Bonded to music: An emotional tale- Aug 21, 2012
Music is emotional and all those who journey down the path of music, whether as a listeners or performers, are often helplessly carried along in its sometimes happy and sometimes turbulent currents.
Music has reflected deeply on my personality. It has been a form of release, a tool to inflict pain upon myself, a way to get popular and a symbol of my self-esteem, in good times and at times when I’ve felt low.
How could it not be? I started this relationship young. Both my parents were passionate listeners of music. My dad had been a Hindi move junkie (Bollywood, that despicable term had not really come into its own in his day!) since his college days. Mum was into sophisticated stuff like jazz and Hindustani classical music. As their daughter, I was white water rafting down this river starting the age of 6, learning Hindustani classical vocals while mum learned the sitar and dad the tabla. They did this to keep me company and lure me into their world of music, I later realized. I also spent many nights sleeping though all night concerts of the greatest performers in the country, on chairs joined together or durries, as may be the case. I guess, despite a measure of childhood rebellion, the message seeped through and music was coded into my life.
I went on to learn fairly seriously from class 6 until I graduated school. Post that, music morphed into something more experimental, less rigor-bound and more based on moods, and time available. FM radio hit my life in hostel during my five years at SPA, New Delhi where I studied architecture. Singing was about having fun and bonding with friends. Music was still in my life. The river had slowed down, but the waters were still aplenty.
It was when I pursued my masters degree at Texas A&M that the music began to fade away to the background of my life, for the very first time. The following years were traumatic and busy at the same time. I married, I lost my father to a fatal disease, I set up a home, I had a child, then another. A decade of tumult, sweet and sour, bitter in bits. I knew I was losing the thread from time to time. I tried some half-hearted desperate attempts to clutch at the music that was flowing away from me, but it didn’t work. I had lost the confidence in my voice, and as a result, I went into denial about this relationship.
I tried to fight my deep connection with music. I went into denial. For months on end, I divorced myself from musical sound. I didn’t sing or hum and worse still, I didn’t listen to music. The more I stayed away, the guiltier I felt. The life force began to seep out of me, in a vague remote kind of way. So much so, that I was unable to relate the emptiness in my life (yes, despite my hectic life being a working mother, something felt amiss) to the absence of music.
At some point, I realized I had hit rock bottom. The music had died and needed rebirth. There was nothing for it but to start from scratch again! I had to do this for me, no matter what. And I had to do it for my children, who deserved to begin a relationship of their own with music. I began to appreciate how much music had enriched my life. I started to listen to music again, rebuild the emotional ties. The life blood began to flow through me again. I started taking lessons again. Bits and scraps of memory were rekindled. The vocal chords slowly started to respond to codes so deeply embedded that I had no consciousness that they existed. Progress is slow, but I am not giving up hope.
I will find music, the soulmate I had abandoned. I will make up for the lost years. I will gift my children the opportunity to experience of the life force that music is, for that’s what it was for me once and promises to be so, once again.