It was hot summer morning of Guwahati and sun had dawned quite early than I ever wished. Actually, I wished that time should have frozen here so that I don’t have to see my board exam result.
Baba had much confidence and trust in me, which had always been my strength; but today I feel he should not have trusted me this much. He wanted to see me in flying colors; so that my life will be all set.
What if I fail to meet his aspirations? What if I did not score well? These were the real turmoil, not my exam results.
‘Tia, are you ready or not? I am already late.’
This leave I had joined Pandit Ravi Shankar to continue my music lessons which I had to abandon because of baba’s postings and competitive studies. Music had been my life all the time. And on top of this, great admirations of friends and family had always kept my spirit high up. Today, I really wish I should have chosen music over studies. At least baba would not aspire so high.
Baba dropped Amrita, my friend, and me at guruji’s house, on the way to his office. Having the privilege to riyaz with guruji was the greatest blessing. The moment I step in there, I forget the rest of the world.
After the riyaz we went to our school to see the result.
Our days were slow paced with no internet. And in those days results were utter secret with the school authorities who displayed it on the notice board. Filled with anxiety and fear, Amrita and I went to school. Piercing through the honeycomb crowd, we reached the notice board. Starting with second division list I made it through the first division list where I found my name. I was elated to find myself there. With a sigh of relief, I mumbled, ‘at least now baba will be satisfied.’
In the evening, when baba came home he was tired and exhausted and asked mother for a kadak chai. Hearing his voice I came out. He lay there on the sofa with closed eyes. I brought the cup of tea for him. Seeing me with half open eyes, he smiled. And in exitement I said, ‘Baba I made it to first division.’
Hearing this, all his tiredness was gone and he hugged me and said well done my boy. He always calls me my boy.
‘So, now what?’
Making myself comfortable on the long sofa I said to baba that I find it difficult to make a choice in my life; to which he softly pacified saying what was the fun in making decision, if it was easy?
You are right baba but I have to make a choice and it’s not a joke. On one hand, is my music which keeps me high up all the time. You know baba how music is my life.
‘I know beta. So what is the problem then?’
Baba, seeking this life for the rest of my life appears like a dark sinkhole where I can see great musicians but know not how they have made it through. I tried a lot to find a good, established, and secure carrier in music, but found none. Only a few great people are rocking the industry. There is no success story, no set principles to follow, nothing. Actually I don’t know how to make an entry to this field. Moreover, those who are there have a real tough life meeting their demands. Imagining that makes me weak. I feel, in the long run I might fail to accomplish.
Baba patiently heard all. That is what I admire most of him.
‘So what is your next choice?’
The second choice is the crowded pathway of studies, which has promising success rate. This way many people had walked along and had recorded their success stories, and for sure a secure and established life ahead.
Burying my face amidst my palms, I started sobbing.
Baba, if I put my leg in passion I am in a ditch and all high aspirations and hopes are going to die under scorching struggle. If I choose this studies pathway, I don’t know whether I will be happy or not but at least I will have all other essential things that are needed for good living.
I don’t know baba I am right or wrong.
‘Beta success doesn’t mean to earn big or be big. Success is to be able to do all essential things in most just way.’
His words were like cold water over boiling milk, settling it down. I finally chose to take the path of studies and completed honors in English in Guwahati. Then I moved to JNU Delhi to pursue post graduations in linguistics. Having an opportunity to explore life outside Guwahati was a boon. It was both enlightening and inspiring experience.
Finally my race for achievement and accomplishment ended as I took up a job in the country’s most renowned institute, investing everything. Reputed job, good pay, and everything was there but still somewhere within me I was not happy. So in pursuit of happiness, I changed a couple of companies, but still failed to find one, that satisfied me completely.
I was struggling through my thoughts and beliefs when another change swept in my life.
I met Aman and settled with him. He was there at Kolkata and I at Chennai. Living at two ends of the map grew our desire to be together. Now what to choose and what to give up? I just don’t like such difficult decisions. I don’t know why do they come up in my life only?
Aman had been very cooperative and understanding. He gave me full freedom to choose. And his freedom drew me to be with him all the more. And I finally chose to drop my successful corporate life, despite being ambitious and aspiring.
Life had been pretty good but my pursuit of happiness had not yet achieved its goal. One evening, as we were sharing some quite moments, when Aman mentioned, ‘Tia you sing so well why don’t you put your complete focus on it.’
I quirked, ‘Uh! The same old question again. Since childhood, I am trying to find a solace from this passion; and it’s back haunting me again.’Aman declared, ‘Don’t you think then it’s time to invest.’ And finally my journey of music caught pace.
I had totally given up on my dream and had accepted my life as it came but Aman was not like that. He kept poking me all the time. At last, I turned to think about it but with no heart because for me that dream was already shattered, beyond repair.
One day it all happened that I was asked to sing in one of the parties of my husband’s friend. I had forgotten to sing for long in front of the crowd. Facing the crowd was difficult. But that day’s song opened up all that was buried deep down in my heart. All childhood memories of singing and appreciations of my friends and families rolled in front of me like a movie. Those were my feelings of freedom and satisfaction I had every time I sang on stage. My life with music and everything which I had closed and buried deep down in my soul for years, opened. I for the first time realized that I had captivated myself in this wrong belief that music was not my soup. My soul cried bitterly within me, because I never thought I was such harsh upon myself.
And the new dawn set in my life that day. For the first time in my life, I realized that life has given me a second chance, and brought me to Kolkata, the city of artists, only to rediscover my lost self. I opened my old books and diaries to refresh my memories and boast my utterly broken spirit.
Rejuvenating, I began my new journey with grooming sessions with renowned musicians of the city. It was an added asset. It uplifted my crushed soul. Dipping me up in my old melodies gave birth to new compositions and bubbling of new heart touching songs. I presented them to my community members who admired it from the depth of their heart. They actually picked this quality of mine as a lyric writer and composer and encouraged me to work with music directors to finalize them. This is how my aspiration of music ultimately became my life. The path which I never knew carved itself, because some things are always destined to be there. It was I who was hindering it to aspire. And it is me who is cherishing it the most because this is what I always dreamt to be.
Author’s Note: This is a true story of actually acquiring one’s own dream in life as presented by the interviewee. Heartiest thanks to the interviewee who has entrusted such detailed and sensitive issues without hesitation. A heart felt gratitude for being kind and gentle. Above all thank you for sharing your inspirational story.
The above story is an entry into #Aspirations an Artale Greenhorns-2, Feathers Club Exclusive writing event entry.
Check out event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/artale-greenhorns-2/
Check out Varsha’s space here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/author/varsha-madhulika/