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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The magic of music

I fidgeted with the TV remote while cosying on the beanbag and listening to a peppy tamil movie song. The song ended and the next one began. Vijay walked his funny stylish walk and Shalini looked her usual pretty self as Ennai Thalatta Varuvala began to play. I watched on in spite of uneasiness that crept in. Memories gushed in. I was 8 but half the size of the other 8 year olds. Appa used to drag me along to the swimming pool, every morning that summer. Mani, the swim coach who strangely taught us to swim without for a second getting into the pool himself, used to lift me up in both arms, swing and throw me right into the middle of the deep side of the pool. He would then stand outside, fully dry and yelling “Adi ma, adi” (translates effectively to ‘keep swimming’). The peculiar thing about me was that I used to keep swimming; yet I almost never moved or even drowned. I’d repeat the stroke just as I was taught, till I could do it no more. Then I’d give up and gasp for breath while blobbling in the engulfing waters. That’s when another old man would put a pole into the pool and I’d hold on to the end as he’d out pull my negligible load. I’d get out, run to the coconut tree in the corner and cry. I’d act like I need to puke. Mani would run behind tiny me in a pink swimsuit, drag me back to the pool and throw me back in. And through this trauma, there was one song that unfailingly played every day. This one. And 14 years later , even today, the song makes me anxious and tense. That, I realized is the influence of music.

Music gets easily coupled with events or phases in life. The link becomes so intense that listening to the music at any point of life, evokes the related memories. Play Teenagersby My Chemical Romance or Avril’s Complicated and I can’t help that it reminds me of all the pressure I put myself through because of college entrance tests and admissions. And the beginning of college has its own list of songs. TeriYadein is certainly right on top there. Play the opening music of Replay and my mind would drift away to my long ago beachy Pondy weekend. We all have a set of such songs we hold close.

I’ve always believed music is the strongest of all tools of expression. It magically takes a person from one extreme in the band of emotions to the farthest end on the other side. It can titillate the listener’s fury and soothe him into shedding soft tears, make the whole of him reverberate till he jumps up charged, bring back memoirs and make him wistful, cause him to dream a utopian life with the woman he is in love with, brighten up the evening and even make him get on the table and dance.

When one feels music and not merely listens to it, the feeling is like no other; it’s incredible. And that is precisely why singers are the most blessed of people. What power one must possess to kindle such emotions in many random minds! Just the ides of it is overwhelming.