3 comments

Fiction

THAT IS IT

Ramchandra Rao was not keeping well for 3-4 months. He was happy to see Satish visiting him that evening.

"How are you, sir? Have you taken your medicines? What was the Doctor’s opinion after seeing the report ?” Satish bombarded him with queries since he was meeting Ramchandra Rao, his favorite teacher, after a gap of a month.

Ramchandra Rao sat upright in the chair. “I am better now. I am very regular in my schedule of medicines.”

"Tell me whether you need anything", Satish said.

“First tell me about your trip to France. How was it? “

“Trip was fine. My mission was successful. I bagged a million-dollar order.” Satish.

“Very good. You have been always successful in your tasks. Now, let me see how good you are at completing a small task of getting a song for me.”

“Which song?”

“I have told a few members of our group, but they have failed.”

“Sir, tell me which song?”

"Satish, actually, I have forgotten the name of music director, and also the first verse of the song. I only know that it is sung by Lata  Mangeshkar. The lyric is by Mirza Ghalib. Can you get me the song?”

“Sir, since you have told me the lyricist, who is very famous, it should not be difficult to get the song you want.” 

"The same assurance I had got from Nitin, Sandeep, and Ramesh. But for more than three weeks, they have not found it. Satish you will have to put in extra efforts."

“Sure sir, Believe me, I will not disappoint you.”

“Let us hope so. Satish, this song I had heard in the seventies. I had loved it very much. But later on, I got involved in my career so much that I forgot about this, my most favorite song. When one’s career takes the highest priority, your hobbies take a back seat. I was so much involved in my profession that I had forgotten about music.

Now after retirement, again I am getting into music. I started collecting old, my favorite songs. My library is increasing day by day.

One day, suddenly, I remembered this song. I tried desperately searching for it. But failed miserably. I told Sandeep, Nitin, and Ramesh too about my wanting this song. But unfortunately, they were unable to lay their hands on it. Now you are my last hope. I am feeling so uneasy that my most loved song I can't hear whenever I remember it.

The main problem is that I don’t recollect the starting verse. Ghalib has written so many songs that it is extremely difficult to get any particular song without identifying the first lines. Also, the lack of the name of the music director has put brakes on the search for my song. The additional hurdle is that Lata has sung so many of Ghalib's creations that even Lata + Ghalib combination can not be used to search this. It is such a rarely heard song.

Satish, try your best to get the song to be included in my library.” Ramchandra Rao said earnestly.

Satish noted down the information whatever Ramchandra Rao could give about the song.

After Satish left, Ramchandra Rao picked up his computer file of the library of old songs and started listening to the old melodies of the fifties and sixties. The collection of captivating songs was scanned and a few were selected. Playing and listening to the chosen songs was giving immense pleasure to Ramchandra Rao. Any song recollected, if it was not in the library, Ramchandra Rao was making a note of it. Searching network, it was getting added to the library. The newly found old song Ramchandra Rao used to hear it repeatedly till his soul was completely satisfied. He had revived his earlier hobby of listening to old songs.

Once Nitin rang up Ramchandra Rao and told him that he had got hold of his song. Ramchandra Rao was extremely elated. He was keen to listen to his old love, the Ghalib kalam. The next day Nitin arrived and the first thing he did was to play the song he had found with lots of effort.

Nitin said, “This is the one you wanted. Ghalib’s song sung by Lata.” And started playing it.

Ramchandra Rao was all ears to it. But just the starting tune threw him into despair. “No Nitin. This satisfies all the criteria of my song but this is not my requirement.” He said, “This is a very good song but not the one I am waiting to listen to.”  

“Oh. I am sorry sir. If you can give a few words of the first line I am sure I can bring the song. But without any words of the starting line, it is just impossible. There are too many Ghalib songs sung by Lata. It is a mammoth task to listen to each one of the songs to find out your choice.”

“Yes, I know. But I am really missing this one. I am enjoying hundreds of songs, which are close to my heart. It saturates me with emotions listening to them. But without this song, I am finding it incomplete.” Ramchandra Rao said in despair.

“This Urdu lyrics is so wonderfully tuned and so sweetly sung by Lata Mangeshkar, that the need of understanding rich Urdu words is made redundant. The feelings straightway pierce your heart. This is an ideal example of the music creating intense feelings, crossing all the barriers of equally touching language. The use of minimal instruments to create an appropriate atmosphere is very effective. One gets hypnotized soon after the first tune of the song reaches the listener’s ears. I wonder whether I am fortunate enough to go through this ineffable experience once again.”  Ramchandra Rao was in a hopeless state of mind.

After a few days, Satish called Ramchandra Rao. "Sir, I am coming down with a few picked-up songs. I am sure your waiting will end now."

Ramchandra Rao was eagerly looking forward to Satish visiting.

And Satish knocked on the door. Ramchandra Rao got up himself and slowly reached the door. Satish with an extremely happy face entered.

Without uttering a single word, he took out his mobile.

With extreme excitement, Ramchandra Rao was full attention to it. Satish played the first song. But just after the first tune, Ramchandra Rao was disappointed. He, in a choked voice, said, "No Satish, this is not my song."

“Ok Sir, I will play the second one. I hope this gets your approval.”

The next one was started. Immediately, Ramchandra Rao said in a disapproving tone, ”No. Not even this.”

He got up in disgust and started going out of the room.

Satish had not given up hopes yet.

“Sir please, listen to this piece.” And he started playing yet another one.

And Ramchandra Rao screamed in excitement.

“Yes. This is it. Now first let me listen to this song completely. I am so delighted. After solid fifty years, I am listening to this charming music.”

Without saying a single word further, he was lost in a dream world. Satish felt Ramchandra Rao was getting drenched in the sentimental showers from Lata Mangeshkar’s inimitably sweet voice, sprinkling delicately woven words from Mirza Ghalib with the frill of heart-rending tune by Faiyyaz Shaukat.

Ramchandra Rao went into trans. Three minutes later when the song was over, Rao slowly reappeared into the real world,

“Yes, Satish. This is the song I was missing so much.

"Daher mein naqsh-e-wafa", penned by Mirza Ghalib, voiced by Lataji, and tuned by Faiyyaz Shoukat.

I am ecstatic. Satish, I am extremely happy. My treasure of haunting music is richer now.

Henceforth, you don’t need to ask about my health. I am at the top of the world.

Thanks a million, Satish. I am indebted to you.”

Saying this Ramchandra Rao embraced Satish. Uncontrolled tears flowing from Ramchandra Rao wet Satish’s shoulder.

December 16, 2021 15:29

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3 comments

07:40 Dec 19, 2021

The main take-aways for me from this story are: 1. People can get attached to inanimate and non-concrete things like music as strongly as do to other people. It was very moving to read about the old man's passion for old film songs and his yearning for a long forgotten song. 2. Music not only entertains us, but has a therapeutic effect. After getting possession of the song that he has searched for long, the old man said others need not worry about his health any more. Through this story, the author has fully succeeded in conveying to us his ...

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Vijay Likhite
02:04 Dec 20, 2021

Thank you Prof. Rao. I am glad you read my story completely. Your comments mean a lot to me. Yes. Music can play a big role in one's life, especially in the fag end of life. Thanks a million once more.

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Vanshika Datta
11:43 Jan 15, 2022

Songs are capable to keep us energetic and spread positivity, specially when we feel low. Music have helped me a lot during my odd times. 😌

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