My years in the world of consumer internet has successfully rewired a lot of  my neurons. I ,now , believe that any opinion standing on the shoulders of anecdotal evidence should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. I also process to be against hypocrisy. Yet, the very same neural patterns which have colluded to form my current worldview makes me make a conjecture that all human beings like music. While it is true that one person’s music may be other persons noise, every person I have met in my life likes some music or other.  My own likes and dislikes are an over-represented data-set of my universal set of data points.  This was a rather convoluted way of saying I love to listen to songs.

For me my love for singing sometimes goes beyond listening. I was once a semi decent singer. I have a few fragments of papyrus alluding to my vocal chords . I used my vocal chords to make a few of my ragging sessions to singing sessions.  In fact, I had used it to escape from physical drill of my first year NCC camp’s physical training . I performed a so-called musical performance for three minutes for the end of camp cultural performance and spent the rest of the camp practicing the song (eating food) and putting on weight while my friends went through a hellish boot camp.. While I no longer perform for an audience of more than me , I still try to learn a song once a while.

I come from a place called Assam and learned to express myself in Assamese. For as long as I can we always had an over-abundance of great music. The fact that our most important festival is all about song and dance could have a role in this. Invariably and frequently, I come across a song that touches my heart. I have away from my motherland for the last decade and a half. In these years, I have spoken very few Assamese words. I have seen  Assamese transition from my first language to second language to third and back to second. Today, Assamese is my second language but my vocabulary is bankrupt.

Yet, I feel an emotional connect when listening to Assamese songs which I do not feel when I listen in other languages. Of the songs that touched me, the song Majuli touched me a lot. I have never been to Majuli, It has always been an answer to a general knowledge question to largest river island of the world. I am not sure if it is the largest island in the world but our Assam based text books, sure, think it to be true. Whenever, I try to try to learn this song, I feel my eyes getting mist.

 

I feel sad that I do not know the meaning of all the worlds used in the song. At the same time the visuals of lusty green and flooded fields overwhelms my endocrine system. The sight of Assamese temple is very confusing. I no longer believe in existence of God and avoid religious ceremonies like plague. Yet it transports me to the days when I used to accompany my grandfather to our home temple as he conducted prayers. My grandfather who was far ahead of his times and did not care for the fact I was a product of inter-caste marriage. I see small kids sing to a joyous song to the tune of this melancholy song and get my emotions astounded, I should feel happy seeing happy faces but I feel sad. I see the colours of my state and I remember that it is reeling under unprecedented floods and I am not doing much to help. I feel anguish at the lethargy of fellow clan members which makes us languish at the bottom of the rat race of global civilization. I get distracted by song’s part about grandmothers love and the accompanying visuals of a kitchen. I travel back to my childhood to my grandmother’s kitchen. Everyone in the family had to eat in the dining room but I was special to my grandmother, My seat was always near my grandmother’s stove and nobody was given food till I had food. I remember my grandparents who are no longer alive. I remember the house in my village which has been long consumed by expanding river banks of Brahmaputra and then I listen to the same song in an infinite loop.

 

 

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musical infatuation, philosophical me, tribute, Uncategorized

Personal Tribute to a person with whom I neither had a personal nor professional relation

My parents say I was born on 15th of May 1986 . Having no memories of the day in question or for that matter any day in the eighties, I can do little but trust the people who are the reason I have grown up to be a person who can, among other things, put thoughts onto paper or into network, the choice of words being left to fight between the literary and figurative thoughts of our brain. Inexplicably, in some ways the clarity and shape of my very first memories of human life have been far consigned to some remote corner of my brain from where they refuse to create any decipherable sights and sounds. For a child born in the eighties, my most distant memories are from the nineties that followed the eighties. Maybe this is the connection that I share with all the children born on that hot day. A connection not as mystical as the connection between Salim Sinai and the rest of midnight’s children but a connection, nonetheless, that has no traceable outlines or any touchable edges.

Among other things, I did not have any say in was the name,the place and mother-tongue I was to be identified with for my life. For some, still mysterious and unknown reason, there was a sense of pride in all the three aspects of my life that was thrust-ed down my metaphorical throat. Now that my emotional and intellectual self was moulded .beyond repair by the time I started storing my first longterm memories , it was all but natural for me to create the portrait of the people I shall idolize for my life. An Assamese as I was, there was no dearth of Assamese heroes but from Sankardev to Lachit to Bishnu Rabha, they chose to exist only in the pages of history. No living person seemed great enough to compete with the long dead heroes for a piece of my awe. However there was an exception, the solitary link between my motherland and the world. No mosaic of India seemed complete without the presence of this black cap adorned old man. The fact that he answered to same surname as mine did no harm to the stability of the tall monument of this man who had started rising in my mind.

In my earliest remembered days, I used to jump up and down when the sole Assamese man could be seen on television sets, I used to jump up and down saying that koka (Assamese for grandfather) was on TV. In those days, I didn’t know what Filmfare or Oscars were but I knew what Dada Saheb Phalke and Asia-Pacific International Music prize was. By class five, I had shifted to Don Bosco Dibrugarh and I participated in my first singing competition. Due to lack of any formal training and dedication, me forays into the singing lane was limited but I did win my fair share of prizes. Needless to say, the great mans song got me quite a few of those prizes. For a ten-year old, appearing on local television is a big deal, my earlier exploits in songs got me to the team that sang in the school on formal occasions and there I was on TV, humming another of his song. That memory is still strong that even today I remember the tune of the song and the first few lines. A song that I have not hard for the last fifteen years through my physical ears.

The closest I came to Dr. Hazarika in person was on a flight to my home from Calcutta. He seemed happy to know that even I was a Hazarika and gave nice message on my boarding pass. Unfortunately as fate would have it, he wrote it on the place of the security seal and the only proof of our solitary existence was snatched away by security. It was also in my college days that I used Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s creation for sinister pleasures. We had an annual NCC camp which was very physically demanding, the air force station where we had our camp was headed by an Assamese, so there was a need of and Assamese song on the cultural show. I jumped into the opportunity to laze through the day and rendered one of his creation. All day was spent sleeping while my friends were marching.

All good things come to an end. The great man was a human after all and had to breathe his last. On the day he died, I was relieved. Relieved – this is not a typo – I was pained to see the greatest musician and lyricist of Assam being unable to sing his own songs for last few years. His death had rolled back the years and he was restored to his prime in my memories. The person who towered over all of Assam was no longer present in the body that once represented everything that was great about Assam. But today I feel a sense of pride and sadness and emptiness. Pride to see how his death united all of Assam drowning all divisions of caste,creed or religion. Sadness to know that never again a tune that can outlast a generation be created in Assam,to know that now we have a count on the number of great odes to Brahmaputra. Emptiness to know that next time a portrait of India is painted, not only the tile that was common for my entire life would be absent but probably there wont be any tile for my motherland and mother-tongue.

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musical infatuation

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

I was brought up in a home that had no MTV. For the early part of my life, my experiments with my ear drums were confined to the whims and fancies of doordarshan. As I started calling different geographical co-ordinates as my home,I got a glimpse of the world that lay beyond what I had experienced. But, still I am largely ignorant of the existence of numerous lovely melodies that are yet to be copied by Pritam or Anu Malik. One thing about me is that if I like something I really fall for it and now and then, I come across a song that starts making an infinite loop in my mp3 player. Although I believe I am quite unique, I feel there are many others who might be ignorant of my current infatuation. Besides a new status message and hopefully a few comments don’t hurt my inflated ego.

So here is my current musical infatuation

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