One category of people that infuriate me, beyond words can adequately express, are the Singers: those blessed with a good voice. Ask them to sing a line or two for you & they will come up with a 100 excuses why they CAN’T do it. Which song? Where’s the music? Do you have songs of so & so? Oh Hindi songs – naah, do you have something in English? I forgot the lines! I’ve sore throat! No, not here! Or they just plain beseech you, “Please some other day”.
Then these very same people don’t hesitate to criticize others. They correct the unfortunate ones like me, born without a velvet voice or worse, a hoarse voice, at the very first opportunity they get. This memsahib I mentioned in “Love to hate you” is a trained singer; her forte – devotional songs. No, I’ve never had the great fortune of listening to her renditions. She has never sung in front of me. I came to know she sings “wonderfully” from her husband who proudly proclaimed one day that during a family gathering she enthralled everyone. And as some devotional singers go, they tend to be a vain lot. In Kannada, we say, “yane devara thundaa?” Translated it means, “Do you think you are God’s single piece creation?”
I’ve an ordinary voice. Okay that was a hyperbole. The truth is I’ve a HORRIBLE voice. I’ve actually heard my own voice played back to me & asked, “Shit! Whose atrocious voice is this?” Yup, it’s that bad! But in my defense, I always say I respond to music, any music, as one ideally should – to its ‘bhaav’ or emotion & merrily sing along or shed a silent tear, as the case may be. Whether it’s the stereo in the car or the music system in the house or the FM on a mobile handset, I sway to the beats of a song I love. And yes, open my croaky throat & sing along quite loudly, oblivious to the surroundings or rather in spite of it. It’s all in the moment. I’m so completely caught up in the melody, the mood the song has evoked that it doesn’t matter who I’m with or where. The song & what it means is all that matters. Connoisseur of art: the one truly capable of surrendering to the pulsating effect music has on my heart, enjoying it unabashedly.
I am unaware of the genres/ragas/taalas/musical notes & other technicalities of a song. But I shed copious tears after listening to some songs at certain occasions in some places simply because it has touched my very soul. There have been times when I’ve been driving to some place & while listening to certain music have caught myself with tears streaming down my eyes. Just like that! I’ve smiled to some & danced to some. I’ve relived experiences of pain, separation, loneliness, loss, love, joy, fulfillment, & longing. Some songs take you with them & I believe you must let them. Music is felt & experienced & understood by those that have lived their lives, those that have won some, lost some.
So when my singer friends ridicule me or stop me saying, “Hey, that was a wrong note. It should be in high pitch in the second line” or “No, that line is not like that. You missed the third word in the fifth line” – it saddens me first, because they broke my spell & angers me next because they know not music is divine & divinity is not to be constrained.