Saturday, August 08, 2015

2234 : Tanpura

My sister was chasing me up saying she needs to find time to go and pick up a Tanpura. I always knew she had a keen interest in music, but this request will still a little too serious for her types.

I asked her "Tanpura? Serious kya?. Now whats up?".

She said, "I am finally getting serious about my classical stuff."

"You know right that it is usually tuned to G# in case its being used by a girl."

"Of course, duffer, I obviously know that."

"How long does it take it learn a composition or a raga well?"

"Usually a lifetime."

"And? You have a lifetime?"

"Yes. I am willing to die learning this. I have finally decided."


"Remember good music is a bit like us. If we decide to stop seeing the notes embedded in our conversations, or if we decide to stop improvising with each other, then our relationship dies even before the Alaap starts. But if we really see another human being, for what he or she really is, and we wish to get into their skin, we can spend a lifetime, but it will never be enough to get under the skin. A good composition is like that, you can never get into its skin enough. Never is enough. Everytime you involve yourself into it, its yet another layer that emerges."

"Thats deep."

"It is. And hence music is a real metaphor for our lives. I think of you and I or all our relationships, a bit like music."

And then she added with a pause, "Also remember that sometimes when you plateau with a piece, the best way to conquer it, or befriend it, is to let it sleep and seep. Let it go from within your psyche. Just like human beings, a raga can never be owned or conquered by trying harder. The best way to win over a raga is to let it free. Let it go. At least for a good period of time. Sometimes for years. And then one day, when you least expect it, it will come back, like a lover who has chosen you again...and on that day, it will be sublimely divine."

And further more she added, this time with a chuckle "And how often we forget this na. With our spouses, with our parents, with our children and even with our friends.....we dont let them fly, in the optimistic hope, that clutching onto them will keep the strings alive....and reality is so bloody counter-intutive..... Invariably the raga never comes in our grasp. Its a life half lived, its a raga that was stillborn."

Take a bow my dear sister. There is truth in your words.

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