The unspoken language…
I was going through some of the ‘live’ recordings that I’d done over the last year at various places, usually vocals and instrumentals, and I came across this recording which I’d made of harmonium-tabla jugalbandi at an informal show. As the recording progressed, I was transported few months back to that venue. It was in August, one Sunday afternoon, rainy and the hall was almost empty when I had entered, which was mostly towards the end of the show. I had dilly-dallied thinking that a purely ‘harmonium’ show wouldn’t be all that great… had to however be there as was so courteously invited. How wrong I was….
What I walked into was a harmony of swaras and naad. …dexterity of fingers, such an attunement of both the harmonium player and the tabla artist that it seemed like the swaras and the naad had melted together.. and were flowing seamlessly… It was a perfect union. What cannot be described here is the look of extreme ecstasy on the faces of both the artistes. One played a raaga, a variation on harmonium, changing scale, pace from time to time and the other responded to it simultaneously…as if he knew what was coming. I knew that the whole piece was impromptu, since the tabla artist who had been engaged for the show could not make it and a local artist had to pitch in instead. It was amazing as waves after waves of tunes got released into the atmosphere and the tabla resonated simultaneously, dancing to those tunes beautifully…. what amazing music the performers created! Though the hall was only half filled, both the performers’ enthusiasm had not waned. In fact to us, it seemed that they were in a world of their own, their eyes talking to each other, speaking a language which very few could understand. Each understanding the other so perfectly and communicating in such a profound manner that even hours of conversation would prove insufficient. To the listeners, these were moments of bliss…rarely experienced in real life I think…everyone was smiling…clapping from time to time, but the performers had eyes only for each other…throughout the musical piece, they spoke thus and created magic!!
I am sure I was not the only person who felt that such a connection, where no words are required to be exchanged, and yet a lot is communicated, must be a spiritual connection. Art in general…music, dance, paintings…any art invokes a pure emotion – this is what I’ve always believed. A pure emotion must be close to God…I have a great respect for the artists. They love their work, purely for work’s sake, for the joy that it brings, the spiritual connection that it makes of their soul with itself…But I feel, such a connection may not always be musical or artistic, it could be even more intangible and transient like a feeling, an emotion… a shared laugh when no joke is told, perhaps a shared sorrow without really having to share it in words… and then I remembered a quote that I’d read in one of my friends’ notes: