Sunday, July 31, 2011

The forgotten song

I'm cheating this time. This one's a mix of a lot of previous ones. I wrote it a while back (or compiled it, maybe) and thought I should put it up. But mostly, its something that came out of a re-visit to the soul stirring Confluence of Elements by Bombay Jayashri.

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...sounds like dew drops in the morning...

She heard an echo inside her head and opened her eyes. It was still pitch dark. The sound of moving vehicles filled her ears. She had moved into a house near the highway and soon got used to the noise. But what about the silence inside her? Was she getting used to that too? She didn’t want to think about it. She sat up and opened her eyes wider. They pierced the darkness and looked ahead into...nothingness - an empty room, empty walls, and empty shelves, all reflecting her emptiness. She did not want to think of that either. She opened her window and stared up into the heavens. The clouds were moving lazily, engulfing the stars with their transparent greyness, and the wind was swishing swiftly, as if beckoning the drizzle to join it on a mysterious odyssey. It all looked like some sort of celestial dance to music she couldn’t really hear. She thought she was being teased by the forces of nature. She closed her eyes, and her face remained tilted towards the open skies, as if she were awaiting the return of the breeze. She thought she could finally hear the music...the melancholies of broken promises and broken hearts, of unwritten poems and unsung songs.

...sounds like dew drops in the morning...

The words hit her again, this time with a fresh dose of nostalgia, of happier times, when there was music in place of the silence. She could not lose herself to music anymore. In fact, she could not lose herself to anything other than the abyss of silence and emptiness within her. She picked up her bag and reached for the little present Vedha had given her. ‘Listen to it,’ she had said, her eyes full of concern. She looked at it for the first time. Confluence of Elements, the title read, with a picture of the singer Bombay Jayashri Ramnath looking so admirably peaceful with the tambura in her hands. It was her that Vedha had described a long time ago as having a voice like dew drops in the morning. ‘No wonder my mind kept bringing the words back,’ she thought. She didn’t believe this could do anything, but she thought she might try. Just for her friend.

Jagadhodharana...She let the music play and walked to the balcony. She recognised the Kapi raagam which would have instantly called to her some time ago, but today, she felt nothing. She heard the beautiful voice and the contemporary music, so different from the traditional instruments used for Carnatic music, she thought. Moments into the music she found her mind wandering into the shadows of the past, like the divine tune was mere background music in the stage of her life. She found it amusing, that nothing pulled her heart’s strings anymore. Was she all stone now? She wondered. The notes from the strings of the Sarangi reached her ears, bringing with them beats from a Tabla and a tune from the flute, so light, she thought it could be floating. She felt so full of her of emptiness, it was overflowing. Slowly, she found herself rising and falling with the notes...like waves in her ocean of voids. She heard it now, like a revelation brought to her by the breeze... Purandhara Vitalana the voice was singing. There was a sudden power in the immensely soulful voice that was claiming her undivided attention...pulling her towards it...demanding that she doesn’t ignore it. She didn’t understand the lyrics, but she could feel the chills running down her spine; she had to hold on to something to stop her hands from trembling.

Now there she was listening like never before; the piano, the guitar and the mesmerising voice that was singing her pain, her heart-wrenching pain. She felt a little less solid, like melting butter... a little less composed and a little more tranquil at the same time. She was running madly through a maze, and could finally find her way out... The whole world was in a swirl, and there she could finally witness the dance of life...a slow dance, in perfect harmony with everything, waltzing its way to the inner core of her very being. And somewhere within the enticing force that was music, there was surrender...there was rapture...there was a feeling of being consumed by the unknown, and a desire never to return. And a thousand heartbreaks burst out in a single tear, which remained in her eye for a moment, glistening, making the stars twinkle more than usual. She let it roll down and take with it a sea of despair...all her pain... all that made her deaf to music...all the silence that consumed her...like that single tear just drenched her and cleansed every bit of her disturbed soul. Every note she heard was a part of a beautiful story...was an escape from what had been...was ethereal glue that brought broken pieces together...was her truth revealing itself...was a realm of almost-attainable liberation. Moksham.

The music eventually stopped playing. She stared into the rising sun which was sincerely painting the skies fiery shades of orange and pink...she smiled. She was back from what felt like a journey. She thought of life, its blacks and whites, and its more prominent greys...isn’t life like a musical composition? It has its ascending portions and its descending portions, its high notes and its low notes, its flat notes and its flowery notes... and each one of them comes, and goes, giving way to other notes because if they don’t, there cannot be a musical piece. And at the end, what stays with us is not a single note, but the song itself, to which every note counts...

She walked into the kitchen and threw some tea leaves into hot water. She felt strangely serene, mildly inspired. She could still hear the pleading tones of the Sarangi, they were tugging at her heart. She found herself humming a song in the Kapi raagam while she brought the cup up to her mouth and sipped her tea. It smelled of hope.

Yours "block!" ly

Signing off....


6 comments:

Sandy said...

Hey divs...some kinda telepathy here :)i was just randomly browsing n i suddenly remembered its been so long since id chkd ur blog...n wah ud postd jus yest ;)...whattta nice post divs...u reely write so well...so soulful...n i was wondering if Bombay Jayshree evr cums across dis post, she'd be so glad to see d kinda effect that album has on musc lovers like u :) naiceee n keep writing ;)

Div said...

Sand - some telepathy :) Glad u liked the post! And if bombay jayashri every came across this post...sigh! that would be awesome! ;)

Nivetha Gunasekaran said...

Ah Div!! Lovely post, again! I love the line... almost attainable-liberation. It makes me think of all the small things that make one happy and leaves you feeling blessed.
It's amazing how a voice and a song can transport you to a different place and time. It reminds me of a time in the post grad room listening to "Irrakam varamal" over and over again . Happier times!!

I like the name Vedha :)

Vinod R Iyer said...

Someday .. May be someday, I will try and key down too about it. But of course wont get anywhere close to the rhapsody, I bet.

anoodha said...

Lovely post. And I've always always loved the way you sign off :D

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