Posted: 04 August 2009 at 12:20pm | IP Logged
Prohit house. 6 AM
Keshav switched on his Yamaha electronic tanpura, custom made for him. The entire room reverberated with the drone of SA… As Vishaka walked towards it, Deepika joined her in the hallway leading to Keshav's room and looked excited.
"Bhabhi, I just can't believe that I will be hearing Keshav ji sing LIVE! And I will hear you too. You know, all these months you never practiced even once. What will you be singing today?"
"I don't know, Deepika," replied Vishaka. They entered the room and Keshav was seated on a cotton rug on the floor with his eyes closed in deep meditation. He sensed them there and slowly opened his eyes. He saw Deepika and his eyes brightened. He turned towards Vishaka and smiled.
"Ready?" he enquired. Vishaka barely nodded. He looked at Deepika and asked her if she sang too. She said, "Are you kidding me? No way! When Babuji wanted me to learn music and got me a teacher home, I used to play so many tricks on him that the poor man ran. That was the end of my musical career!"
Keshav smiled at this confession and told Vishaka that they would start with Omkar followed by Raag Bhairav. With a tremulous voice, Vishaka opened her mouth to chant Om.
The first Om came out weak and reedy. The second one opened itself up to resonate all over her. She closed her eyes tightly and allowed herself to dissolve into the sound emanating from her mouth that reflected off the sound from the tanpura and that of Keshav's voice. Even the birds outside seemed to have joined in and all was still with the world. There was a deep silence in the sound.
Vishaka's entire body started to tremble and vibrate and tears began to flow. The sound came clearer and stronger from within. The entire house was filled with music. The aalap began followed by the song:
"Jaago mohan pyaare jaago savari surat mohe man bhae
Sundar shyam hamare…" they sang in unison.
As the Anthra began, everyone in the house stopped what they were doing and were lost in the sheer melody of the song. They were in a trance.
Dev, who had worked through most of the night on the Bates' project stilled at his desk and closed his eyes, allowing the music to wash over him. He felt tears form under his eyelids and dribble out without his knowing.
Dadima at the Puja room stopped her preparation and closed her eyes and went into rapture. Maji had tears running down her cheeks when she heard her bahu's voice. Everyone in Vrindavan had been right. She sang like an angel.
Deepika was enthralled. She had not known that music could be so meditative. She enjoyed fast numbers and liked pop more than classical. Today, she changed her mind. Her heart wanted to burst with pride and joy.
She could not take her eyes off Keshav. His face had transformed into a radiant halo where forms ceased to exist, being taken over by sound that was formless. She involuntarily closed her eyes too.
Vishaka was lost in the music. She forgot who she was. Her voice that had not soared in so long took off and refused to stop. It was like a dam bursting. Some of the most complicated taans came out like a heavy downpour of the monsoon rain. It seemed too effortless; too easy.
Dev found a drop of wetness fall on his hand and he realized that he was weeping. He had never heard such divine music. He was not a great fan of music but he appreciated good music. He enjoyed forms and shapes, colors and aesthetics more. But there was an emotional depth to the music he was hearing that he did not know what, but it connected with him.
He stood up from his desk and stretched. It was time to shower and get on with the day. He had to send out the Bates' project and talk to Matt. He went to his room, shaved and showered and got his cell out to call Matt.
Just then Dadi came to his room and said, "Did you hear that, Dev? Wasn't Vishaka amazing?"
"Yes, Dadima. She is truly gifted. I am surprised that we have never heard her sing all these months that she has been here."
"That is why I am here, Dev. Did you tell her anything before the wedding about not singing or something?"
"No, Dadima. I told her about Ritz and nothing else. I did not even know she sang to tell her not to sing."
"Hmm, well, let me ask Vaishali then," said Dadima and left the room.
Dev felt his heart sink once more on his saying Ritz' name aloud in 5 months. He had raged with the fates and refused to accept this marriage. But seeing his dying father had succumbed and agreed. He knew he could never be whole again without Ritz in his life.
"Ritu, wonder how you are doing? I know you are missing me as much if not more. You will also be helping all your angels without wings who make your world go around and keep busy."
He shrugged off those thoughts and remembered that he needed to call Matt. He picked up his cell and called.