I have been experimenting with my time, doing the things I have wanted to but never did so far. Yesterday I started my classical vocal weekly lessons. A friend of mine who gives music lessons agreed to teach me. It has been one of the better things I have done for myself in a long time.
The sight of the harmonium opened floodgates of memories from childhood. My (late) grandfather (dadu) was a classical singer and used to riyaaz (practice) every evening. Ma insisted I learn from him, but even as a 6 year old, I used to insist that dadu teach me Bollywood songs and not classical music. I was just a naughty kid, avoiding the chore of sitting quietly and singing. Dadu had said listening is half learning, so what if I did not sing with him. Whenever I was ready for music, I would come back to it.
My teacher told me the same thing yesterday, and insisted I take one class and then just sit and listen for another higher level class. Because listening was half learning.
When dadu passed away, the riyaaz stopped and the harmonium was put away. However years later, ma started learning classical music, and the riyaaz culture started again.
The 2 hours of riyaaz yesterday transported me to a different world. It gave me goose bumps, reminding me of all those childhood evening and my dadu. Sure my rusty voice cracked at the lower notes and I had a difficult time singing and holding on to my breath at the same time. I think I croaked like a frog at times, especially since I can sing higher notes but not lower notes. But the whole atmosphere, the music of the harmonium, the sa-re-ga-ma, the aaroh and the avaroh was amazing. Once again, I developed a deep sense of respect for the singers. I have sung hindi movie songs in gatherings, but classical singing is of a totally different level. Like ma said, if the classical base is strong, sure you could sing any song of the world.
I wondered how the permutation and combination of the 7 notes (sa-re-ga-ma-pa-dha-ni) could produce so many songs and music notes. I was never told the difference between singing from the throat and singing from the belly before. And it was true, that one could choose to sing from the throat or from the belly. I regretted the fact that I have not used my time so far in the pursuit of music. Sure I like to sing and sing in tune, but I could have bettered myself with all the practice. Anyway, it’s never too late.
If there is something you have wanted to do for a while but have been postponing due to a demanding job, an inflexible spouse, or difficult in-laws, I’d strongly recommend you to go do it. Music is a gift I’ve received from both sides of my family. All I had to do was brush up my basics (and my froggy voice) a little bit, and I was up there singing and enjoying every bit of it. If there is a gift you have but haven’t developed it, you should go do it. Unlike people who say life is short and you’d die without doing things you wanted to, I say life is so long that you’d actually live to regret the things you wanted to do but didn’t do.