Monday, October 25, 2010

Playing on heartstrings

In 2004, our older son requested my friend who was coming for a visit to bring him an acoustic guitar. She obliged, much to Shekhar's consternation. We had just bought a piano earlier in the year to make it easier for the boy to practice his scales.

Full credit to him, our son slowly, and rather painfully for us, taught himself how to play the guitar. Then on his next birthday he asked for an electric guitar. Shekhar balked. The boy seemed to be going through musical instruments at alarming speed. We went to the Music Store with Shekhar whining all the way to the cash counter. During the course of the next year, the accoutrements for the guitar grew - strings, picks, capos, fancy straps, carry-bags, a special tool kit, amplifiers, a wah-pedal, named very aptly, Cry Baby...mostly acquired when Shekhar was travelling so he couldn't complain.

Our son's guitar skills continued to grow. Some days Shekhar and I would watch in awe as his still chubby fingers moved along the frets...neither of us could play an instrument and we marvelled at how this musical genius had come from us. Of course, we were proud parents; anything he played would have sounded good.

Then...he asked for drums. This time even I resisted. But Shekhar indulged him and bought him an electronic set. As the house shook to the rhythm only our son could hear, Shekhar must have regretted his decision but he never showed it.

Yesterday, our son won his first competition and Shekhar isn't here to see how he has grown into this accomplished musician who plays seven instruments with consummate ease and composes heart rending melodies dedicated to him. He does not know that he has built this beautiful talent, given it soul.

I didn't get to see our son perform yesterday, only college students could attend. I don't believe there are any such restrictions on spirits...Shekhar must have been there, with tears of pride welling in his eyes. I know...because my happiness is tinged with the salt of his tears...


Ring the bells that still ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

From Anthem by Leonard Cohen