Lost in chords

My roommate, Das, has a guitar. And he plays it well. Plus, he doesn't mind sharing a lesson or two at times with me. So I have been able to pick up the diatone on C-Major, I know the names of the chords, and with a little practice, I think I may be able to at least play the simple chords.

But these chords, these rhythms have rules. They are bound by mathematical precision, and you must practice rigorously to be able to understand them, so that you can transition smoothly from a C-Minor to a G-Major. Yes, it feels good to know that those little flicks of the fingers on the left hand changed the sound so much, but it also feels clumsy when an extra string just presses against your finger and gets suppressed. I sometimes feel as though I am killing the music. Patience, practice, my dear... I tell myself. I too shall do it, some day!

One evening, I sat down with the guitar on my lap. I practised the sa-re-ga-ma diatone first, and then tried my hand at some chords which Das had been trying to teach me. Naah, it wasn't working. I will need to practice more, I thought. And then my thoughts somehow wandered off. My chin bent down to touch a side of the guitar, my left hand came loose and detached itself from the strings, and I plucked a string at random with my right hand. And the note stirred memories... I don't know which. One more pluck, a different sound, and a sound went into some deep recess of my heart. Slowly I started plucking some strings at random: one, maybe two sometimes. But I didn't really know what music I was making, what it was sounding like. All I knew was that there were waves in me... little pulses that stirred some unknown hidden life-form deep in the chasms of my heart. Sometimes a heavy slingggg.... and at other times a thin twanggg... no rhythm, just plain melody. I was lost in the chords, not knowing which string to pluck next, what time to let it vibrate, when to suppress it. And I had no idea what in my own self was getting stirred thus. Like a match lighting in some deep cavern where light had never penetrated in a thousand years, the music coursed through my soul.

There was nobody in the room. The AC in the room was maintaining a very comfortable temperature while the falling rays of the Texan sun raged outside. But inside it was bliss... to comfortably lose oneself in the music. I was being transported into a different world, floating on dreams without shape or form, hearing unheralded memories that had been screaming inside me for perhaps all my life but they had never been heard before. My thoughts wandered like a feather in the soft breeze, alighting on distant memories, resounding moments sweet and bitter; I felt like I was walking through some fog. And I felt sad now, happy the next second, and sometimes felt nothing at all. However much I tried, I could not think of anything, anybody -- even me. Dreams, shapeless forms, light and shadow... interwining themselves in my heart, making me a poet one moment and a beggar the next. It was bliss, and yet it was sorrow. Rending my heart, paralysing expression, making me teary --- I didn't know why. It was a pulse of life, it was the agony of death, and yet I listened on and on to the random chords being struck.

I don't know if you have ever had these experiences: like what you feel when you have prayed well, pouring out your heart; or maybe meditated for twenty minutes straight with full concentration; maybe lost yourself in a maths or a physics problem and then lost track of time. My half-hour with the guitar, that evening, was very close to these experiences. I have often tried to build that mood again, but either someone disturbs me or something else happens before I can lose myself like that again. But now I know: what it feels to be lost, happily lost.


  1. I can see a new side of ur character....never knew you were so imaginative..no not imaginative..thoughtful....i dont know the exact word :-(
    I guess you've got some time for urself at last!!!
    keep on guitaring!!

  2. This was different from ur previous ones.....i liked it:-)

  3. Wow!! You have written poem in prose. I think, if you like to write a poem, you can do it effortlessly. Your mom's genes at work, I guess. :-)
    Hey, when you find time, give us a lowdown of the education system of your place and of India.

  4. sahi hai saale... lage reh... yeh sab kisko impress karne ke liye ho raha hai haan ?

  5. hmmm.. remember the book you suggested me to write? i think you might as well start on that. that was quite an abstract post, and quite to the point...

    lage raho.... err... not munna bhai..

  6. Bristi,yeah well thanks... there are many faces, many masks... and yet there is just me :)

    P.S. - Was the word 'dreamer' ?

    Alka, thanks, yeah my mom's genes at work all the time. About the lowdown and comparison... give me some time. I usually take a little time to analyse and then can come up with a concrete idea or a post.

    Birdy, kaash wo impress ho jaaye dost!! :D

    Sunshine, thank-u ji!! Kitab, woh... kaashh!! :D

  7. btw... yu at texas univ austin?


  8. hmm... now u learning to finger the G..huh!... ;-)

  9. Rather insightful.

    Randomness is always rejuvinating, specially in this day and age because we forget to take time out from our busy schedules to do "nothing!"

    Will go home and dabble with the strings!

  10. hey sudee,

    the computer scientist is a poet as well...that was poetry in prose..thanx for the treat..loved it thoroughly..

    -aby (new post!!)

  11. Sajith, dost, itne din baad likhe kucch aur aisa? :D Well yes, I am learning! :) Drop me an email, man...

    Tanmay, thanks :) Sure... please do dabble and write about it!

    Cardamom, thanks a lot, dude... will see your blog son :)

  12. Man, Sudipto yr getting better and better...if it goes on like this, I wont be able to tease you on buttermilk coffee anymore!!


  13. Sky, oh yeah? What makes you think I want to be teased about being a kitchen disaster? But thanks a lot, re... :)

  14. I am sure I commented on this before... God knows where it disappeared...
    Well good writing, dude.

  15. the best part about the blog was the part where you said - my roommate has a guitar and he plays it well...the rest of it was just too semantically psychadelic for me to comprehend...

  16. One line summary of this - "My roommate has a guitar and I tried playing it."

    hehe, just kidding. Nice post. Very Rushdie like.

  17. Anumita, gee, thanks! You actually took time to comment again :)

    Das, yeah, right: self-promos always help. Besides, this blog is not for the faint of heart! :)

    Sajid, Rushdie-like? Jeez, thanks a lot, dude!

    BTW, whatever happened to you? No posts in all this time. Come on man... more treasures please!

  18. The codeword is Delta - Epsilon - Psi...

  19. I switched jobs and later discovered that not all companies are cool with their employers blogging during office hours :D

    Anyway, once I get net ghar pe, I'll try to be regular.

  20. Oh yes, those can be moments of utter bliss. Hope you have many more such moments of mein aur meri tanhayee :) good one!

  21. Das, yup.. ok!

    Sajid, ohh... I thought it applied to employers too! ;)

    Rujul, thanks... mai aur meri tanhayee... kaash!!


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