One, two, three…I started counting the seconds as soon as the cries of the newborn baby rent the stuffy oppressive air!
How musical the cries sounded to my parched ears!
The midwife took her own sweet time in coming out to announce the good news that I had been waiting for ages. “It’s a girl!” She announced gravely, stretching her palm for the promised goodies. Instead, I hugged her and danced away.
I named my princess Vagdevi, after Goddess Saraswati. I dreamt day in day out, about the jam-packed concerts where she would enthrall and mesmerize the attendees with her enchanting vocal cords, the sheer range of her notes, while a proud me ran helter-skelter organizing the sold-out event.
My wife Sangeeta – quite a misnomer actually, not one musical note there – thought I was going berserk. Because our baby was merely months old! But I knew I was heading in the right direction. One had to plan in advance and prepare accordingly if greatness was sought.
As Vagdevi grew up, I understood why humans coined the adage, ‘Man proposes and God Disposes!’ How I hated it too! Vagdevi had a deep guttural tone, which made normal polite interactions feel like a full-throated battle afoot.
Even though all my senses suggested to the contrary, I still went ahead and engaged a music tutor, paying him full fee upfront. You should have seen his expression as Vagdevi attempted the seven notes. He not only reimbursed his fee, threw in a few hundred extra but also sent some well-meaning advice my way. “Stones can sing but not your daughter!” If only looks could kill! That fellow would have been blown to smithereens.
I didn’t give up hope. I searched far and wide, promised the teachers exorbitant amounts, and brought them home. Five minutes with Vagdevi, they all were ready to cry blue murder! I cannot fathom what about music that irked her, but so far a sweet docile Vagdevi immediately embraced her inner demons and sang lustily, enough to scare the living daylights off a grown man. I tried hard but Vagdevi was very trying.
Years passed. Vagdevi was now ten years old and I was on my hundredth tutor, when the pandemic hit us. With the lockdown extending, online classes became the new normalcy. I finally realized I had hit the jackpot. All I had to do was engage the services of an online teacher. I soon found a willing, gullible musician.
On an auspicious day, Vagdevi’s musical lessons began. We were staring at a record. The tutor was willing to continue after the first class! I was ecstatic while a very vexed Sangeeta was taking it out on the vessels, house-help, and more.
Soon we were on the 5th class.
It was unbelievable! I had to see the magic with my own eyes. As I tiptoed to Vagdevi’s closed door, I could hear a sonorous rendition of the seven notes. I was in the seventh heaven. I opened the door and peeped in.What I saw was enough to shake the ground beneath me.
Vagdevi was playing her video games, and her tutor was streaming another girl’s session on my computer. Bloody co-conspirators!
As I raved and ranted later, Vagdevi had just one thing to say. ‘If you love music so much, why don’t you learn?’
I don’t know what hurt me the most! Her belligerence or Sangeeta’s tittering. But it did have an iota of truth.Why didn’t I do so for so long? Anyways, why delay further on wasteful deliberations? I quickly became the humble seeker of the magic of music, working day and night on those tough notes, crests, and troughs.
Finally, I was ready with a few stanzas of “Virah!” That song from ‘Bandish Bandits’.
On my wedding anniversary, I serenaded my wife with an elegant rendition of that evocative song. Her relatives fell silent and an utterly offended Sangeeta stared at me teary-eyed. My mother-in-law pungently added, “You could have simply gifted her a gold necklace!”
I’m singing to the cows in my backyard.Understanding they periodically reciprocate with a moo!