Songs

Where words leave off, music begins

Songs are such strange things, aren’t they?

Some are mere wisps of sound flowing with the wind – to be heard, enjoyed and forgotten.

Some are acquired interests, growing on one with repeated listening, even though you might have wanted to throw something at the speaker on the first hearing.

Some don’t allow you to rest as mere audience, compelling you to hum along with the tune, dance a step or even headbang to the rhythm of the music.

Some have the power to enthrall you from the very first note, raising goosebumps – as your whole being seems to vibrate with their power – becoming obsessions, to be heard again and again. And again.

Songs, whether they seem to fit into one, or all, of the above inadequate categories, have this in common:
They never fail to re-kindle at least a little spark of magic in this seemingly-humdrum world of ours. 

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Home

DSC02670Home is the sight of the familiar, the known, the practised.
Home is the comfort of being in one’s city, traversing through routes so oft-travelled that conscious thought is unnecessary, shopping at stores where the eyes of vendors widen slightly in recognition on seeing you, reading one’s mother-tongue on every passing billboard and poster.
Home is the hostel where one’s sister lives, the college in which she studies – because they remind you of her.
Home is the apartment with no gardens and new, uncomfortable furniture that holds all your expectations of happiness – because it houses your parents, even if it’s located an ocean’s length away.
Home is the wisp of a song, the whiff of a scent, known in happier days.
Home is the clean, empty house waiting for a tenant, even if it taunts one with its echoing loneliness – because it contains too many memories of daily life lived, to be otherwise.
Home is the sight of a friend, the sudden help of a loved one whom one had thought lost forever, when most in need.
Home is the knowledge of self, and the self-esteem and self-knowledge that is a prerequisite for a happy and trustful nature to survive everywhere, and anywhere.

A Lyric Of Hope

The significance of poetry, drama and romance is only understood when one realises, suddenly, surprisedly, between one breath and another on yet another routine day of one’s existence – how mundane and prosy life can seem without them. For those weary of repetitious actions whose purpose seems to amortize with time, it’s necessary, to figuratively strike a splint, to spark that zeal for living; living – joyfully, eagerly, prolifically. One poem that never fails to do that for me :

A PSALM OF LIFE
( WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN SAID TO THE PSALMIST)

    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Written By:
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.Hope

After Ten Years

I’m standing at the bus stop, and thinking about O.Henry’s short story – After Twenty Years.  The tale of two friends who plan to meet after twenty years at the same spot, seems significant to me right now, not because I’d made any such assignment myself, but because, through chance or coincidence, even I’m waiting right now for a friend – whom I haven’t met in the past ten years.

Of course, the cases aren’t the same (I’m not a much-sought-after criminal, thank you very much!), for social networking and the Web have not kept us so totally apart in the past ten years, but I still can’t contain my excitement. Probably, in our parent’s time, stuff like having a pen friend you knew nothing about, meeting a long lost acquaintance – were common, and the experiences seemed magical, adding that something of mystery and enchantment, always seen in books – to their mundane, daily routine, but which we don’t get to know. (Which our generation actually misses out on, ‘cause of the aforementioned – the WWW. But hey, I would never have gotten in touch with her without that, so I’m not complaining.)

I’m wondering how she’ll be now – probably quite different from when I’d known her (just as I’ve changed since she’d known me all those years ago), and it’s a bitter-sweet acceptance of reality – for I don’t want to let go of the memory in my mind – the memory of being “best friends”, of bonding together over a mutual love of Enid Blyton’s stories and of parties during summer vacations. And now, it will be a whole new friendship all over again, but that will have its own joys too, and I’m just glad to have known this happy twist of fate, which has given me a chance to go back to what I was ten years ago (Imagine me saying this in the same tone as – “Hundreds and hundreds of years ago…” ^_^) and relive all those childhood memories – for those carefree years were truly the best parts of life.

Around the world..

Travel. I’m going to pontificate on this subject now, and being neither a seasoned    globe-trotter nor a cosmopolite, my meagre knowledge only allows me to hold forth  on my feelings and opinions, based on my experiences, and does not extend to  useful information. You have been warned.

Captured in a pocket of time, when the real world one lives in seems far away, with  the knowledge that the present is temporary and the only constant being  movement. The feeling of momentarily having been dropped into another’s life, when so many small details and thoughts are brought to one’s notice, which are otherwise lost in the hectic humdrum of daily life, which make us think, wonder and grow.

The widening of horizons, meeting new people, learning something new – a respite from one’s life, needed to rejuvenate interest in the same. A fleeting feeling of time unmoving, of senses overloaded with sensation, and experiences stuffed into a small, immeasurable bit of time, which seems a gift to be cherished, for all the good memories it leaves, and the lessons it teaches. Haven’t you felt it too?

Whenever you begin – at dawn, or at dusk, at the end of a week or the start of vacation – haven’t you felt that spark of anticipation, excitement, at the beginning of a holiday, buoyed up by the hope of good things to come? On foot, by air, by sea or by land; by ship, by plane, by bus or by tram – doesn’t a journey seem so much more pleasant than the destination?

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake.The great affair is to move.” said Robert Louis Stevenson.

I agree.
(Isn’t that just so condescending of me? ;D Like it matters if I do or not!)

“It’s good to be alive!”

Somewhere in the series chronicling Anne Shirley’s life, I remember reading Anne saying something along the lines of “Isn’t it good to be alive in such a beautiful world?”, and whenever I’m feeling at the top of the world, I find myself echoing the same sentiment.

There are days when everything seems to go right, and Dame Fortune seems to be smiling on everything we do. Equally and conversely, there are days which are disastrous and bad luck seems to plague us at every step. But these are extremes.  On  most days which pass,nothing happens, when time stretches  ahead  and lethargy sinks in, and we feel restless and  dissatisfied with everything. And those days are when we can  try to appreciate and enjoy life around us, when we’re not in the  throes of excitement or despair.

After many long, cloudy, oppressive days, doesn’t seeing the sun shine seem like an awakening even for us? I find myself appreciating the way the sun lights up everything – the brown mud, the grey concrete, green leaves, red flowers – in a way artificial lights never seem to, as though bringing out all the hidden hues and enhancing them. While listening to songs on the music player – while sitting in the bus, or walking on the pavement –  haven’t you felt like the words were, are, meant for you ? Like you’re the person in the song, and the beats buoy you along till you feel like breaking into a jig right where you are? Or saving up to buy something, when every cent that’s adding up to your hoard gives you more joy – of anticipation – than the actual thing you plan to buy with it? Savoring the sweetness of chocolate as it melts in your mouth, having a long drink of water when your throat’s parched, resting your head on a soft pillow after a long, physically exhausting day… Simple pleasures, if you will, but these are what make every moment of life worth living and make us thankful, for just being alive, and being able to know happiness.