It is that time of the year again. I have pushed open the huge glass window of our living room and I sit down to enjoy my morning cuppa with the newspaper. The first rays of the Sun streams through the Neem leaves and the cool breeze is awakening my senses.
I draw long deep breaths and I smile at the perfect day that is unfolding. My eyes glide along the printed matter in front of me when my ears prick. The sound of the passing vehicles is interrupted by another sound. It is light, soothing, calming and musical. I lift my head up to focus on this sound. It is different from the music I know.
“Our neighbour is enjoying some music”, my husband says without raising his head from the centre spread he is reading.
I have never visited our neighbours. They are friendly over the garden hedge and smile as they pull the car out of the garage.
As my mind wanders into their house, I imagine their walls dressed with kids’ drawings and the kitchen smelling of fresh food. I picture a long wooden shelf over curvy brackets near the counter where the music plays from a little radio that is a neat square with netted speakers.
It was during my middle school that I began to enjoy music. Those days, the music always played out from the radio. The popular stations played songs from the films. I would sit with my glass of milk and sway to tunes of the singers. Time stretched itself without a care and I had no deadlines to meet. It was during those mornings that I noticed that music from different parts of the country sounded different.
My reverie is broken by a sudden horn of a vehicle. I wait to hear some more of the vehicle but my ears tell me that the continued humdrum of the vehicles mean nothing is amiss.
It is a familiar song
I get back to my cuppa and my eyes decide to linger on to the words even as the music and the sharp incessant chirp of the birds play along. I don’t want to read. My head bobs to some of the rhythmic beats of the drum when the music from the neighbour’s kitchen has changed. It is a familiar song. The rhythm is foot tapping and I nod fervently. “I know this, I know this”, I scratch my head when the voice tingles my memory.
“What about us”, I whisper even before the words are smudged with the whirring of the passing vehicles. I walk up to the window and crane my neck to hear it better. I smile at the familiarity of the words and the flow of tempo. I tap my fingers and wait till the end. I don’t want to turn around and get to my day of chores. I want some more.
“It is simpler to get to the playlist on my phone or even switch on the radio”, a voice within me chuckles. But my feet stay put. A male voice croons, breaking the silence. The song is unfamiliar but it is seasoned with the strumming of an instrument that I cannot name. I try to nod on and lose myself to the beats but it is not working on me. I walk away and get to my chores when the kids scream and the music is all lost.
They are fighting over something I can tell. The adults are saying something to them but very soon, the music is switched off and all I can hear is the low rumble of the passing vehicles.
It is a sign for me to get to my day. I smile. Not all my mornings are like this but some days, when the neighbours play music, I am reminded that we all need very little to smile or feel happy. I don’t know what I do to make someone smile. I do know one thing — I don’t play my music loud.
Sudha Subramanian is an author and writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman