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Article and Poem - By Prabha Nair

Updated: May 2, 2023

Sandeep’s Appreciation


I was traveling in a car with Sandeep and Sushma (names changed). 

Have you ever come across people who claim to love songs but talk so much when the songs are actually being played?

They don't listen to the songs. 

Let me tell you, it can be most annoying. 


Take for instance the car ride I had with Sandeep and Sushma. 

We were on our way to attend an event in Columbus, Ohio. 

Sandeep was driving. 

His wife Sushma, was sitting next to him while I sat in the backseat. 

It was a long drive. 


The conversation had exhausted the gamut of topics. Then Sandeep went into music mode and decided to play some songs. 


Big mistake that! 

And I'll tell you why in a second. 


The first song he played was 'Kahin deep jale aana'. 

The minute the song started, Sandeep started as well; on the annoying trail that

is. 

He began expounding on the song. 

"Jesudas" he said, announcing the name of the singer. 


Now, most people who listen to South Indian songs would know it was Jesudas,

but I guess Sandeep wanted to remove all doubts. 

"Unfortunately, he couldn't make it big in Hindi movies," he said. 

Then he added, "he sang in Chitchor,"  as though to say 'at least he had an

opportunity'. 


And so he went on and on, expounding on Jesudas; talent until I wished I had a

buzzer I could hit to show my protest at his intrusion.  


“What buzzer? Whatchu talkin' about?” didcha say? 


Well, you know in the TV program America's Got Talent, when the performer

delivers a substandard act, one of the judges would hit the buzzer to show his

disapproval. 

That's the buzzer I am talking about. 

So in that buzzerless situation, I did the next best thing I could do. 

Just put up with Sandeep's commentary, that's what I did. 

This went on for some time.

Occasionally, Sandeep would hum along with the song.

I wasn’t enchanted with his humming but listened to it all the same.

Or rather, was forced to.


After a series of Hindi songs, Sushma said, "Let's listen to some Malayalam songs."

"Yah, yah, yah, that's a good idea," chimed in her husband.

Knowing the only listening I would be doing is to Sandeep's comments, I kept quiet.  


The first Malayalam song that came on the music system was "Kaadhil then mazhaiyay paadu kaatte kadale..".

What irony!

Translated, that line meant, "O wind, O sea, sing into my ears like a shower of honey...."


My apologies; that translation does not fully convey the beauty of that line, but believe me it is a lovely song, one that should be savored in peacefulness.

Fat chance of doing that!

Sandeep started.

"Salil Choudry composed the music"

Did I ask him?

"You know, he's the one who composed 'Maanasa mayile varu' "

'What makes you think I do not know that?' I wanted to say but decided he might go off on a tangent and elaborate on what made him think that and THAT would give him something else to talk about in the middle of the song.

Not that it really mattered.

He wasn't going to let me listen to it anyway.

He had started the journey with a vengeance.

Nothing was going to stop him from expounding.

I was beginning to think Sushma must have switched off long back.


Or maybe she was used to it so much that she couldn’t imagine life without it.

Who knows?


I had read somewhere that there was a lady who was so used to sleeping with her

husband snoring next to her that when he went away on a business trip for a few

days, she couldn’t sleep without hearing that familiar snoring sound!

Can you imagine that!


Well, at some point, to my relief, Sandeep’s commentary had to end because we

had reached our destination.


This incident brought to mind my experiences in the past when I visited some

homes.

The television would be on, music blaring away.

Everybody would be merrily carrying on a conversation, totally unconnected to

the song.

Nobody would bother to even look at the tv or pay any attention to the song.


That’s when realization sunk in.

Sandeep was anytime better.

At least his comments were about the songs.

Even though he never actually listened to them!


                                                               പ്രഭ

                                                            **********


Prayers


Prayers are like

cool clean waters

to my parched throat.

Air, rich in oxygen

to my lungs

as I gasp for breath

in this process

called living.


**************

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