From Ragas To Riches

As I stood behind the barricades, the band performing a melodious symphony, I could not help but listen to the sarangi that was being played in such an impeccable fashion, and with such ease. More than ease, with a devotion comparable to Meera’s songs for her Lord. I could sense it even as the tabla synchronised its beats with the tune and the guitars, the bass and acoustic, blended with the rhythm. The vocalist created magic themselves, without words, but only sargam and alaaps. The melodies, the ragas were palpable in the very air that surrounded us. I looked around and saw the team that was immersed in its own nostalgia. It was the last day of the Annual College Fest and the renowned band, The Advaita had been performing. The Fest was coming to an end, and it had brought with itself, a lot for the team, but most of all, for me.

The music pulled me back to itself and I continued appreciating the compositions, at the same time wondering on the composers’ ability to create such a piece of art, if it takes too much of an effort, or if it comes out from the heart, and so reaches that of the others. My chain of thoughts went on from appreciating the music and its creators to the skillful playing of the instruments, to an even unconnected topic of solitude and introspection, the pleasure of sitting in front of a sea, looking at the night tides and letting them make music to your ears, the wind caressing your hair, skimming and kissing your cheeks. Before I knew it, I had been teleported to another world altogether. I had made an atmosphere of my own. Closed eyed, I was standing behind the barricades only, but basking in the beauty of the world that I had created for myself. Utopia or not, I didn’t know. I didn’t care. It was my world and the music helped me create it.

From Ragas to Riches

It is amazing, and rather mysterious, how effortlessly I give in and get carried away to another dimension every time some instruments get together and produce the elixir to the mind, called Music. It is rather furtive, Music. I would have said that it becomes a trance, or it gives a high, but it is an entity too pure and auspicious to be described by the two words. It’s not even magic, rather a miracle. A healer of the heart in the true sense, it has the ability to transform the state of your mind when nothing else can. A gloomy heart and mind, when caressed by good melodies and rhythm, comes out transformed, reformed and recreated. It is not just a temporary deviation, but a permanent alteration. Even in fatigue, it is a recreation. Of swar and taal, I know little, and I cannot get into the technicalities and the basics of Music, in order to appreciate it. Yet, what I do know is what I experience every time it plays around me, and I am sure it’s the case with all of us. It is omnipresent and ubiquitous, pervading in every nook and cranny. Even in each and every event of nature, one can feel it. It is in the early morning chirp of the birds, it is in the walk of the deer as it walks in the woods, dancing on the leaves, it is in the brook that goes swishing from amidst the trees of the woods and even in the night crickets making inimitable sounds of their own.

The tangibility of music doesn’t let us realise how it has become a necessity of life. Just as the air we breathe in goes unnoticed, and yet is something we cannot live without, so is Music. It has been aptly said that it is the food to the soul. That night of the concert, it had become the food to the soul of those involved so much in the organisation of the events that their souls, minds and bodies, craved alike for a fill up. They had been scooped off of all emotions, leaving them exhausted. To top it all, it all was coming to an end and the pangs of nostalgia were hard to be evaded for them. The last month had been more eventful than anyone could have ever imagined and the preparations had kept everyone on their toes all the time, and now, on realising that their last days of college are now going to be back to being bland, at least comparatively, was a thought everyone wanted to sway away from their minds. The songs, and the tune in a sense, filled the void in their mind and soul as they reveled in it, hands on each other’s shoulders as they swayed with the tune, making a beautiful human chain bound with love.

‘Love’ was something that had found a new home in the last month. It had been redefined as the bond among the team members had gone stronger as they went together with all the highs and lows together, it had been recognised for many, and it had been revisited by me. As I sat in front of the sea, I could now feel another presence as the melody took a rather romantic turn. Someone had recognised the music in his heart and had given way to the beats…heart beats that went faster. The presence was more ostensible with the passing time and before I knew he was beside me, sharing the solitude in the atmosphere and the tenderness of the breeze, and gently kept a hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes. I was back behind the barricades, with a smile on my face and a tear in an eye. I looked back and he stood smiling, looking at the perfomers with his hand behind my shoulder, relishing the music and the melody.




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