Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh no.......not again!

There is no use denying the truth when it has you firm by your hair. Some people can acknowledge the truth even if it slightly taps them on the shoulder. Others may face it if it gets up and stares them in the face. Me? I do it only when it yanks hard on my hair and kicks me a few times in the shin. And five times is one too many even for me and I have finally decided to face my truth.

I am a danger to all my music teachers and there is no point sugar-coating it anymore.

When I was a little girl long, long ago, so long ago, my parents heard me singing in the shower one day with gusto and not willing to lose any time, they enrolled me immediately in an instrumental music class. And since then, they made it their life's goal to nurture my instrumental skills and (note this) only my instrumental skills. Innocent that I was, I fell into that trap easily and gave up the pleasure of singing in the showers only to take up mimicking the instrumental sounds even in the sanctity of my shower at the passionate plea of my parents.

I grew up, got married, moved across seas and continents and all of a sudden, one day it dawned on me that I was the victim of a cruel conspiracy. Singing in the shower is as sacred a civil right as freedom of speech and I had given it up without as much as a picket-line protest. How clever they had been! Made me wonder how much the residents of 79th street had paid to have my parents stop me from singing? And how dare they? The rebel in me was outraged at the monumental injustice done to me. With the tight-lipped determination of one who had been unjustly wronged, I decided to take fate into my own hands and at last find a music teacher to train me vocally. And find her, I did.

Eager as a puppy, I attended my classes without fail each week and got through the basics successfully only to find that she had, one day, decided to quit her job, sell her house and move across the many states of United States. Why? To continue her higher education, according to her. Yeah, right! Come now, one has to get up pretty early in the morning to fool Meena. I should have known then that something was wrong, mighty wrong, in the State of California.

I found teacher#2 soon enough and picked up where I left off. Geethams turned to Swarajathis and Swarajathis turned to varnams and just then what did my dear husband do? Oh nothing earth-shattering except that he had decided he didn't like California as well as he thought he had and was now convinced that greener pastures were awaiting us on the eastern seaboard. Not again..... With the lusty sigh of a repeatedly injured woman, I bid a melancholic farewell to teacher #2 and got on the plane already busy plotting to find my next victim aka teacher.

After moving into my next home, fate gave me an opportunity to visit my family in India and I, in a delusion of grandeur, decided to push my luck and ask one of the leading vocalists in town (I will refer to her as Madam X in this post) if she would give me lessons while I was there on vacation. Giddy with joy at my good luck when she agreed, I knocked on her door promptly for my first class. She was everything I had expected her to be and more and I sat down to eagerly learn the Thodi Varnam from her and left a happy person at the end of the first session.

Please note that when I parted from her that day, I left her in no doubt about my intention to return the next day, same time, same place for the second session. As I was busy that night listening to the recording of the class and struggling to get a grip on the slippery notes of Thodi ragam, I got a call on my cell phone. ‘Hello, is this Meena? I am Madam X’s mom. I am afraid that my daughter won’t be able to take classes for you anytime soon. You see, soon after you left today, she doubled over with a bad stomach ache, vomiting and such and has now been admitted to the hospital. By the way Meena, don’t call us. We will call you.’ Oh Wow! Poor Madam X! She was looking the picture of health only that afternoon. Anyway, that is the story of music teacher# 3.

As one who is not so easily broken, I continued my search and found teacher#4. I decided to be smart this time around and found a teacher who gave online lessons. You see, she could pack up and move everyday if she wanted. Since I would only be a Skype call away, she definitely could not flick me away on that pretense. Patting myself on the back for that clever idea, I started my lessons with her and found her to be just as wonderful as all the previous teachers. Just when I was convinced that my luck had changed for good, she simply vanished from the face of the earth one day. Poof, just like that. Hmm…..hellooooooo! …student waiting here!!!!!!!! Apparently, she got too busy and so got too tired and decided to drop a few students. Darn it! What rotten luck that I had to be one of them. Makes me want to question my faith in God sometimes.

Had I known, I would have gladly shipped her a few dozen cases of Glucose-D drink to help her regain her strength. Or I would have happily given up half of my class hour so she could take a nap. I would have accommodated her needs so why couldn't she? I know that whining is unattractive, okay? That is why I am trying to do it in little easy-to-digest spurts.

Okay, I was back at square#1 yet again (square#1 is starting to feel like home considering how many times I land here) with my thinking cap on. Alright, let's see here. I needed a teacher who would not find it so easy to run away from the task in the future? Of course! Why didn’t I think of this before? My good friend’s husband, that's who. He not only lives minutes from my home but also happens to be a phenomenal singer. Duh! Sometimes I can be a little slow, I admit.

Okay, teacher #5 proved to be the answer to all my prayers and finally, things were looking up for me so much so that I was thinking of breaking open a 'Panneer Soda' bottle to celebrate. 'Not so fast' said fate. My 'All zz well' bubble burst tragically when I heard of the sad news that teacher#5 has been diagnosed with a nodule in his voice and has now been advised by doctors to rest his voice completely as part of the cure. Oh no, not again! Poor guy! He totally doesn’t deserve it.

That’s it! I am done. I give up. I refuse to inflict such pain on mankind anymore.

Could there be any more doubts about this? The minute a music teacher signs me up, the seven year reign of ‘Shani Bagawan’ starts for him or her. All kinds of unspeakable horrors await them. They fall sick, lose their jobs, lose their homes or find themselves too tired to face life. How could I, in good conscience, do this to anyone else ever?

The day is not far when twitter is going to be buzzing with the tweet ‘Health Hazard Warning: Teach Meena at your own risk.’

Sigh, sigh, sigh…….

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