My mind is in a contemplative and wandering-about mode and today it has been dipping into the nooks and crannies of an assortment of thoughts and memories of love songs. This is not surprising, as I have been listening to and watching a lot of padams lately. Padams are songs of the infinite and universal emotions of love. They were a vital part of the repertoire of the Devadasis, the brilliant and deeply knowledgeable dancers and musicians of the temples and courts of South India. Their beauty is in the mood they create with their haunting melodies and beautiful poetry, rendered at a slow, unhurried pace. They are earthy and real, and sublime and ethereal. They touch a chord deep inside you because the stories they tell are your story too. They are not flashy, there is no exciting footwork, no rhythmic thrills. Only the best musicians and dancers can do them justice and portray their charm, and only a discerning audience can appreciate them. But when it all comes together, the quiet magic that suffuses the air stays with you for a long time. These moments are precious, and rare.