This one took a while to come. Apologies for the delay. But I promise to be more prompt than I have been.
Today I talk about dadi and my piano lessons. Writing about this was unplanned but it seems like the best thing to relive at the moment.
My tryst with the piano began way back in second grade. My mother had seen a small newspaper listing for classes nearby and thought it was something interesting for my sister and I to learn. Our class was in a crammed home where the piano took up all the space in the room. But as kids we didn’t seem to bother. We were captivated by the instrument and the beautiful music one could make from it. And so, my sister and I took an instant liking to it and learnt fast. What began as a short summer camp eventually blossomed into a full-fledged class that saw both of us appear for Grade examinations by the Trinity College, London for nearly 6 consecutive years.
But the reason I bring up the classes is because of one significant and might I add, constant feature in all of them. Since we were still young, we weren’t allowed to go to class alone. Dadi or her sister would take us. They’d patiently sit and listen to both of us play and bring us back. They took turns in accompanying us to class which was sometimes followed by a small snack or ice cream in our favourite eatery at the time. If dadi or her sister (aunty, as we call her), couldn’t come, it usually meant no going to class.
Soon, our teacher shifted to another area which was still close to home. We continued our lessons diligently. Dadi or aunty still came with us. But after a few years, we changed teachers and had one who came home and taught us. Dadi was happy to see how far we’d come from being complete novices to reading notes and confidently playing chords.
But it wasn’t long before college and work schedules ate into our lives and we gave up on Grade examinations. We learnt piano without the hassle of an examination and got exposed to a different set of music. However, that didn’t last for more than a couple of years since my teacher grew old and found it difficult to visit us.
After a brief hiatus, I decided not to give up piano and joined a neighbourhood class. This time, not with my sister. Dadi was thrilled that I was keen on continuing. I enjoyed it and managed to go regularly. It was only after the demise of my nani that I gave up classes completely and lost the zest to learn under someone.
But dadi was very clear she didn’t want me to give up on music. It was a skill that has to be remembered, practiced and honed for it is one of those things that can create a strong positive magnetism, she’d say. So once again I’d dust the top of my piano and start playing. When dadi couldn’t climb up the stairs to listen to me play, she would sit in the hall downstairs, close to the stairs, from where you could hear the music. She enjoyed it and loved listening to me play. She enquired about the kind of music we learnt and who composed them. There was always a sparkle in her eyes to see her granddaughters take to this art form.
So, even today, no matter how sporadic my playing is and how lax I get, I drive myself to play. I remind myself about how important it is to go back to it. Her advice stuck to me and I hope to play more frequently, making her smile, wherever she is.
Sometimes, childhood memories are the fondest ones you’ll ever make. If there is even a slight tint to them with something unpleasant, then you’ll end up losing a nice chunk of happiness that could have otherwise got you through the toughest circumstances of life. So, treasure them the most and keep them as reminders of joy and happiness.