Music is like a balm to our disturbed mind, a magic to console our bereaved hearts. Not only that, music makes us free, it gives our imagination a lift. There is hardly any person under the sun who doesn’t like listening to songs, who doesn’t like melody. The choices may vary, some like the mellifluous voice of the legend Lataji, some like the beats of heavy metals or the mellow tunes of blues, but the effect remains the same, always. At the end, it soothes us, it gives us peace of mind.
My tryst with music started at a very early age. My father had a classical training, and my mother had a wonderful voice. She never had any formal training, but she had some in-born talent, some God-gifted skill. She could imitate any song almost impeccably just listening to it once or twice. Both of them loved music and the love was not limited to any particular genre. From light music to classical, from Joan Baez to Jagjit Singh, from rap to raga-based songs- they listened to everything with the same spirited love. They believed that music is the universal language of mankind and, so, they enjoyed even those songs of which they couldn’t understand a word! Language never created any hindrance for them. The love of music was genetically instilled in me.
As I grew up, there developed a distinct likings and dislikings for me. There are some composers of whom I’m a big fan, a few I can die for and there are some, I would rather like to kill myself before listening to them.
A particular incident had a deep impact in my life as far as music is concerned. In school, I always looked forward to the music classes. They used to come as a great relaxation in the monotony of books and studies. I was also a pet of our music teacher. He was a wonderful person and a great teacher. He used to tell us not only the nuances of tunes, differences between the notes but also the history of music, the story and life of every great musician or composer or singer. He, Mr. Byas, was an encyclopedia of music. He lived with music. When he stood on the podium and simply said, ‘good morning’ to us, even then there was a tune in it, at least, to me.
We were in the ninth standard when for some reasons unknown, he resigned from his post. It was a shocking news to all of us, especially to me. On his farewell day, all the students were present. Everybody used to love him. And, then, he sang a song, his last one for us, the swan-song.
When his mellow yet baritone voice echoed through the hall, the lyrics touched the deepest core of my hearts. He sang the famous song of Harry Belafonte, “I’m sad to say I’m on my way and won’t be back for many a day”. I couldn’t even understand when my eyes started welling! That day, that moment, has ever been etched in my mind. Whenever I listen to this song, still now, I remember my music teacher.