Thursday, November 24, 2011

the call of sarangi

The glitter on string caught the slow glow coming from the overhung lamp; with all the darkness around, it looked like suspended light, floating alone, along with the constant sound from ustad's sarangi. I was spellbound once again, the slow and wistful raaga today was perhaps just a preface to the more tragic set of events that were to unfold later in the night; for now it just bought me closer to tears, tears of melancholic indulgence. I looked into ustad's eyes and found them brimming with the salty water as well, always on the edge, the tears never quite managing to fall. Even as the light outside continued dimming, the music played on, my heart kept skipping a beat. The ebbing light made it easier for me to let go, to free my tears, to let them flow, to let them wet my face, wet my soul.

Just as I was a slave to his music and his soul, so was the ustad to me, the man in love with his music for years. Ustad wouldn't stop playing the music, unless I asked him to. When he was so deep within his music, there was no coming back to the real world for him, unless called back forcibly. And for that the music had to be stopped abruptly. As I sat there looking at his face, slowing eaten up by the darkness around, I didn't know what to do next. It was so beautiful and serene, and I didn't want to disturb it, and the music played so beautifully, I could barely breathe. I was bound in my own web, and though I knew I had to do something fast, my heart and my body refused to listen.

The music went on, I could now hear ustad's little boy on the table as well. Opening my arms wide, I let it all soak in. Permanently. The ruins of Roshanbaug were awake again tonight, despite the near complete darkness. Somewhere I knew, this couldn't go on, not for long; but I didn't move, not as yet. I had to make a choice I possibly couldn't, and finally didn't.

I never quite realized when the ustad stopped playing the sarangi, and my mind had completely taken over and replaced his music with my own imagination. In the frenzy that followed, I cried and screamed and pulled my hair our. I confessed my love to him, made promises I knew can never be kept. But he never stopped, not even once and played on, in my mind, for my heart. Forever...

As I caressed his face, wiped his tears and closed his tired eyes, I finally let go of him. It had taken me a lifetime to come so close to him, only to leave him so far behind.

I would like the above story dedicated to Ustad Sultan Khan who passed away yesterday (27.11.2011). His Sarangi was a big influence on me, not just for this small post, but also for my love for the instrument. Do explore it, if you haven't done it already...


  1. Your words leave me smiling!
    All the time.

    This was a melodiously beautiful post.

  2. You expalined emotions sooo beautfully that I am confused as to its true meaning now.
    I am sooo lame!
    Loved the way you wrote down the mind so well!

  3. Either the the emotions that u amazingly carry through your post or the charismatic faces that u capture through your journey, makes me constantly visit your blog.. Another beautifully written emotion sid. loved it.

  4. @Crystal: Thanks :)

    @RedHanded: I guess it is confusing, I left it open to interpretation...with only scant clues to the ache of unfulfilled love. It can easily be misconstrued...

    @bijoy: Thanks a lot buddy :)

  5. What remains after reading the post is a sense of warmth and the nostalgic feeling of our own..when once, we were so immersed in something...that we and the surroundings were same, and there was nothing before and no sense of after...Soulful music actually does these things to her...

    I had to make a choice I possibly couldn't, and finally didn't.

    It had taken me a lifetime to come so close to him, only to leave him so far behind.

    Liked these lines...and not just in the context of the story..but because..they fit with so many things perfectly :)

  6. "Somewhere I knew, this couldn't go on, not for long; but I didn't move, not as yet. I had to make a choice I possibly couldn't, and finally didn't."
    it mirrors with myriad colours/aspects of well the essence and passion in music is camouflaged with love :)

    A post so intricate,woven and soulful ...just like the music played by the ustaad!

  7. It makes me wonder how it feels to feel such all-consuming, unbridled passion for some thing that is so close to your heart that it's more a part of your soul that an external influence on your mind.

    It makes me want to feel such passion.

  8. @Kunal: Its nice to see that you connect with the was difficult to write and even more difficult to post! Its a different genre of love...

    @Stuti: Ah! I wish I could play the music I had in mind (that I constantly played in loop as I wrote this) here...sarangi is a very powerful instrument, evokes so many emotions...

    @PeeVee: I think such passion is scary, I might not want to experience it. Its all consuming and can be very destructive. But yes, what's life if we don't experience all that it has to offer :)

  9. Nice one mayte, and a wonderful blog you have. Keep writing because, as you say, there is no other way :)

  10. Oh, you are a story teller ! Your lines are somewhat nostalgic.

    Can connect with it.

  11. @Tarun: Thanks man! I guess writing more also helps in writing better...I hope I will keep up with it :)

    @Nisha: Thanks a lot...its so good to see my travel blogger friend's comment here :)

  12. i really enjoyed reading this. it has a magical quality to it

  13. So vivid! To eyes and ears! I could see the enchanted and the enchanter so blissfully soaked and eaten up by the flowing music! And loved some of the expressions you used to fare up the feelings and impressions! Music and love...what an enthralling combination! Brilliant piece:-)

  14. Music has strange and mysterious powers. Then again, so does Justin Bieber. Nice one!

  15. The way you pour out your emotions in your stories Siddhartha, it's tough to remain dry eyed.

  16. I may sound lame.. but something doesn’t connect! It did look like a lost love in the beginning, but reading it for the 3rd time in 2 days, makes me feel this to be more like a parental affection unbound..
    Blame the mention of Roshanbaug.. (something from the history) and zakir!

    Would I ever know what you really meant, unless I see through your eyes, and the silly thought of trying to decipher this.. would be like doing injustice.. for the shielded beauty!!

  17. @rivercat: Thanks a lot. I did originally planned a more magical story, but toned it down almost completely when I actually wrote it...

    @Nasnin: I am happy that you liked the expressions used...though the passion is still not as high as I intended it to be...

    @BrandoandBryan: I agree, music can be absolutely magical! As for Mr. Beiber, his rise to fame is surely magical :))

  18. @Purba: Thanks a lot Purba, that's such a nice compliment! Thanks again :)

    @KP: I guess I am to blame for any lack of understanding. I somehow thought of the subject matter to be a little controversial and a bit of a tabboo, and wanted to keep it very very subtle.

    Maybe that obscures a little bit of the actually content of the my eyes its a beautiful movie. I wish I could shoot it too...


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