Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sounds of Silence

The streets of London are chaos. Scores of people scurrying by. In the midst of the madness, I heard a perfect note. The street musician was in his world of silence. His cello was taller than him. They were a group of aspiring musicians. The next few notes took me by storm. I could have sat there all day. I was embarrassed to give them money. I bought their album instead. I had found peace and calm at Piccadilly Circus. The celebration of life wasn’t loud anymore.

My next tryst with the violin would be closer to home. At home, in fact. My house mate in Oslo was learning from the Norwegian School of Music. My first question, when I came to examine the place, was, “does he practice a lot? Will there be disturbances?” Practice he never did at home. His music was silent. In my quiet moments I asked him to play. He invited me to a concert instead. It was an orchestra performance. In a 1 hour long performance, I tried to find his one minute solo. I could hear it. For his soul had transcended our walls.

It was time to go back to my roots. After many years of travelling I was finally back home in Kolkata. Kolkata embraced me with music. My mother’s harmonium and tabla had gathered dust. I had to do something. I jumped at the thought of paying my dues. At the thought of nurturing myself. Growing up in a family with music in its blood can put a lot of pressure. But I was going to attempt what nobody had in my family. I was going to play the violin.

When I first met Deb Sankar Ray Sir, I was humbled. My corporate mantras and educational chips had fallen. Unknowingly I had resigned to the softness in his voice. He played an impromptu for me. In sheer innocence I asked “Will I be able to play like this?” He smiled and said, if you practice, you can. There is a common perception that Violin is a tough instrument. Who says the journey of life is easy? Who says reaching out to your soul takes many lives? Maybe it does. Who knows?

I heard a story once. In a turbulent flight a 5 year old girl was travelling alone. While oxygen masks dropped and there was utter panic; she patiently kept drawing. A co-passenger asked her, Aren’t you scared dear?” She was quick to reply. “No. My Dad is the pilot and he told me he is taking me home” I have entrusted my musical journey to Deb Sankar Ray Sir. And I know even if it doesn’t repair my blemished soul; it will take me home.

-Anushua Chakrabarti (student)