Monday, June 26, 2006

crochet, then

Well, the head hasn't stopped humming, but it's getting there, sho'. I just learnt a new song, and that gets the hum from the brain to the mouth, and that's a positive, isn't it?

I've been learning music since I was six, when I used to attend the evening classes conducted at my school between the students' final bell and the teachers' final bell. Granted, it was only an excuse so that my mother had me occupied for the time it took from the ending bell to the time the colony bus came to pick up all its little denizens, but there was something about that ol' sa-pa-sa that just got to me. My musical education, unfortunately, has been haphazard at best. I learnt the basics thrice: once while I was in school, once after we'd shifted to Orissa when my dad got transferred there, and once again after we returned (as a result, i can belt out all the essentail exercises in mayamalavagowla up to fourth speed, but my repertoire of songs is nowhere near as extensive as those of some of my contemporaries)
Besides that, I've had a sum total of seven teachers over the last fifteen years, and for around five of those years, all told, I had no musical education at all, alas. In spite of all that, however, classical musical education developed in me a love and understanding of music that I doubt I would have gotten on my own.

Now, what I love about South Indian Classical music is its rhythm. The arrangements, see? The pattern of notes that fit in numbers, in sets, in steps and ups and downs; the rules, the rules. There is something inherently glorious about classical music, and there is something about patterns that soothes me. When you know that things fit into a larger scheme, when there is a method to the madness, when you know there are rules within which there is infinite possibility, ah, it makes it easier to deal with all the nonsense, I'm thinking. And when you're singing, and you suddenly hear the patterns in the notes that are coming out of your own mouth; when you realize that it is possible for even such a one as you to spin melodies that fit together and flow together and make the world a wonderful, fabulous, glorious place, then, by God, there ain't nothing like it in this world.
Hindustani music has it too, but the patterns are more fluid, less mathematical, less geometric. Someday I will learn Hindustani music too. (someday i will learn german and french and spanish; telugu, kannada, bengali; bharatanatyam, salsa, interpretive dance (ok that's just for my three fetish :D); to play the guitar, the violin, the piano. it could happen, by gum. stranger things have, yes?)

Now, for music that isn't classical, there still is that rhythm, that arrangement. Which I adore. (which is a reason i can listen to stuff like ace of base; so sue me) What I've realised is that I can't stand repetition. I thought that was odd. Patterns without repetition? But that's the point, isn't it? Patterns without mindless repetition. (you can guess i can't listen to trance without wanting to pull out my eyeballs) So, there's jazz. Slinky soft sounds all in set boundaries but with that exhuberance that just wants to break free. And that's a reason why I love vocalists too, the ones who can really hit the high notes and the low notes and then swirl it around in the middle. I wonder if there is as much joy in freedom as there is in just reaching for it. Like the stars.

Meanwhile, I will talk of my obsessive doomed love for the English language and her patterns and arrangements and bending the rules elsewhere. I just needed to mention it here. Because, frankly, I like to talk of the ones I love. (hint hint! :D)

I cleaned my room on Saturday. I live in a room that is all big furniture. Four large pompously three-dimensional wooden horrors that hold all the worldly possessions that actually fit in my room. All my books are in the hall. There's no space for them anywhere else (and i say this with pride, joy and an immense sense of pomposity(yes, thank you, my bee))
Well, so I cleaned my room, and I lived parts of my life over. And then I put everything back and threw away unwanted junk (also wanted junk - half-done crosswords, envelopes from other countries, notes and slips and strips of my life and my pain, oh be still my heart) and then I thought deep thoughts and wallowed a while.
There's something about memories that soothes me, too.

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