HELLO MR WORM

Earworm… Sounds like a pretty disgusting word. At least to me. As I have confessed in one of my previous articles I have a phobia of all things that crawl – snake, worms etc. So the first time I read this word I didn’t like it. So why am I writing about it? The reason is that when I googled the meaning of this word I realised that I deal with this earworm almost every day.

Google says earworm means a catchy song or tune that runs continually through someone’s mind. Phrases used to describe an earworm include “musical imagery repetition“, “involuntary musical imagery“, and “stuck song syndrome“.

Well, I don’t agree with this one at all. I think there is an actual worm inside me which makes itself comfortable somewhere behind my ear and keeps singing tunelessly all the time. I am going to call him Mr Worm henceforth.

So Mr. Worm loves singing. He doesn’t have much taste in music though, he can sing almost anything. Like there are days when Mr worm develops a liking for some advertisement jingle that I heard on TV. So here I am sitting in my yoga pose trying to concentrate and Mr. Worm goes “Washing Powder Nirma… Nirma… doodh si safedi Nirma se aaye.. ….” over and over again. It’s hard to shut him up or ignore him when he is really in the mood. So there goes my meditation time trying to fight Mr. Worm.

And to top it all my mouth at times decides to sing along with Mr. Worm. So my maid looks at me weirdly when suddenly I start singing one line of a song over and over again. Because I know just one line of the song and my mouth and Mr worm are singing in chorus.

The other day, my whole family is sitting together in one room kids are doing their homework, my hubby is busy with his first love (his laptop, that’s another story we will discuss some other day). And I am checking out the latest happenings in the world through WhatsApp. Suddenly Mr Worm develops a liking for a raunchy vulgar song which I had heard in the market that day. So off goes Mr Worm “Beedi jalayle Nazar se piya jigar ma badi aag hai..” Before I realise my mouth has joined the chorus. Three pairs of eyes look at me at once. My kids are laughing and wondering how does Mumma know this song. And my hubby’s stern eyes trying to ask me why am I singing such songs in the presence of kids. I somehow stop my mouth by Mr worm keeps going on and on, which thankfully only I can hear.

I have recently started teaching in Pre-Primary classes (another skill I am trying to pick up). Mr Worm I am sure is very delighted. So many new jingles have been added to his playlist.

Imagine this scenario I am cooking and Mr Worm is merrily singing “Row row row a boat gently down the stream… Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream..” Its nice an peppy for first few times but then it starts to be a pain.

Then there is another one of his favourites “Wheels on the bus go round and round .. round and round..” So its Sunday morning I am cleaning and the wheels are going round and round. Then I am watering the plants and he is still going on “Horn on the bus goes beep beep beep..” Again I am in the kitchen making breakfast and “People on the bus go up and down up and down“. Its afternoon and he is not tired yet “Babies on the bus go waah waah waah..” I keep telling Mr. Worm to shut up. Haven’t I heard it enough already in the school why are you torturing me again. But he only says “Driver on the bus says Move on back, Move on back, Move on the back..” Eventually, it ends up with me having a slight headache.

But don’t worry I am smart I have found a way to tame the dragon, in this case, Mr. Worm. I have realised that he takes over when I am not really into the work I am doing especially when I am working without applying much thought to it like an Autopilot Mode in an aeroplane. So first thing is don’t let your mind be idle for long. And even when Mr worm starts singing make a conscious effort to change your thoughts to something else which is interesting or start a work where you really have to concentrate. And Mr Worm won’t get a chance to hog the stage.

Bye bye, Mr Worm you are fun at times but I won’t let you take complete control from now on. Friends this works for negative thoughts also. Once we realise that our thoughts are spiralling down into the negative abyss take control and consciously change the channel. Take up some work that you enjoy and one which takes complete control of your brain like reading a novel or making a complicated dish in the kitchen etc.

Hope it helps. Do share your experiences with Mr. Worm.

INSPIRED BY MUSIC

During my school days, I always hated Maths and was always trapped in the web of Alphas and the Betas. To release my stress, I tried listening to music while doing my sums and it worked. I used to get inspired to practice more. I was glued to the stereo, or the walkman.

Years later, the FM radio replaced the walkmans and cellphones emerged. It was  a boon for music lovers, who could enjoy songs anywhere and anytime.

I love listening to music, whether going on a drive or for a walk. If I am feeling blue, I prefer listening to music. And on days when I am happy, I love to dance on tapping numbers.

Music has been a bonding element for me and my sons. I sing them lullabies and dance with them. Kids also learn better if there is singing and music in the learning process (being a pre-primary teacher, I know how much the children go gaga over the music).

I guess there’s hardly any individual who doesn’t like music. It is like a therapy, at least for me. When I miss my hubby, I listen to music. Sometimes I shed tears when I listen to touchy songs and feel better after that.

Music is not restricted to electronic gadgets, it is found everywhere. The nature has music in abundance. Think of the splendor of green mountains and birds chirping there. Recall a stream of water or a waterfall for instance, the thought itself feels so refreshing. It’s an instant mood lifter and inspiring too.

Whenever I feel that nothing is going right and my life is hell, I just put earphones in my ears and feel the music telling me to just move on.

The quote “music helps me when no one else does” stand true for me!

HOW MOZART AND JAPANESE ROCK INSPIRE ME

One of my oldest memories is that of putting a giant set of headphones on, as a child, and listening to music. Being born into a musically inclined family meant that from the cradle up, we were exposed to music, and thankfully music from all genres. If my Father was fond of Ghazals and Indian Classical, my Mother was into Lata, Asha, Kishore, while members of my joint family exposed me to everything right from Western classical giants like Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven to more contemporary masters like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Carpenters and even Metallica. Growing up, I added my own variety to the kind of music I listened to, ranging from contemporary rock artists like Alterbridge and Britney Spears (yes, I’ve had bad taste in music too) to New Age Musicians like Yanni and Secret Garden. And even today, I can’t say if I have one single favorite band or song. I’ve hundreds of favorites, each apt for the right mood and the right time.

I’ve always maintained that there have been two things that have inspired me most in life – Books and Music. And both have worked in tandem to inspire me at different times in my life. So if the happy union at the end of Far From The Madding Crowd made such an impression on me, it’s because Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ was playing in the background; and if Sirius’ death in the Harry Potter series drove me into depression, it’s because the soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream was echoing in my earphones.

When I started writing on my blog, which isn’t very long ago, I found that if I played music from the same genre as the writing, it put me instantly in the right mood to write in the specific genre. For example, parts of Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for Man of Steel and Naoki Sato’s soundtrack ‘Hiten’ from the Live Action Movie Rurouni Kenshin, are my go to’s if I’m in the mood to write a scene depicting thrill, horror, a chase, a battle/war or a revelation, mostly in fantasy based writings. But If I want to write a romantic scene, I’ll hit ‘play’ on songs from the band Secret Garden, or my current favorite for this genre – Good Goodbye by One Ok Rock, a Japanese Rock Band that I’ve been addicted to for sometime now. Some songs have been the seed for an idea to base my writing on. Like this poem I’ve published on my blog – Give Up The Ghost, which was inspired by a song of the same name sung by Rosi Golan.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds inspiration in music. How many of you get inspired to be patriotic when you hear ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ or A.R. Rahman’s version of ‘Vande Mataram’? How many of you get pumped up at your gym sessions when you hear ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas blaring through the speakers? And how many of you cozy up to your bae when you hear a song like ‘Hello’ by Lionel Richie? Is it just coincidence that THE ONE song we play at every Indian Baraat (wedding procession) is ‘Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai’? No, it’s not just because it’s become a part of Indian-barati-music-tradition, it’s because that song sets you in the mood to have fun!

Music evokes emotion, just like any other art form does. And I believe great music always inspires. There is a reason why Pandit Jasraj’s vocal prowess awes us, and why John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ has moved people to tears. It’s because great music is perfection. It is an outcome of precision, patience, pain and passion; a thing of beauty that appeals to our senses and evokes not just a sensory response, but an intellectual one too.

It’s no wonder that music is one of the oldest surviving art forms in human history. As long as there’s been man, there has been music. It may have started with something as primitive as stones being clinked together, but it has now evolved into a leviathan that has a variety of musical instruments and techniques and studies dedicated only to it. It may have come into existence to kill time or to tell stories of heroes, or for something as small as soothing a baby, but it’s amazing how it’s one of those art forms that has evolved in every culture in the world? Name one human emotion that does not have a befitting song. Name one human being who does not like music of some kind. Such is the power of music!

Pradita Kapahi

DON’T HIDE THEM!

Something which is hidden ought to be discovered and put to some use, because you never know the hidden jewel might be the brightest of all!

We all have talents inside us and some of us have a package of talents in them. Discovering them and putting them into some good use is the ultimate goal.

When I was about 11 or 12, i.e. during my ‘tween’ years I started watching people closely just as all other kids do during this age. My closed circle included only my family because my friends shared the same position. So I used to watch my family members closely. My older brother was at his teens and he already had developed his interests on various things. Singing was one of them. He would play loud music and sing along and he would write down the lyrics. He was pretty good at that. Watching him do this I started singing too and within no time I fell in love with music. I would listen to the beats and try to sing along and wished that my voice would someday be like one of those singers whom I used to listen. The passion developed and with time I started singing at the church on Sundays. Later when I went to college, I joined the college choir and had one of the most amazing experiences visiting other colleges and churches and singing in front of them. I count those moments very precious in life.

But the sailing was not always smooth. There were times I did not justify songs (as I am not a trained singer)and was depreciated. I felt I am not a professional and I should quit singing in front of the crowd but some things give us so much  pleasure that quitting  them makes our lives void. So no matter how bad a singer I am or how good I am I choose to follow it and I still sing at the church and am appreciated by my family and friends. Over the years I have learnt more about music and singing and I thank God I didn’t give up just because at times I sounded off beat.

So here’s the message for you guys out there, “You might be good at something but you might not be sure about it. Don’t hide it! Let go and see where it takes you. Of course the initial stages where your talent is just developing, it will be difficult but with time it will all fit in and not just fit in, but bloom if you give it a chance. May it be cooking, sewing, singing, dancing, writing or anything else, don’t hide them within you!”

“Your talent is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God.”