In my early twenties, I was introduced to the stimulating music of the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar. If I remember right, the album was called ‘Tana Mana – The Ravi Shankar Project’. It was an experimental work using electronic music fused with the traditional. And yet the sitar stood out. The vibrations of that beautiful instrument were like a poignant ricochet from some forgotten crevice of my soul. So much so, that I went in search of sitar classes in my neighborhood. Much to my disappointment, things did not work out and my aspirations slowly got buried under more pressing concerns. The sitar, however, still lurks somewhere in my subconscious mind.
Even though I never learnt to play the sitar, I remember doing some research on the instrument at the time. One thing that stuck with me was the complexity of it all. A sitar has 6-7 played strings and 18-21 sympathetic strings. The most used is the first string ‘baaj ka taar’. It is imperative to keep all the strings fine tuned for perfect melodies to flow out. The first string though, is the anchor. It is on this string that the creative rendering of the ragas happen. But life is all about collaboration and balance. This is where the second string – the ‘jod ka taar’ gains importance. That’s the support string without which continuity is lost. Without which there can be no pure melody. The reason I’m eulogizing the sitar 20 years later is this.
Two weeks ago, while I was merrily cleaning out the kitchen shelves perched on a chair, I tripped and fractured my ankle. Life came to an excruciating standstill. In my last post, I wrote about meditation and being still; here was an opportunity to indulge in more of that. But there’s a difference between elective and non-elective choices. Soon annoyance and ennui crept in. Advent commenced and Christmas was just around the corner. It irked me that while all of humanity was running around decorating their houses, preparing sweets and shopping, I had morphed into a kind of Hobbit, moping and shuffling around without shoes. So as I counted the similarities – no-shoes, six meals a day and an unadventurous life, I realized that Hobbits are courageous under moral pressure and capable of great feats too. It was time to slingshot the pessimism.
Fed on this last thought, I started an advent gratitude countdown on Instagram and Facebook. I thought of every little thing that warranted thankfulness. Gratitude lists work so well for the simple reason that you can’t feel sorry for yourself and thankful at the same time. Soon enough I drew myself back into a bubble of appreciation and things fell into place. The amount of people who wrote back to me saying they drew comfort from the words was sweet premium.
Gratitude to me is the most intense feeling and the only prayer I know of. Soon the frowns eased and I settled into a restorative state. The surest sign of blessings came soon after. Mother and hubby both arrived home simultaneously bringing with them lots of cheer and noise. It was the best dang thing. My husband kept everyone entertained, my daughter clowned around to replace him when he was at work and mum pampered me like I was a baby. There is no better feeling than freshly brewed tea brought to you in bed.
My adorable sister-in-law, Shalini accompanied me on my doctor visits and checked on me from time to time. Then there were friends, the real and honorable kinds. Some came with food and smiles and hope. The one’s who couldn’t visit, kept me occupied and positive by talking to me and texting all day long.
We are fed images of angels in flowing white gowns and halos over their heads. But good-hearted people are the real angels. They are the ones who radiate light and make our lives luminous. They are the ones who walk the talk. The words, laughter, encouragement and love of these people became the crutch that I leaned on. They became my ‘jod ka taar’, the silent support string, without which no pure melody is possible. Appreciation exuded out of my every pore and made the days look like a perpetual sun drenched morning. All that was left to do was luxuriate in it.
So here I am, sitting beneath my twinkling Christmas tree feeling loved and sanctified by life. I sense an encore coming on. The best, as I always say, is yet to come.
All photos by: Rhea Rego
20 thoughts on “THE SILENT STRING”
Renu Christmas time enjoy.everything will be ok.
Yes, Sunny. All is well. ; )
Hey Ren I so much can relate to this piece of work.As I too am down with severe bout of viral and how I am completely pampered by my darling sweetheart and my dearest kids
I am only resting and all are at my beck and call
It makes me feel wanted ,loved and soo important.
Enjoying every moment of it.
This is really gratifying to knw that the Lord has been soo kind to me by giving me such a wonderful fly.
Ren loved this and keep it up friend
Merry Christmas in advance to u and all at home
An occasional bout of illness is good..haha! Thank you for always commenting, Mavis. Get well soon. : )
Life is always strange, always mystique. We are given good as well as bad experiences to learn. It always comes with ‘Jod kaa taar.’ We just have to see that consciously. The one who sees becomes a great human. And you are that. The one who finds out such Taars.
Great going. Renica you have been entrusted with this task by god, I think. Keep it up.
Big words, V. Just doing the best I can to make HIM proud of me, mate. Thank you for always being there. : )
Such beautiful words.. Amazing as always 🙂 You have and will always be the beautiful string that binds all together to a beautiful chord. Hope you are doing better now and back on your feet to bring in Christmas 🙂 Stay blessed!
Your words are no less sweet, Natty. Thank you. And yes, Christmas is going to be great. : )
reni ki sitar baj reli hai mast mey, kya baat. tune life ko doosre ankle se dekha
Doosre ‘ankle’ se..hahaha! 👍
The Sitar of Life! The Strings!
Advent on Gratitude! An Insights!
The Angels, that ‘jod ka taar’!
Truly, there is no equivalence, to that “Tea, brought to us in bed!”
A Poem for You:
Words, You know how to Merge!
Words, You know where to Place!
Words, You know when to Rearrange!
They seem to fall in Place!
When you reach, for your Pen!
The Strings, You reach for them!
The Strings, They give you life!
The Strings, They cause you to Rhyme!(Writings)
Superbly presented! As always, Inspiring!
Thank you, Ramesh. : )
Hi ren, you through this womderful piece yet again reiterated that you need no feet to walk in someones thoughts and hearts. They r always around you. So this christmas be a part of each one through kind words of gratitude and thankfulness to the almighty…. be blessed and bless others through kind deeds and words
I like the way you put it, Sham. Thank you indeed. Peace and joy be with you too. : )
Haha. Finally! I was waiting for your next masterpiece. And boy, was it worth! Beautiful as always, Aunty! Very thoughtful and truly love the way you look at life! And hopefully, the leg has healed with all the love that radiated from your ‘jod ka taar’s 😉
Lots of Love & Best Regards!
Foot is healing as it should, Jeremy. Another few days and I should be right as rain. Thank you for the feedback, but more importantly the concern and love. : )
It takes a beautiful heart to appreciate. Very well written Ren…..as usual !
Thank you, FJ. 💓
Thank you, Anto.