Friday, February 22, 2013

I've had a couple of not-so-great days reader, and have been reminded of my unhealthy tendency to brood. I tried everything to get out of my funk, from gallons of coffee, to strenuous exercise, to reading poetry, but nothing worked for long.

Today when I was driving back from work, I realised that I felt uncomfortably warm. That hasn't happened in months. I shrugged off my sweater while I waited for a signal to change. It was only symbolic: I had to put the sweater back on half an hour later, but I still take this to mean that spring is here. I also noticed marigolds blooming along the pavement, and they're either new, or I've been too lost these past few days to notice gaudy yellow flowers sprouting everywhere.

When I reached home I tried something I haven't done in a long time. I sang. Oh, I'm always humming and I frequently sing to my mirror with a deodorant canister as a mike, but today I dusted off my electronic tanpura, dug out my music notes, and pretended I was singing on a stage to a large and enraptured audience. Panda came to enquiringly sniff the tanpura and stayed to listen for a while.

I was pleased with my voice today. I began with the most basic exercises, singing them off the music textbook amma bought me when I was seven. It's a photocopied book, since prints of  Karnatic music textbooks weren't easily available in Delhi in 1995. In several places the print was either unclear or non-existent, so the blanks were filled in by me. My writing from back then is remarkably similar to how I write today. Large, impatient letters, in multicoloured ink. (What? I like colour. I think it brightens up the page.) I remember how eager I was back then to finish with this book and graduate to the good stuff: the varnams and the keerthanas that the more advanced students were singing. I have a deplorable sense of rhythm and because of it was made to repeat a lesson once: I didn't get the alankaras right and my teacher said she wouldn't start me on geethams until I did.

I did eventually nail them though, and I think I nailed them again today, as I blazed through them, high speed. Then I sang a geetham, a swarajathi, a varnam, a kriti and finally a thillana. I imagined the audience cheering my every vocal flourish. I threw everything I had into my performance, and then some. I waved my arms in vigorous expression, made dramatic faces, grunted praise when I executed a tricky gamakam, and eventually closed my eyes in ecstasy. When I finally opened them, Panda was gone, but I did feel much better. I nodded and smiled graciously for the thunderous applause, and then went to see about dinner.


  1. Glad to see you are back. I was missing your blog.
    Every single post on your blog is a pleasure to read.

  2. Aw, Komal, thank you. You always say the nicest things. :)