12 May 2016

Everyday on my way to school, my train stops at Jay Street – Metrotech where I can hear this one person playing a certain string (violin sounding) instrument and not particularly well. What does this person look like? How do they feel about their own music?


1 May 2016

There is a man on the subway, sitting right across from me. He seems angry. There is a violent assertion in his stance. Every now and then he kicks the pole in front of him – a way to mark his territory I presume.

He pretends at random times to block someone’s way by stretching his legs or by putting his feet on the seat, almost threatening the person next to him.
I wonder why this feels uncomfortable to me. The sight of this man, who is claiming his territory, scaring people away from what he believes is his space. Isn’t this animal response natural to all species? Why then do I feel more comfortable with our constructed civil behavior ?

I went to the airport today to pick up some things that my mother sent for me through a family friend who was traveling to New York.

I picked up the bag of little things and headed to the subway station. As I was returning back from the airport, my eyes fogged up with tears. For the first time in 7 months, I felt the absence that I had been anticipating everyday since I moved to the city. I wondered why I never missed my family. I guess I didn’t have the time. Today, as I hold the things that my Mother carefully packed yesterday I have never been this aware of her absence and I have never felt this longing I feel today for my family.

Context : It is 2:32 am and I am writing my Physical Computing project proposal.

As I am typing out this elaborate proposal, I try to “comment out” a certain sentence that I am a little confused about. #overcoding

Twice in a week I meet my music teacher. We sit across from each other, cross legged, back straight and focus. I turn on the tanpura – the sound resonating within the room. Loud enough to mute the incessant thoughts in my head and soft enough for me to hear the sound of my will. Searching for an identity within octaves, I set the scale to A Sharp. I take a deep breath and begin. I hum ‘OM’ in the note Sa. ‘OM’. I breathe again.

‘Sa-Pa-Sa’ ‘Sa-Pa-Sa’

I ascend. I descend. I wait till the walls ricochet the sound of my voice. As I dive into a world that is far removed from reality, I am most aware of all my senses. I listen carefully. I see the notes juggling across the room, colliding with one another, transitioning into one another. I see them interact. I command them to move as per my will. I shuffle them around. I skip a note and jump to the next – I come back. The sounds just appear. Then disappear. Like a little soap bubble on the skin. I tune the tabla to play the theentaal. It sets a grid for my idiosyncrasies. I synchronize my notes with the beats of the tabla.

‘Dha Dhin Dhin Dha – Dha Dhin Dhin Dha – Dha Tin Tin Ta – Ta Dhin dhin Dha’

Each beat asserts itself in a different manner. I focus – but I don’t. My voice naturally adapts to the pattern, like it was yearning for it all this while. I learn sustenance. I stop at a note and stay there till I feel comfortable. I complete it – not wanting to rush ahead, but to live in the moment. I make the most of it. One breath. My body feels tense. It begins to sway with the notes. The act of creation liberates me. I condition an organ to function differently. I teach it new ways. My voice understands pitch, it recognizes new sounds and learns how to create them. My voice perseveres. It repeats – once, twice, thrice; a hundred times if it must. It learns sustenance. As my mind liberates steadily, so does my body. I feel detached from my own person. I am now separate identities. I coexist with myself. I am a performer, a spectator, a critic, a learner, a teacher. The sounds now understand me. We make music, we make mistakes. I now understand the sounds. They talk to me. I tell them about my happiness, my pain that wont go away. I tell them about my day and how uneventful it was. I ask them about theirs. The sounds introduce me to peace. They tell me he is a good friend of theirs. And sometimes, I can smell sound. Maybe it is just my breath. Or the freshly washed sheets on my bed. Maybe its the trees outside or the dust? Maybe it is indeed the sound. It lingers and intensifies as I progress. I smell anxiety when I struggle to find the right note and contentment, as I struggle less and less. I smell calm. I smell music.