March 31, 2013

The Violin Story!

Occasionally I come across people who say they are hardcore music lovers but when it comes to understanding the technicalities, they falter.
 Perhaps what they connect with is the lyrics which the singer sings – maybe the agony with which he expresses his love for a long lost lover or the ecstasy with which he announces his freedom. For them, they feel themselves in the song! If we observe, they sing the lyrics as they find some free time.
 While on the same time there are people who understand music - what is the underlying note/tune behind each guitar strum or each tingle that a piano key plays.  For them, the sounds send chills down their spines and they feel their blood flow with great pressure. While recollecting the song, they’ll always focus on humming the tune correctly. They generally find music instruments driving them to a high level of passion.

After a hectic day at my JEE Entrance class, I sat on a fast local near the window listening to “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. In my head I was trying to calculate my friends belonged to which of the either categories, what was their type. After a while I came down to assessing myself. Sweet mother of God! I was the musical! It dawned upon me that how affectionate I was towards the drums beating at the moment perfecto and how the cello’s soothing tune sent goose bumps all over my body. It was then I decided in dramatic style, I will not die without learning an instrument completely!

Well that was just like taking my feet off the ground to make my first move of entering into a new world altogether. A few days later I started a bit of research as to what I’d like to learn. Came across hundreds of choices, I would imagine myself pose with each instrument and try to guess how cool I’d look with each(although it’s the perfectly wrong way to determine which instrument you belong to) . I was almost convinced the guitar would be amazing: easy to learn, tutors available nearby, I have friends who play it damn well and will teach me too, Awesome choice!

Somehow I couldn’t find the right “mahurat” as they say to start off my journey. Most of the times I would be scared of the commitment I would have to give to do justice to the instrument. Will I be able to practice hard enough to reach a certain level of accomplishment? Will I be able to spare that much time considering the hectic life engineering studies give me? These troublesome thoughts did not allow me to move forward and eventually, I too forgot about it.

Come December 2012, people were ending the horrible year with newer resolutions, a fresh start. Of course there were speculations of the Mayan End of the World Story. I was reminded of my nautanki wala vow: the resolution to learn an instrument before I died.

In fact there’s this thing, I tend to always look for a 1st of any month or a Monday to give new things a fresh beginning. This is it! This new year I am off to learning a new instrument! I informed my mother of my intentions and pop comes her reply “Which instrument?”
“Of course, the guitar!”
“Guitar!? Isn’t it so common?” She listed atleast 8 people we knew who had the guitar skills.

Ah damn she was right, I need to find something else, something unique! My second favorite instrument being cello, I started reading the amount of dedication and devotion needed to learn the instrument. When I realized people in India, donot even know how to pronounce it correctly. Ouch! In vain, I knew I had to search another alternative. The closest of the family – The violin.

The connect was instantaneous. The violin is my instrument, I knew it. And my search for a tutor began the very next day. Thankfully I did manage to find a teacher who excelled at this rare instrument near to my home. I followed up with an enquiry the next day and fee payment the very next week. There! I was not even slightly worried of my sincerity. All the doubts I had in my mind suddenly vanished. Only that now I would have to miss SPQC every Thursday but kuch paane ke liye kuch khona padta hain na?
Without any delay I bought the violin from Sardar Flute, Santacruz. It was the first time I was seeing a violin in front of me. When I held it, I was unable to believe it’s a real instrument. It is so light! Handled with care, got it home.

All excited, I searched “violin tutorials” on youtube and started experimenting a bit. The strings screeched as I played and so I got a little disappointed with myself. “I’ll have to be patient till I start with my classes”, I thought and kept it away.

Came January 2013 and my classes begun. My ma’am began with the very basics, teaching me how to take care of the piece and maintaining it; how to handle the bow; how to ensure no screeches henceforth. Finally, some soothing sounds started flowing. The style is carnatic style. It is quite different from the Western Style of violin playing. You hold the violin between your shoulders and ankle as you sit and play it. And since it is a classical class, I started speaking Sa Re Ga Ma in no time!

As of today, not a great player but I am through with my basics, trying to adapt to newer songs and fingering positions. I am loving the journey immensely. I look forward to every class and whenever I find time, I make it a point to practice as much as I can, after all practice makes a man perfect.

Sorry to have written such a long post, I was so lost in the charms of the instrument that little did I realize how long the article’s been. It thus proves how much I love the instrument and how engrossed I can get when only talking about it! J

March 22, 2013

21st Century's Narova Kunjarova

Speaking of the truth may not always be easy and may not be the right course of action either. The ambiguous nature of the Universe first became apparent to me when I heard of this famous story:

Drona being a formidable warrior, it would be difficult to stop him and the only weakness that seemed to stop him was his affection for his son Ashwathama. Krishna hence works out a strategy and asks Yudhishtir to lie, to tell Drona that Ashwathama is dead and disturb his morale. Renowned to always speak the truth, Yudhishtir’s resistance to lie was overcome by Krishna in the name of rules of warfare. Meanwhile, Bhishma kills an elephant named Ashwathama and roars loudly, “Ashwathama is dead!” Hearing this, Drona asks Yudhishtir if what he heard was true. Yudhishtir says what Krishna asked him to and replied, “Yes Ashwathama is dead.” He pauses for a while and adds another sentence under his breath, “I don’t know if it’s the man or the elephant.” (Ashwathama hathaha iti, narova kunjarova)

Since Drona knows Yudhishtir never utters a lie, he believes him. Bowing his head, he chopped it off!!
I was dumbfounded by this excerpt from Mahabharata and it set me thinking. What is the scenario today? While we complain that we are outrageously being sacked by the competition in every field in the outside world, we simultaneously are trying to find out quick and easy solutions for the same. And, the best solution which lies within our capacity – The Half Truth.

Of course, technically speaking they are not lies. So basically you’re saved from the “guilt” of doing something wrong. If the correctly manipulated half is blurted, Bingo! Congratulations, you have managed to fool someone with your truth. And if you have had a bad day, Oh my my! Beware, you could easily get caught! You do not really need a Sherlock to figure out a half truth.

Evidently the Indian politics is a perfect citation of where such deceitful means work. Before the elections, the voices shout “Free laptops to college going children”. Once elected, only very few children get that privilege. Sadly, it still works. Another popular example could be of the Ad agencies. They highlight the prime features of the product in the fanciest manner and what the consumer forgets, the tiny little asterisk on the top inscribed in the smallest font, Conditions Apply! Let’s say for instance a washing soap bar saying Lemon Power. And the asterisk says, contains no lemons. Haha, cheated!! Social networking and internet also have given rise to such cases because often the truth is hard to predict online.

What I mean to say is, the half truth can be such a powerful weapon to get things done according to our whims. And men who are not ashamed to use this path improvise on their skills day by day. Falling a prey to this are innocent one’s who believe that the world works on trust. What a pity!

Now obviously you cannot have control over what others say but you can definitely have a stringent check on yourself. Accepting failures or mistakes simply doesn’t make you small. It in fact gives the opportunity to rise and learn. People do make mistakes and it is not the end of the world. Lying is nowhere close to a solution. People play such games under a false notion that their work will get done. However little do they realize it is only a short term saver.

And the half – truth saga has been a pain to people since ages, it has been a major reason for miscommunication. We as ethical people should try our level to stay away from using this destructive weapon. Otherwise, we may repeat history and lose combative warriors like Drona having the potential to amend changes which in turn, affects the growth of our future potential to grow as a community.

Hence as they say:
½ truth + ½ truth = 1 whole lie...

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