Friday, January 04, 2008

Pleasant Piper

He walks down the lane below my house, playing his magical music. The notes make him a pied piper and I, a little child, follow him from one window to another, seeking with my eye the man who speaks to my ears. A stack of flutes dug into a barrel balanced on one shoulder, he tunes out the world with his breath and his fingers as they dance over the bamboo flute at his lips.

The street dogs stare sleepily at this apparition. Traffic, car-horns, fireworks, squabbles and birds they are used to. But this? It is a sound they have not heard before. Their sensitive ears are soothed after the fireworks of Diwali, Christmas and New Year, and they rest their heads on their paws.

The much-louder sounds of children playing are drowned by his steady, sweet notes. There is a wistful resignation in his playing. He knows no one will really buy his flutes. He knows the tunes are not his, even if it is his life-breath that he puts into them. He knows that his playing may fill his family’s ears but not their stomachs. Yet he plays. For he has nothing else he can do. And because he does not care what people think, his music hypnotises.

He wends his way far from where I can hear him. But in my head I complete the song. And in those few seconds, I have thought of nothing but the music. A moment of purity in a crazy day. It keeps me sane.


Aunty g said...

And, you going away again?

dipali said...

Immense frustration at being fascinated by the street flute seller
and sarangi sellers, buying their instruments and making some awful
caterwauling sounds, and feeling very cheated of the music they played(:

eve's lungs said...

We have a flute seller here who comes on weekends - it is so sad that none of the children want to buy his flutes. When we were kids the house used to be littered with them because we used to think we would be able to create those magic sounds .Futile efforts , of course !

Anamika said...

Aunty G: You have reliable sources - yes I am :) Though in the blogging world there is no "away" :)

Dipali: I know. I think that has not changed over generations. My mother and I both used to (as kids) want to buy those flutes and little ektaras but they never work quite the same way.

Eve's Lungs: I know exactly what you mean! I hope this man has some other source of income as well.

P. said...


Reminded me of a line by Malouf...
"Under all my skepticism, this grain of belief."


Anamika said...

P.: Wow. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Anamika said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aunty g said...

Straight from the horse's mouth -- your qc on OJ's page :-) And yes, aren't I glad about there no being 'away'!

Ed Vis said...

People like that Piper make this world a beautiful place to live.

They will never die....They will always live in the "memory lane".

Beautiful blog Anamika.