Sunday, June 5, 2011

When The Music Stopped

The man would have been my father's age.

He resembled my father too in ways more than one - fair, tall, well built and dignified looking, the only exception perhaps being that he had a head full of hair (No offence, Dad! :) )

He sat in a corner of the well lit exquisitely adorned dinner hall. In a place occupied by happy rich families, dining and wining to their heart's content, this man sat alone; his only companion being the soft music of the santoor that he held in his hands.

His companion din't have many takers, for the soft melody of the beautiful instrument was lost to the soulless laughter of affluent men, irritable yelling of hungry children, shrill clank of empty vessels and loud calls for waiters.

Yet, he went on undeterred... playing the strings of the elegant instrument that probably made him forget his own despicable life that had brought him to the mercy of these heartless mortals who din't stop to give an appreciative glance. Music probably pulled those who worshiped it, into a magical world of infinite joy irrespective of where their bodies lay...a world that knew no ego, no humiliation and no self but only divine surrender to endless bliss.

And then, the music stopped. The musician arose. He looked at me. And smiled.

As he walked towards me, I prepared myself to be overtaken by poise, regality and maybe even a short intellectual discourse. Yes, I have seen this type before. They bore pride. They bore dignity.They spoke philosophy in deep voices. In their eyes, you could see that they had led a life of rich art-filled times and hence walked with the profound splendour that a long union with art gave one. Before them, you felt small and tried acting like you loved art too and are very open to it.

I started to fast think of a befitting compliment that could do justice to the thirty minutes of music he had bestowed upon numerous pairs of ungrateful ears.

Yet, he had prepared his talk way before than I had.

"Hello. Will you publish my photo in the paper tomorrow? I could send you more pictures. I have been playing on stage since 1984. I have been given many awards. Would you mention that in the paper too? I could give you the details. Please take my card.", he said with hungry eyes...eyes that were desperate for hope and promise, despite having seen disappointment far too many times.

Silence followed.

I smiled, nodded and murmured some positive consolation. "Yes...we could try pushing in the picture. It should be coming. Some other time, we could do a profile on you. I will contact you if needed."

He nodded and thanked, his eyes giving away a flicker of doubt. Not giving up to blatant logic, he persisted - "I have even got an award by..............", he signed off, each word becoming less audible than the previous.

I went back home.

I realized with sinking sadness that while music pulled those who worshiped it into a magical world ,  it unfortunately cannot keep them there forever.


Anonymous said...

Your companion is giving you experiences, both, divinely beautiful and utterly stark.

Your companion is likely to expose you to several situations that reveal the extremes in human nature. I only hope and pray that you persevere with your companion, learn and also enrich us (with your posts) in the process.

Take care.

The Visitor said...

A poignant post.

Sindu said...

@Anonymous: Hmmm... feels like I have known you for a long time. And thats no flattery. Something about the 'take care' at the end of it. Thank you!

My companion is becoming an unpredictable source of education everyday. Hope it likes me and stays for a long time.

Sindu said...

Poignant... very befitting term for the thoughts that the incident elicited. Thank you! :)

mr.weirdo!! said...

"my work ll speak for itself ... ppl ll knock my doors ... talent ll take u to greater heights ... " all these r bullshit clever marketin n precise timin is d key now ... wish tht guy gets tht part too

Anonymous said...

@mr.weirdo and Sindu

"my work ll speak for itself ... ppl ll knock my doors ... talent ll take u to greater heights ... " all these r bullshit ...

clever marketin n precise timin is d key now ...
Not necessarily true.

Success is a random event and probabilistically success is rare (that which has a low probability of happening). All things being equal, some succeed and a majority don't. It just happens that only the success stories are visible to all, while the numerous unsuccessful stories are not told. Survivorship bias.

This theory has been propounded by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and I find it convincing. If interested, please see:

Fooled by randomness
Fooled by randomness - Amazon link
Another interesting link Black Swan theory
PS: @mr.w I am not contradicting your view; I am just giving another viewpoint. :)