Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Extract from THE TIMES OF INDIA, Sunday, July 26, 2009 :

Subject : After years of domesticity, Ishwar Pati's dream comes true as his wife fills the home with the sound of music :

"The songs are blossoming again, struggling to come out of their vocal pods after a long, dry hibernation. My wife's singing is somewhat scratchy, with her lyrical chords gathering rust all these years.

Time was, during the days of our courtship, her beautiful, captivating voice flowered from her lips like a splendid orchid before large gatherings . But her singing could never attain full bloom, wilting under the pressure of marriage and consequent relocation . In the domestic cacophony that followed, her musical notes withered and then fell silent. So keen she was to fulfil her role of a dutiful daughter-in-law , and then a responsible mother, that she was left with no time for music.

I did make an occasional effort to persuade her to sing, at least in small friendly get-togethers . But my request fell on deaf ears. You think singing is so easy, do you- she would snap at me. A lot of devotion and concentration goes into it, you know. Can you ensure me that ?

I was silenced. I knew my transferable job and our growing kids were hardly conducive to furthering her musical aspirations. Though she never spoke of it, I could sense that in her heart of hearts she held our marriage and especially me guilty of strangulating her budding melodious career. I swallowed her unspoken indictment , though I still nurtured the hope that some day after the children had grown up and left our nest, the ember of singing lying dormant in her soul would be rekindled.
But when the thaw came, it was so unexpected that I was literally blown off my feet. In one of the cultural evenings taking place in our colony, my wife was somehow cajoled into singing. She joined the voices and soon she was intoxicated with the flow of songs. When the game ended, she was swamped with compliments. After the party, there was a palpable restlessness in her steps as we made our way home. She started humming to herself too! I smiled and let her be. Next morning I was not surprised when she told me that she missed her old harmonium. It had been abandoned at her parents house along with her musical muse after our marriage. But I detected in her remark something more than mere nostalgia for an heirloom. I could discern the spark of revival in her heart, that overwhelming urge to sing. Under the circumstances, I indulged her whim and instead of opting to buy a new harmonium locally, I went all the way to my in-laws place by train to fetch her favourite one. She is still tuning her harmonium and taking her time about it. No reason to hurry, she says. All the dust gathered by the instrument will take time to be brushed off after such a long period of idleness. Her voice too will need to break out of its self-imposed confinement. So I am waiting, patiently. But I can feel the breeze that has started blowing from her newfound buoyancy. Her lilting voice suddenly wafts from the kitchen, humming odd bits of ragas or a mix of old songs. It starts slowly like a cuckoos , unsure of itself, then rises sharply to soar over mountains and flow into rivers before plunging down to earth as her breath gives way from lack of practice. But she doesn't give up. She breathes in again before launching her voice once again on its tuneful plane into the skies. The barrenness of our home is now pregnant with a melody reborn. Yes, after all these years the song blossoms are flowering again and the air is filling up with their fragrant decibels. "

Photo : Courtesy TOI

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