfect condition," he says with a smile and informs that he also takes hour-long strolls daily in the mornings and evenings to keep himself hale and hearty.

M.R. ARAVINDAN

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