A song in her heart
Even today. Tuesday, September 18, 2012
New Delhi. 6.21 pm.
She has 336 songs stored in her black Blackberry. She can curl up on the brown, almost-square bed, pull the orange-red duvet over her and listen to all of them at one go. She often hums along. Writing is her moksha, music her folly. There was a time she could play the sitar. And the harmonium. Now, she does not. Friends wonder whether she was born with a song in her heart. Perhaps she was. Exactly two days before Christ came into this world, she came along with a song. That is why she did not cry soon after she was born. Or, so her Ma tells her. Who knows, left to her own whims, the 6-pound minutes-old girl would have cried a sonorous song. Who knows! While moulding the clay to shape a bureaucrat's youngest daughter, God must have been humming a tune. He must have been very happy. Perhaps, drunk.
She does not know about God, but she has never had alcohol. Not a sip. Ever. But she gets tipsy when Presley drawls his longing in Love me Tender. The guttural intonation of Louis Armstrong’s Life is a Cabaret seeps through her heart’s cartilages. That is how deep it sinks within her. When Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sings the first line of Main Jahan Rahoon without the foofaraw of an orchestra, it moistens her large, black eyes. Every time a certain aloneness aches, she plays Lionel Richie’s You are my angel, my miracle… Paul Newman riding a bicycle, his elfin grin, the girl in white, the cow mooing and Raindrops falling on my head… playing in the background – that is her idea of love. Pure love. So what if Newman plays the rogue called Butch Cassidy. Gee! He is in love. She might barter her life for a moment like that. A feeling like that. (She does not mind the mooing cow. Adds to the ritual, actually.)
Music is her folly. Call it insanity, if you will. She knows music never masquerades. Music wears no masks. That is why she loves it. Music has no pretence. No deceit. No treachery. No perfidy. No layered lies. It is pure. Uncomplicated. She surely prefers her loves like that: Simple. Pure. Uncomplicated.
When it rains, she wraps her black Blackberry in a plastic bag, runs down her fourth floor apartment and walks in the rain. Deliberately. To get drenched. She, music, and raindrops – they all sing together. No one listens. Because the world stays indoors. The world is wary of the rain. She lives the rain. She loves the raindrops tangled in the curls of her long hair. Raindrops play hop-scotch on her brown, bare skin. She lets them prance. She does not complain. She even lets raindrops flirt. Raindrops are the only things that have the permission to flirt with her brazenly. Secretly, she loves their recklessness.
Rain is her nirvana. Her catharsis. Another word for repetition. Her way of finding herself. In the opaque raindrops. When it rains, the world belongs to them – she, music and the raindrops. The rest of the world is irrelevant. Redundant. Non-existent. Oblivion.
When she dies, she wants the yellow canary to sing for her. The opaque raindrops to stand very close to her. The champa to lend its heady fragrance. And the alphabets to chant what her name means. Love.
That one last time. A rendition. A repetition. A requiem. A raindrop. A champa. For her. Forever.