Familiar chords hit my ears and float eerily down my spine shooting spurts of smiles, followed by a vocal mosaic of giggles, hums, and half completed lyrics. It is a sweet song, lively, with a hint of fresh tulsi and Rabindra Sangeet, and it still makes me smile as it did a few months ago, when I heard it for the first time.
For a song is not about lyrics, or music – it is all about how it made us feel at some point of life. It pulled us through a situation, or made us long for one. It gave us hope, or pulled us out of despair, albeit for a few minutes. It marked our sunny days, or drove us to ecstasy on cloudy ones. Or simply, it reminded us of a place, a time, or a person, that once were an integrated part of our lives, never to be retained in the same flavour again.
Music is an inherent part of human lives from times immemorial. There is something about sound patterns that makes us sway, hum and surrender our hearts to them, and in that lies such a deep involvement that it does not evade even the haziest of memories. An effective song that once evokes our strongest feelings holds the power to do so again, and again, and as we relive the bubble that surrounded us when the first strains of that music hit our hearts, we live our lives all over, while we are living our lives.
… So perhaps it is not that sweet after all. The sweetness that it imbued in those days dissolved in them and I moved on. Left with the vestiges of perhaps a summer of fading beauty or a chilly autumn of falling, yet fiery maple, the winter that had set in does little to foster the tulsi that grew in the front yard, or warm up to the Rabindra Sangeet that hummed itself in the sun and shadow lattice on the verandah. Instead, it dwells on the beauty and the maple, and even though the song’s essence still shoots spurts of smiles, it nudges with the reminder of fast forwarded reality.
It would perhaps be best to abandon such a song rather than delve deeper into a love long lost, but what if one chooses to delve into failed love? Achieving what is held close to the heart – a dream, an object, or a person – empowers us to love with more conviction, but failure to do so is the one true test of our abilities to love and give with equal or even more conviction. Indeed, success lies in not translating love into possession, and being able to simply live it.
Reliving the sweetness, along with her vestiges, blending them into a starkly different present and savouring the concoction – that would be truly moving on. One need not ignore pains or forget pleasures in order to seek the future, but carry the essence of both as a remedial tulsi to be sown in the front yard every time we cross from our comfort zones into a newer world.
These pains and pleasures are intangible, but thankfully, they can be moulded into lilting tunes which we can hum and half-sing, and can summon our memories when we need them the most. Music and lyrics that can rule our minds when we are about to surrender to hopelessness, that can relate to us when we feel our predicaments are the most unique, and that can show us a liberating end to problems we consider unending.
For music and lyrics woven into songs are not about the music and lyrics themselves. They are all about how they make us feel at each point of life. And keep us feeling, time and again.