Though not an avid watcher of Tamil teleserials,my maid servant’s effusive comments about a popular serial fanned my curiosity into watching one of them on the Internet. It didn’t sustain my interest, with a weak story line and robot like actors looking more of corpses walking straight out of the burial ground. But what caught my attention were the comments praising the title music lavishly. One particular comment said that the title music of the serial was a straight lift from a famous English song, with a link to the song it was lifted from – I had no difficulty in nailing the ugly truth behind the comment. This shocking revelation made me prod further about such songs with the help of google search. I was dumbfounded when I saw the latest Bollywood songs, composed by the new crop of Music Directors, being straight lifts from either western, Arabian, Spanish, Turkish music tunes. The world music at your doorsteps, thanks to these copycats. But with no credits or acknowledgments being given to the original composer, it was outright plagiarism. I felt sad at the sorry state of affairs because these musicians with no creativity earned millions, stacking it up all in their Swiss bank accounts. But the composers of the bygone era, who created immortal soulful melodies - Hindi Music Directors like Chitragupta,Iqbal Qureshi, GS Kohli, N Dutta etc – with their painstaking, creative original works, never got much recognition, fame or money in the industry. Being a serious Carnatic music aficionado I have admired the different styles of our Carnatic jambavans, be it Ariyakudi, GNB, MLV, S Balachander, Veena Chittibabu. They created their unique style of singing which even now lures scores of listeners to their immortal songs. They all sang the same old Krithis of St. Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Shyama Sastri but it was their unique style of singing or playing the instrument, which brought out the innate beauty of the song. They improvised upon the century-old songs using their creativity, by engaging manodharma, adding sheen to minor nuances, changing the arithmetic pattern of the swarams, but strictly within the confines of the grammar of Carnatic music, giving the listeners an out of the world experience. The same thing cannot be said about the present genre of young musicians, who within a year's practice, through Skype and online classes, want to be become an overnight star, with only aim of getting in to the fast track of fame, money, concerts and adulation. Creativity comes along with long exposure to music and that cannot happen overnight. This is happening in the literature world also, is painful where many stories or literary pieces from all over the world, are stolen and published. This only shows as to what extent plagiarism has spread its ugly tentacles. I recall those humble times when I was doing my State board SSLC classes in my school. Along with the text books was our holy bible, Konar notes, which stood us in good stead, throughout our academic calendar. When doubts were raised during class hours, the teachers stood like frozen statues or punished us mercilessly. With no help coming forth from elders in our house, these Guides looked like Manna from the heaven. When I finished my first monthly test, efficiently pouring out all that I had learnt through my Konar notes,I was eagerly expecting high grades in all the subjects. But there came a big shock in my life which I till now can never forget. My Tamil teacher, an elderly woman of exceptional teaching abilities, entered our class room with all corrected test papers in her hand and started handing them over to us by calling us individually, along with her personal remarks regarding our performances. When my name was read out, I stood out happily, grinning ear to ear, in anticipation of some appreciative remarks from my teacher. Instead she asked me if I was fond of learning by rote and then vomiting it all straight on the test paper. When I nodded my head in affirmation, still positive about my high score, I was shocked to see below average marks stare at me. When I felt humiliated, I started crying but then her words of advice put some sense in my troubled mind. She advised me not to indulge in such brainless activities, be it learning by rote or reproducing the same material as in the guide, which in the long run would rob me off my originality. “Be original in your thinking, absorb the essence of the material you read, and use your own words to improvise it”, was her simple advice. As years passed on I realised how much her advice had impacted my entire life. The tiny seed of truth she sowed that day on a floundering mind, had taken deep roots and has stood with me till now. Call it influence, inspiration or passion - decent names given for plagiarism, the nagging question is when school kids doing the board exams are punished severely, penalised by debarring them from taking up their exams in the future, for the crime of copying, how is it that these vulgar plagiarists are tolerated by the concerned industries and are left scot-free, conferring them with awards and titles! While writing this piece, I was lost in the old world charm of my schooldays, when suddenly I heard somebody shouting Copy copy, which sure sent a chill through my spine. Was it my teacher standing with a cane in her hand ready to strike me? When I woke up from my reverie shouting NO, No, -– to my comfort, it was none but my mom who was shouting out for her third dose of degree coffee!