Friday, July 09, 2010

Testing My Vocal Cords

It's been a long time since I sang out loud, at the most I have hummed and once in a while sang in a rush at a friends place to relive some school memories. In some inspired moments, in an empty house after listening to a particularly nice song I try to reproduce it, go hopelessly off key and then give up.

I am also eternally embarrassed at most condolence meetings where I am asked to sing 'something appropriate' (a.k.a. Bromho sangeet or Ranbindra sangeet) and I sit stonily and mumble that I have forgotten to sing. At this stage people offer books which have printed lyrics (which seem to be peculiarly handy) and I cringe further and wish the Earth would swallow me up! But of course such things happen with only ladies as pure as Sita and not a out and out sinner (like me). I usually mutter more excuses and pass on the so called singing baton to the more abled.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) some people have these elephantine memories and recollect that I used to sing at some point of time and become quite persistent. At such times I usually have to resort to my last straw which is the one and only Rabindra sangeet I know, knowing fully well that it is highly inappropriate. Traditionally this song is sung at ceremonies celebrating birth, and I have sung it a few times at condolence meetings (shradh ceremonies) with the explanation that death is a transition to a new state and hence a form of birth. Purists and the torch bearers of Tagore's work may send me hate mail I guess.

The other day I exhausted my stock and was asked to sing one more song (in other gatherings and encore would perhaps an ego boost) and I had to delve into deep recesses of my memory and recollect all the devotional songs I had learned centuries back. To my complete surprise I did actually recollect one of them and it was good to jog my memory and vocal cords to some forgotten tunes and I also discovered that training in classical music can never really desert you, the vocal cords seem to have their own memory. It is also a liberating and cleansing experience.

I am now suitably convinced that I should take up singing lessons and expand my repertoire, though not for an audience but as a form of self expression.

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