Can’t get the melody out of my head

I am having an incredibly unproductive day at work. After moving to a role that requires more thinking than execution, i have these moments where I am searching the world wide web for the most obscure things in order to find inspiration. Of course in most cases it has absolutely nothing to do with my work, but the brain has this way of justifying to oneself why I am completely deviating from my well charted out to do list.

Currently the justification is you never know how and when the solution to certain problems will strike and it’s best at that point to take a mental break. I also realised I haven’t written in a while mostly due to fear that i have nothing great to say or contribute to the mighty interweb. I have decided however to write this fairly pointless post just for my own satisfaction. Apologies to those of you who decide to read on.

I met a friend last night for dinner after many years and he commented on how i seemed like a calmer individual than when i was 23. My almost immediate response was to say that it’s a function of age.

In my head somehow losing the part of me that was easily excitable and happy isn’t a great thing. Since then , I have been browsing through my own internet history, re-reading pieces i wrote on facebook notes and things i wrote almost a year back to get a sense of me. Fundamentally I don’t think we change much, though the idealist in us dies a little bit. I read this quote recently which made me crack up quite a bit. “ Adulthood is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane”.

Well in my case, the airplane has landed and i have finally acknowledged that i qualify as an adult now. The only advantage is that i can deny being part of a generation that swears by Justin Bieber and thinks some strange semblance of sounds put together with an unimaginative bassline qualifies as music. For me, it qualifies as music if it will get a similar reaction from me 10 years later. Today i re-discovered this amazing acapella group called The Real Group. I have attached the link to my favourite song here.

Music is like my time travel machine. It transports me to the time i first heard the song. This song was my introduction to college western music choirs in 2007. This was just before i joined this amazing Delhi based music choir called Artistes Unlimited. When I discovered that they also followed the Real Group,I was so so elated . I realised that i was finally somewhere where i belonged, part of the alto crew, just singing. Just the thought of the times, I’ve had, as part of that group makes me smile. I wasn’t the star of the show, but it didn’t matter. Probably everyone in that group was better than me, but unlike competitive sport I didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of being picked last.

I was exposed to so many different artists and techniques. My mind and worldview expanded exponentially just by being part of the group. What i miss the most, however, is the sheer energy of the group. Imagine 40 plus talented individuals coming together and deciding to sing. Each person pushing the next to be better everyday. There was just so much positive energy in one place. Someone once said something about just looking at the solo artist at the time of a performance and willing them to sing well. It sounded strange, but i found myself and the energy of the entire choir doing it at a show. Words will not do justice to the feeling I am trying to articulate.It really was my first view of what love and goodwill of an army of people looks like and what the right kind of space can do for you.

The group disbanded in 2010, primarily because we grew up and this didn’t feature on our priority lists. Most people went on to become full time/part time musicians while the minority(this may only be me) converted into simply being listeners of music. I think it broke my heart more than most people, because it was the one space in which i wasn’t competing or adopting some morphed form of outdoing the next person. I was happy just to be a part of it. Even six years later, if someone from the group happens to reach out on social media, i feel compelled to respond. It’s like an invisible hand that makes me make time for this group of incredible people. That is the power of this group and what it did for me. It has and shall always hold a special place in my heart.

I have now moved to a different city. Strangely enough, my first friend in the city was someone who i sang with in this group. Recently social media tells me that Artistes Unlimited is being resurrected in New Delhi. Of course six years later the nuances, the structure and the platforms are very different and the group will have to take these into account in version 2.0. I just hope it still provides the space to positively affect the lives of impressionable 20 year old underlings, as it did mine.

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