Rahmania is back! We apologize for the very long break. We have no excuses.
A very Happy Birthday to A.R.Rahman. We have a special post written by Amrith. Enjoy!
A long day’s work. A long bus journey to get back home. The usual grind. Unfortunate but, needs must. The bus journey, you look forward to a little less apprehension for you know that you have the comfort of your music.
So you get on the bus and you, hopefully, find a seat on it. You sit down and put the earphones – or headphones – on. You then play something. You feel better. And then you play something else. You feel better still. Slowly, you begin to relax and as you do, music takes a step in the backward direction. Before you know it, the songs that you had lined up are done. You are far too busy looking at something else – a pretty girl, a sleeping child, the bus conductor’s rhythm. Something else.
And then you come back to the music. It has stopped. Something is not ajar. There is nothing in your ear. But now, anything will do. So you do the easiest thing you can – put the playlist on shuffle and settle in once again. You, maybe, close your eyes. The world of the bus is exhausted. The world outside the bus window is uninteresting. So you look inward. And then you try to enjoy the music. And yet, you can’t really do that.
At first, the music fills your mind; it captivates you. You sing along. And then the mind wanders. You think of the unfinished piece of code, that stray comment that you meant to add but did not, that report that is not quite formatted, that template that is due first thing in the morning. Just as easily, the mind thinks of what is to be – the food that you are going to make, the vegetables that are there at home, the fruits that are to be bought, that shirt that needs to be pressed for tomorrow and all else.
The music, all this while, is still playing. It is, however, a mere detail.
While all this happens in your head, your destination arrives or, rather, you arrive at your destination. You alight. You walk towards your house, the usual packet of milk bought at the corner store. You exit the bustle of the main road and leave behind the traffic. The music is still playing. You are aware of this, no doubt. And yet, it is still only a detail. Your mind is still thinking of what you’re going to cook.
You glance, that usual cursory glance, at that balcony of that building hoping to catch a glimpse of that friendly man who waves at you. He is not there. You are impatient. You want to be home. You want to be rid of all the grime and the sweat. Your eyes wander. You look at the opposite side of the road. A couple of silhouettes emerge from the distance, the yellow streetlight almost halo-esque behind their heads. The silhouettes – An old man and a child – approach. And then they stop.
Suddenly, you are aware of a silence. The music has stopped. You notice, surprising yourself. The child is holding on to the outstretched index finger of the left hand of the old man, presumably, his grandfather. The little one stretches to hang on to the finger. The child does not really know what a pull-up is, as yet, and yet, he is executing something that resembles it.
Suddenly, he lets go of the grandfather’s hand. Something else has caught his fancy. Suddenly, you are aware of the strumming of a guitar. The strumming builds up. It is interspersed with notes. Twenty seconds pass. Time, it seems, is a four-beat cycle. A voice. It is not the greatest you have heard but, somehow, it is apt.
You stand. You are transfixed by the child. Or is it the voice? Or is it the music? No, it cannot be the music. It is way too simplistic. It cannot be the voice; it is nothing extraordinary. It must be the child, you think. Surely.
And so you continue to look at the child. He is jumping up and down wildly. You squint to see why. At first, you don’t see it. And then, as the song lilts and flows, you see it. Three and a half minutes have elapsed. Another instrument, you hear. A flute. You see what the child sees. You see the white dandelion. The little white flower bobs up and down. As soon as the child thinks that he has caught it, it just escapes and bobs up before coming down to tease the child again. And then again. And then again.
The flute, meanwhile, has merged with the voice. Four minutes have elapsed. The guitar joins in, albeit, most succinctly. And then the voice goes higher. The flute follows. The guitar strum becomes more pronounced. It all just comes together in only the way it can. The result, it seems, is magic. And then the flute fades out. It has done its bit. The guitar strums a little more loudly. The voice is steady.
And then the voice begins to fade in volume, ever so slightly. The guitar is in its last throes. You know it is. You suddenly snap out of it. You leave the magical world that Rahman has transported you to for the past five minutes. You realize just in time, that the voice is now completely gone. There is one last strum of the guitar left. You look up, instinctively.
The child looks at you, a look of satisfaction, neigh, achievement writ large on the face; a face lit up by a wonderful smile. You know that the guitar strum is not going to last much longer. You know that the end is now and yet, you do not want it to end. And yet, it must. You wait for that last strum. It comes. You are hit with a pang. You look up. The child extends his right hand.
He has caught the dandelion, the white flower. You look at that and you smile. The world, suddenly, is a much better place.