Monday, February 20, 2012

Way back home...

1 Dec. 2008
With two guitars and a heavy bag, I began my journey back home. Dressed as stylishly as possible, with a sweat shirt speaking IIT Delhi in front as well as back, I stepped on the platform. One guitar was on my back like a bag, another one in my left hand and with my right hand dragging the luggage bag on its rollers along the way to my rail-coach, I went on. It wasn't the first time that I was going home, but it was the first time that I was carrying two guitars with me, being the centre of attraction for the 'Delhi janta'. Children, elders and 'girls' while passing beside me didn't forget to turn their heads around to have that one glimpse of me.

It has always been a pleasure travelling - with guitar as my luggage and IITian as my introduction. The aunties and their contemporaries find in me their ideal son-in-laws. Why shouldn't they - I am smart, talented and most importantly for them a person with a secure future.

Full of pomp and attitude, I got into the train - Rajdhani Express - often considered as India's best train. People around me got their curiosity doubled seeing an IITian, as evident from my sweat-shirt, and seemingly a guitar stud. I made myself comfortable on my seat with my newly purchased twelve strings resting on my seat and my old dilapidated six-strings down the berth while I crouched myself in the corner. In the relatively cold atmosphere of Delhi, I was sweating - being tired after doing the work of porter for about 15 minutes.

The train started and I just watched the people around me. There was a family with two children in the age-group of 8-10 and there was a dark south-indian guy with an American accent, who had trouble conversing in Hindi.

Generally, as it happened in my earlier train journeys, people seeing me with a guitar used to ask me what I did and when they got to know that I am from IIT, they would be awed and some envied. I waited for the family-man to start the conversation, since he had been observing me for quite sometime. As expected, he did start a conversation with me.

"Are you an IITian?" He asked after observing the obvious from my apparel.
"Yes." I replied, with humility.
"Which branch?" He enquired.
" in Nanotechnology," came my impromptu reply.

Actually, my branch is called Engineering Physics, it's a branch dealing with stuff like quantum optics and nanotechnology. But, as goes my experience, people often misinterpreted my branch as being a M.Sc course in theoretical physics, which was just the opposite of what we study. So, I began to give the introduction of my stream as in nanoscience. Nano, being an emerging field in itself, influences people and even when they don't have the briefest idea of it they say, "Oh, nano. It has great scope in future."

As expected, the gentleman replied, "Oh nano, it's the future of science!"

Flattered, feeling like the most blessed person on this planet, I looked around the place. The south-Indian guy was sitting and hearing our talks with a great interest, though he didn't speak a word. The elderly gentleman was busy looking at my guitar bag for quite some time. I knew that the moment that I had been waiting for had finally arrived.

He did not take quite a long time to bump me with my favorite question, "You play guitar. Can you play something for us?"

Elated, I did not waste a minute. I replied back, "Sure. It would be my pleasure!"

I got my chance to entertain the whole compartment and be the rockstar amongst my compartment-mates. I unzipped my bag and played some popular bollywood numbers. I played for about 15 minutes and people(including two good-looking girls!) from the adjacent compartment got close-by to hear me play. After my every single performance, they applauded making me realize that I really entertained them. The south-Indian guy was also sitting and quite relishing the harmony.

After 15 minutes of my show, I ended it with the latest Yuvvraaj theme music - the tune of the song 'Tu meri dost hai'! As I began playing the tune, a sudden smile popped up in the South-Indian guy. I could not decipher the cause but it didn't go until I finished the last song.

After I finished my solo-show, I asked that guy, "Did you like the tune?"

He said in his articulate US accent, "I loved it. Rahman sir did a wonderful job in composing that tune."

I could not get that! Has he seen the hindi movie - Yuvvraaj - when he did not know hindi at all! And why was he calling the maestro A.R.Rahman 'sir'? Was it out of respect or what?

Curious, I asked him, "Do you know Mr.Rahman?"

"Yes, I do. I occasionally play in his orchestra", he replied making me bewildered. I was trying to become a rockstar in front of an adroit musician, considering my 3 years of guitaring experience with his 20 years. His word occasionally meant he did something else too.

He asked for my guitar - the new Ibanez twelve-strings - and played Mexican and Spanish tunes and gathered almost the whole of the compartment. His fingers moved at the speed of rocket across my twelve-strings - I was awed, mesmerized and completely green with envy that he stole my crown of the rockstar of the boggy and gathered almost whole of the compartment at our place. People came and gathered all around - even in front of me - and restricted my view. They were fighting and shouldering each other to catch one glimpse of his guitaring. Even I could not get space to see him playing my own guitar. His show ended in about 10 minutes, with the popular acoustic melody 'Hotel California' as his last number.

The crowd was overjoyed hearing a free-show by a friend of the maestro himself. The train was going to reach his station, and so he handed me over my guitar complementing, "It's a really beautiful guitar, very sweet sound. You are good at it, just work harder!"

I said a faintly audible, "Thanks". He stood up, I saw the back of his jacket. It said, "Harvard School of Music!" and thus, I got the answer to his word 'occasionally'. My face flushed in embarrassment on my earlier pomp.

"It was a pleasure meeting you. I suppose you are the guitarist in Rahman sir's orchestra?" I asked the obvious question just for the sake of borrowing his way of addressing the maestro.

"No, I am the flautist!" he smiled as he gathered his luggages, bid me a "bye" and went to descend at the next station.

I did not even dare to look at my guitar for the rest of the journey.

Written for indiblogger's contest for Expedia.


bemoneyaware said...

Beautifully written. Enjoyed it thoroughly!

Buzz said...

Thank you so much. :)

Bharat said...

Great.. mesmerizing.. :)

Your Own Personal Jesus.... said...

Very well written! :)
Liked it! :)

Sudhagee said...

Liked your post very much. Good luck for the contest :-)

nitesh srivastava said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nitesh srivastava said...

Hey Harsh
good one... esp liked the inside meaning all your stories carry.