The walk alone

Some walks..You have to take alone 
When the bundle of memories becomes light

When too much has passed, too much done and too much said..
When I look for words or thoughts or strength inside & within;

I only seem to find A big hollow which will suck me in if I keep look looking
When what I was doesn’t matter

I cant even hold on to this hazy shadow that I’ve become

To look & seem like that ‘Strong Tree Of Faith’ I thought I was;

is my only way to fight what is now coming my way

When I want to hold on to all that I feel

My treasure.. My Memories
When the bundle of memories becomes light

When too much has passed, too much done and too much said
But I will walk.. Walk with my head held high

Will keep walking wherever the road takes me

What I do know and know well 

Is that 

Some walks..

You have to take alone.


Nineteen, Going on Thirty Nine

When I was 19 I thought I could change the world. Today my reaction to that is a big smile. How naive was I!!!   Life did throw many a Challenge at me early on & a bit frequently too at that. But, then, thats Life, And I’m certain everybody faces & fights some battle or the other, so I was no exception.

But, amidst all this facing & fighting, I lost out on something which was a big part of who I was. I say was, cause it is the past. I’ve been singing since I was five and all through my teens I was a diligent student & I gave it my all. I think I thrived and blossomed against all odds was because I was singing & surrounded by music. I thought I would only go further & achieve lot more but, who would have thought that I would give it up completely!  Without much ado about what & why I’ll just say, somewhere I lost almost all that I had in terms of music. I tried to continue the journey with music but somewhere the nitty gritties of the world of professional music and the lack of regular guidance & the distance from my teachers put me off. Let me be completly honest, the last few years I’ve been struggling with my self a great deal. Its like I’ve almost lost my voice. I tried to sing and no voice came out. I would just strum the Tanpura and sit there blank hoping for a note to come out of my throat. I lost my confidence completely. I stopped singing.
I was unhappy cause I was not able to do what I so loved. It has been the love of my life for as long as I can remember. I was so down and out that I couldn’t even sing when friends asked me to sing when we got together but, still made feeble attempts. But, as I sang, I often heard the whispers behind my back of how I had wasted my talent and how I was no good anymore. That pushed me down lower than I was before. I was badly stuck in a vicious cycle of no confidence, self pity, low self esteem and what not. This was such a contrast to the brave nineteen year old I was! I was a fighter. I didn’t care about who said what or thought what I just did my own thing. I hated what I had become. I hated that I couldn’t sing. I had to do something, before it was too late.
Then, one day the thought of reviving an old project that had been shelved for some reason for more than a year came to me and I thought why not give it one more try. After all I had nothing to lose.
So a couple of months back I met two hardworking & talented young men who are now helping me give myself another chance. It has so far been so much fun recording the pilot tracks and I’m enjoying this new side to music which is such a contrast to my classical training. To be a recording artist is altogether another ball game & I’m loving this. yes, I’m still struggling with myself & my voice but I am so enjoying the feeling. I feel like a small kid who learns something new at school and comes home and narrates the story to all at home.

I’ve been told by many that my voice touches them somewhere & that I could put feeling in the notes & words I sang.  I have to admit, there’s  no contribution of mine there. That has been God’s gift & yes, I am guilty of not using that gift well. Also being the person that I am,  sensitive, vulnerable & emotionally attached brings that perhaps. Would I want to change that? No. Cause that’s who I am. I am happy being me. Yes, I could do with learning to manage my emotions so that they help me grow & not affect me so. And maybe manage what I need to & eventually express.

I can today say that my efforts to rise and overcome my fears are working. I have been my biggest challenge & probably always will be because thats how I am. Too sensitive about everything. I probably am doing what I should have done two decades ago, but its never too late to be positive & never too late to go after your dreams. Its different in terms of music to what I’ve always done but I’m  still with music  & I’m singing and I just love that.  I don’t know how I’ll fare and what happens now, but, to stay with my music in whichever way is going to be my endeavour.  I have the courage today, to face my fear & look it in the eye. No matter what happens

So as the cd rolls out soon, I hope to find the “Shraddha” I’ve so been missing. My parents gave me that name for a reason I guess.  I have the Faith & have held on to Hope & the belief that I can do it (still) and do it well.

So, here I go starting out all over again at 39… “Ishtiaq” songs of yearning.. its on its way guys!!!

my first tryst with utmost peace

It was a day in the month of February and the year was 1994 perhaps, it was my first visit to Pondicherry which is now one of my most favourite places. It was a time for many firsts, so, its etched very deeply in my mind. Those were the days when traveling for music was a way of life. Life was so much of an adventure. It was  also the time when I began losing my mother to wretched Alzheimer’s disease. The challenges of that time, will save it for another time.  So  I happened to visit Pondicherry the abode of ‘Mother’ & Shri Aurobindo, and in that first visit I knew I was going to visit this place again and again. I knew that there was something drawing me to it.

Amongst the rehearsals and concerts I visited the Ashram and got a chance to meditate in the room that Shri Aurobindo resided in. I felt a gust of positive vibrations reaching me for the first time in what seemed like eons. I was in a trance for rest of the day. I remember being told by the people accompanying me that I was unusually quiet after that.  I went about the mundane like cycling on the streets, part taking in the simple community lunch, walk on the beach, concert in the evening and back to the guest house. After a bit of light hearted banter with everyone, I proceeded towards the tiny bench in the small garden of the guest house. The little bench that it was, it  sat almost on the beach of the mighty Indian Ocean. Slowly, 9pm turned to 10pm..turned to 11…and it went on..

I don’t know what it was, but the  chaos within me seemed to get calmer. I kept staring at the ocean; listening to the waves and for the first time in a vey long time, I felt some quiet. no thoughts. no questions. no anger. only quiet. tears flowing  freely out of my eyes. I felt at peace. Strangely  even though it was a  very difficult time in my life, I somehow I felt calm, I felt strong.  It was like time had stood still; and I was in no hurry either. I spent the most beautiful night on that bench. A night that is so special that its memory still as fresh in my mind. I watched the sun rise. I watched night turn into day and ever since I think I have a special affiliation to dawn.

Peace I think is within us, we make the chaos of our minds suffoacte it and thus entice it to elude us. After More than two decades & many visits to Pondicherry, my bond with the beautiful town has only grown stronger.  Yes, I still long to go there Long to go there and sit on that bench. Listen to what the Ocean has to say and watch night turn into day. I will go there again soon and then gaze at the ocean all to my heart’s content.