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La Dolce Vita   Leave a comment

The clock reads “01:01”. I lie in my bed where all sorts of things lie scattered. I finally bought an electronic tanpura – rather my dad bought it for me. Today it reached me and I feel I have just earned my right to become a singer once more. The connection between me and my dad feels restored. I am musing wordlessly looking at the ceiling decorated in a cluster of fluorescent stars that shine for me exclusively every night above my bed. Stars stuck by me. They are here because I am here. I finally found lingerie that fit me – a satisfaction long overdue after my month-long exhaustive sickness where I lost weight and life urge. But it seems to be coming back to me. Like a bitten child now shy in its return. He is coming around. Life is a he. Ah! the sweet pleasure of wearing underwear that fits snugly on all the curves without mystery or hedonism. Like the sourness of the grapes in my mouth engendering summer that is rushing in through our east-facing kitchen window every morning. It seems to shoo us away from our own escapist nature. A month back I had put down my favorite author’s book, “Bella Tuscany” with tears. Tears of joy at having reached that part of my  mother which had dragged my dad down to the remotest and shabbiest of streets to find that man who could spray-polish our wrought-iron furniture, and turn the rusty whites into matte-kissed sober black. That gusty woman who drew plans incessantly for half a year which none of us had the vocabulary to understand, and got just enough furnishing done to soothe her appetite for rest half of the year speaking to men who didn’t speak her mother-tongue, communicating to them through my dad in his tongue. A cross of figures, a confusion of materials, a tornado left over when they had finished, them cleaning it up like wizards, except that they were not. A side of hers that dumbfounded me through childhood until I started reading “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes. With her second book, my mother was restored again to me – infinitely. If I could love something like her, surely I must have loved her through the madness that made me feel much too estranged. Today I received the third book of Frances Mayes. The promise of restoration buries its roots deep in my sacre coeur. “Prima le radici, poi le ali“…she says here (First the roots, then the wings). “Si signora Mayes…si…“, you *know* me. Mille grazie. A day before I stumble upon an Anoushka Shankar-Norah Jones collaboration, titled “Easy“. I feel how strange it would have felt if my dad had birthed another “me” with as much pleasure, as much love and as much desire and I had never known that other me. Like an ice wall behind which you see people but cannot hear them. And then I saw the photo of the 2 of them together with similar tattoos of the sun on their back. Another connection restored. The wind-chime finds its place in the wind, not in an air-conditioned corridor. Discovering another Norah Jones song made me feel back at home. She was mine again. New and yet the same. Bluesy and yet so verdant. Like steady, green alpines by the lake. A steady stream of peace meandering and yet being always at home. Summer is back. Soon mangoes will be too. And between now and then will be a wait of the gentle mother radiant with expectation. The playlist ends with “fields of gold” – an eternal joie de vivre of “now”-ness. There is no deeper joy, whispers my heart. The man at the counter charges me Rs.50/- per hair clip when I expected him to charge that much for three. I hear the laughter of a child thoroughly enjoying the idiocy. I see me drop the colorful clips on his counter, too ludicrous to negotiate. I buy the same set down a line of shops with a total price of Rs.60/- My faith is restored. There is something for everyone. Nay. There is everything for everyone. Even if it is just a little bit. I buy me a perfume. I had gone to a high profile meeting where someone was wearing a perfume that smelt like it had sandalwood bursting into effusions of a top note. Marks and Spencer gives me a fragrance which has sandalwood and vanilla – the “salt” of fragrances – as the base notes – at a discount price. Olfactory restored. They have a last pair of soft acrylic black gloves hanging at the same price. “Caro mio…“, I call out to this sweet life. I come home and have a delicious aloo-mutter made by mom which is simple and has a mysterious taste to it, which I later find out is due to the saunf and ketchup combination she added to it to compensate for the lack of chillies. The simple, fetching dish reveals to me layers prancing around my tongue. I feel like I am kissing with my tongue and experiencing a life that wants to reveal its mystery to me with the promise of something more after every discovery. A promise of succulence. I book tickets for my parents for a black and white silent film nominated for the Oscars this year. My love for films is restored, silence is back in action, a canvas so pure and intense, pouring down my throat like raw honey, claiming the void with its alacrity. I open my cupboard and find that I have all that I need. I look at my bedside table and it has stacks of books worth all their weight in gold. I find my musical companion again – dad sits down with me and explains to me how to tune the tanpura. He plays the recording of his latest fascination – the jaltarang. He plays an old Hindi film song with pristine tuning. He shares my horror at the discovery of Auto-Tune. We agree with fierce gusto that art deserves to be made for the sake of art, not as just another means to make money. I lose further respect for Bollywood and my menial IT job gains greater credibility.I inwardly vow to make art for art and do the best I can to improve myself as a channel for so many art-forms life has handed me, with the grim conviction of an esteemed treasurer. I touch my electronic tanpura with both my hands and then touch them together to my forehead and ask it for its blessings. Music is restored at home. I find a song by Adele which I really like. Non-pop. I pray secretly she didn’t use Auto Tune, thank God for sending me yet another artist who sends the blood gushing through my arteries, and makes me want to sing. I feel like I am part of a huge wave once more. I am one with the flow. It has taken me with it. And as Frances says, that which takes you away from you restores you to yourself. Merci. I am falling asleep, feeling drenched in a white light. Maybe I am just dreaming in this semi-conscious state at an hour when birth seems near. The force of life pulling me closer to itself. Me being the life and the movement. A single word rests placated on wrought iron gates which are being opened as I lose consciousness – “Agape

Posted February 27, 2012 by Deepti G Gujar in articles, music

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