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Going Down Tone

Monday, June 13, 2011

People who have music in their souls can’t ever give it up. I feel all those auditioners who bray their souls on national television. I understand that intense burning desire to stand before a mike and let the world hear you. To feel the heat rushing out your nose like it’s funnelling through a high voltage hair dryer...

I am constantly amazed by the amount of musical talent in this world. I recently began watching X-factor India. Wah wah. Some of the contestants are just amazing. Truly gifted. But it’s the unmusical singers who offer true entertainment. And to be honest I see myself in a lot of them. Or at least the me that was. Hugely passionate about singing – but completely, completely tone deaf. And my family is worse. While they are not so passionate about singing (apart from my black and white movie song singing dad), tone deafness seems to be a genetic trait. So, take a tone deaf singer, put her with a tone deaf family, and there you have a superstar in the making for a tone deaf audience. But God was kind enough to provide me the realization of my musical abilities before I embarrassed myself on an X-factor stage.

It was in a modest classroom of 80 students. A teacher at the new high school I joined had taken a liking for me. As a favourite, she favoured me on many occasions. But unfortunately that backfired when she decided to hold a singing session in class. She asked for volunteers – and I jumped in excitement and she chose me first. And so I stood up and confidently opened my mouth – turns out to bray - raat kali ek khwaab me aayi. I didn’t realize it was not in fact music, but very sweet braying (cos hey I am not that bad, just not that good either) until I saw the is she kidding us? expressions of my classmates and the buried laughter from the boys. It didn’t sink in until Soumya took stage and sang the same song in the sweetest most musical voice I had heard until then. And then it sank in. Truly. God bless that day of self-realization.

two-two.gif I don’t sing so much now, but even until a couple of years back – I was hugely passionate about it. My life was a song. Literally. Even in the oddest of situations a song would run in my head in the most dramatic way. Whether it was a funeral or a wedding or just that unexpected shower of rain. There was always a song defining that moment. Articulating it with all the feeling it demanded. I was the antakshari queen. The picnic radio. That odd broken record that you would hear wafting through the AC vent in office. So passionate was I about singing – that I used to sing myself to sleep or rather just fall asleep singing. Hey when I was still like eleven okay? Anyhow, one of my favourite memories is of the time that my grandmother (who at that point we were terrified of) woke up one night and royally scolded my siblings for the loud TV volume. Turns out it was not the TV, it was me – sleep singing!!

See, people who have music in their souls can’t ever give it up. They can’t help but express themselves through it, in it, with it. I feel them. I feel all those auditioners who bray their souls on national television. I understand that intense burning desire to stand before a mike and let the world hear you. Let that voice escape through those vibrating prison bars inside the throat. To feel the heat rushing out your nose like it’s funnelling through a high voltage hair dryer. To scrunch your face up so intensely that one might not be too wrong in thinking that you want to squeeze the skin off your face. To sing with so much heart that you are in the danger of puking your intestines out. I know. I have been there – done that.

The high school experience didn’t deter me from taking on a stage again. A big one. In my first year pre-university I really wanted to go up on stage and sing. But I didn’t have the guts to do a solo – so I managed to get into a group. Now this group – was as singing challenged as I was. But we all shared that common confidence in ourselves. The song we chose was Nothing’s gonna change my love for you. Our practice session turned out to be intense girl talk in somebody’s maruti 800, and the makeup-friendly painting their faces. So engrossed were we with our ‘practicing’ that we lost track of time. So we ran to the auditorium, and after much begging we managed to get ourselves on stage. It was beautiful. That full auditorium. The panel of judges. Natasha Pinto who had so sweetly volunteered to play the piano for us. The holy light coming in from the audi doors. I’ll never forget that moment or what followed afterwards. 1.2.3. Iffff I HAAAADDD TO LIVVVVVVE MY LIFFFFE WITHOUT YOU…… Bray bray bray. Oh how magically we brayed. Bray bray bray. Me with the loudest voice and the nastiest cold (on top of that musically challengedness). We brayed so beautifully – Nat just looked at me and gave up the piano with a shrug. She couldn’t find the scale to fit in our musical genius. But I LOVED that moment in time. I sang like never ever. Like all those hopefuls on the music shows. I didn’t stop singing even when the rest of them did. I didn’t stop singing even when the judges started waving their hands, or the audience started laughing. I sang until I had completely let it all out. Because I just knew that this college would never let me get on stage again. Talent like mine threatened the very existence of the music community in that college. Had it been the age of the Internet –  they would have probably put me on every music blacklist possible.

These days my musical genius only wakes up when I wake up. I am now a certified bathroom singer. All of Cooke Town knows when I wake up. But I don’t know if they know whether its me or the neighbourhood rooster. My favourite song to murder these days is Tu Jaane Na.

Tu jaaaane naaaaaaAAAAAAaaaaa




And truly the bathroom is the best place to sing in. The acoustics are just am-azing. And I find that I actually sound good in there! I have decided that when I eventually do have kids – I am going to train them in bathroom singing. Tadap tadap ke from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and I will always love you by Whitney Houston are great songs for constipation. You have to sing them with feeling. Put your heart and stomach into it.

And Aaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Will alwaaaaayssss LOOOOVEEEeeee YOOUUUUUuuuuuuUUUUUUuuuUUUUUU

Of  course Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You will always remain my favourite cos it gave me my X-factor moment. If only we had camera phones in those days!


Unknown said...

he he ::))

Rabia Fathima said...

I'm happy you are enjoying my stuff Sharmila!

Nabeela said...

LoL funnyyyyyy......Especially the "tadap tadap ke dil se"....should try it on my kids haha

Rabia Fathima said...

Nabbbuuuu .... So nice that you read my stuff!Nabbbuuuu .... So nice that you read my stuff!

Nabeela said...

I've been reading and enjoying every minute of it. Love your writing style! MashaAllah.

Rabia Fathima said...

Thank you ... and please keep reading!!

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