Musical Relationships

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Cinema, Friends, Media, Music, Slice Of Life)

I hated him with all my heart. Reason: simple. Whenever in the recreation club we would be watching cheesy bollywood dramas, he would come and change the channel and watch national geography and discovery. He also stopped the recreation club subscription of the magazine Filmfare. In those days these were good enough reasons for me to hate him and I did hate Bharath Raj Guru. He was a faculty in Manipal Institute of Technology and so were my father and the father of our friend circle. Because he was senior to us we never said anything fearing the matter would reach our parents.

One day while we friends were playing carom he came and expressed the desire to play. My teammate offered him the seat. That resulted in Bharath Raj Guru and I becoming teammates. I just wanted to walk off but because he was senior to me I sat back and continued the game. We did not speak, though we were teammates. Being extremely talkative I could not keep my lips zipped for a long time. I started singing to myself, as I continued to play. Those were the days when I was listening only and only to Mukesh. So automatically the songs that I was singing were of Mukesh. I remember, the song I sand first was “Kisi Ki Muskuraahaton Pe Ho Nisaar.” Bharath Raj Guru started singing with me!! I shifted the song to, “Sab Kuch Seekha Humne” and he joined his voice. The song “Hum Tujhse Mohobbat Karke Sanam” took wings from my lips. And in no time the same song took wings from his lips too. I sang “Kabhi Kabhi,” “Zikr Hota Hai”, “Jis Gali Mein Tera Ghar Na Ho”, “Hum Chod Chaley Hai Mehafil Ko” and many more and he would just sing along with me. The game continued as we sang and we lost the game. When the game got over I broke the silence between us and asked, “Are you also a devotee of Mukesh?” to which he said, “Yes” with a shine in his eyes. I remember walking back home with him that night discussing about various songs of Mukesh and their beauty.

Bharath Raj Guru became a good friend since then. Whenever he listened to a new song, he would call me home make me listen and then ask the meaning of some Hindi and Urdu words which he did not follow. We also discussed philosophy and ideology at a later stage. What marked the beginning and what laid a foundation to our relationship was music. The soul of our relationship was music.

When I met Bharath Raj Guru I was learning Tabla along with some friends. We were this naughty bunch who was a pain for our Tabla teacher. The classes were held in his house. He was sick and tiered of us and so were his other family members for we never paid attention and were not serious students and more importantly we shook the entire house with our naughtiness. So once in a state of anger our teacher said, “What a waste you people are. Look at Shravan who learns music from my brother. He will surely turn to be another Rimpa Shiva.” (Rimpa Shiva happened to be the youngest Tabla artist) This annoyed us much because we were made to feel inferior to some guy who was very much younger to us. We all hated the local Rimpa Shiva though we had not seen him anytime. Mukunda had seen him and tried describing how he looked. But our hatred had blocked the power of imagination and thus we just could not imagine local Rimpa Shiva.

After a few weeks when we were sitting in our teacher’s music room learning from him, Mukunda who was sitting near the door looked out and then whispered to us, “Rimpa Shiva… Rimpa Shiva” We all started peeping out without realizing that our teacher heard Mukunda saying so and was staring at him with anger. “Are you making fun of that boy? What is your credibility to make fun of him? Get lost you people I will not take class to you people hence forth,” said our teacher and walked off. Our anger towards local Rimpa Shiva doubled with the statement made by our teacher and it hurt our ego majorly. We did not apologize. The class got cancelled. But we did not leave the place. Learning that our teacher was not taking class for us, his brother thought he would take class for Shravan. He asked Shravan alias local Rimpa Shiva to take his place as he took the Harmonium and started playing it. I personally wanted to see local Rimpa Shiva perform. It was purely a curiosity that was dipped in anger. The Harmonium music filled the room and after a while our local Rimpa Shiva, who was silently watching everything, started singing. What a voice!!!!! I could only thank my teacher, heart in heart, for having cancelled the class and thus enabling us to listen to the magical voice of Shravan.

This was in late summer. After a few months in our college in the student’s union meeting I saw Shravan. He had joined our college. I was in the senior most batch (class 12) and he was in the junior most batch (class 6). He did not have a chair to sit so I invited him to come and sit on my lap. He did come. I asked him if he remembered me and he answered with the heartiest smile which silently said, “Yes.” The smile was equally musical. This young boy became the apple of my eyes. He has been one of the sweetest persons I have known. I had to meet him once in a week or else I would feel the week was incomplete. Whenever I came back from home, when I joined a college in Mangalore, I would make sure that I met him. So dear he was to me. Now I have lost touch with him, but still he remains close to my heart. What made him so dear to me was music. And whenever I think of him music resonates within me.

After a few years, I was back in Mangalore, this time not as a student but as a reporter with The Hindu. The initial days were difficult days. I had joined as a reporter unenthusiastically. There was no motivation to work. I was working mechanically, like the needles of a clock. I was staying with my relatives. From their house I would walk to the bus stop every day and take a bus to the office or to the location. On my way to the bus stand I had to cross an apartment named Anand. Every day I would stop near Anand apartment for two minutes and then walk ahead. I would stop there to listen to music that came from one of the houses in that apartment. A man played Tabla and another man sang. This music gave me the energy to pull myself through the day.

One day I decided to go meet these musicians and as I entered the compound, I was stopped by the security. He asked me who I wanted to meet. I said the one who was playing the music. The security man said, “It’s the commissioner” and I started walking back deciding not to meet the musician who energized me every day.

As I was walking back the security guard started telling someone about me and I turned back to see who was the listener. It was the commissioner’s car driver. He asked me who I was and after I introduced myself he said that he will take me to the musician and said, “He will be happy to know you stop here every day to listen to music”.

After a while I was seeing the man whose voice I used to listen to everyday. We introduced ourselves to each other and decided to meet sometime in the near future as both of us were getting late to our office. But I never met him again, but listened to his music often. Sometimes he would practice in the evening and I would listen to him, on my way back home after a tiresome day. When I quit The Hindu and was packing my bag, I wanted to go meet the musician and thank him. But then I decided not to bring speech in and disturb the unique rhythm of the musical relationship.

05 May 2010

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