“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso
Bear with me here, folks. I want you all to do something, for yourselves. Put everyone to bed, find a decent pair of headphones, get to a dark and comfortable corner and listen to this. (The quality could be better of course.) If you have an iota of a muscial ear or even a flyspeck of an appreciation of the arts; you will feel it. The passion, the fervidness of years of toil, the infinitely knotty art of being present in the moment; the general awesomeness of it all.
A simply written but profoundly affecting sentence in a book. A physical feat achieved not only because of inherent talent, but by unfathomable hard- work. A master playing his beloved instrument or a dancer in her bubble where only she and her movement exist. A movie, where I lose sense of time and place, where the actors can only be who they play, where the picture is so magical that even real life cannot compare, emotions relayed by people who aren’t really feeling it. I am the sort to get goosebumps while I witness these. I am often inspired, belittled and humbled by artistic feats. I respect the discipline, commend the single- mindedness and envy the talent. There is something about doing a thing over and over and over and over again, only to do it perfectly that once.
I was raised in a middle- class home, where not much emphasis was placed on artistic or alternative pursuits. I was expected to get good marks at school and be docile and obedient at home. My one regret in life thus far, is not mastering an instrument. As a child, I scrimped and saved money to buy non- school books. I wished to learn dance professionally. I loved watching my artistically- blessed friend painting her Sundays away.
Maybe that is the reason why I have become a hoarder and ravenous devourer of books. I watch people play different instruments on YouTube, mesmerised. Send my daugther to art- class, wish she would pick up learning the piano or violin, cello, harp, flute; anything! Then I have to check myself. My unfulfilled dreams are my burden to bear, not my daughter’s cross.
I wish upon my children the pain and elation of creation. But art is never enforced, it a child of rigour and talent. Passion and discipline. Love and hardyness.
Therefore, all I can do is expose them. Give them chances I never had, Hope to instill the love for all things wonderful. Wish to make them multifarious. Appreciate all the wonder and beauty that humanity has to offer.
Z, Boss Boy and I are dancing to Hans Zimmer and 2Cellos as I type.
I am happy for the life I have lived thus far. I’ve not had less, nor more. Just enough, of everything; laughter, joy, pain, love, gauntlets, triumphs. Do I regret my choices? If I’m being honest, no. Could I have done things differently? I do not think so. Is my current actuality less than satisfactory? Considering the default human condition, it is absolutely stellar. Do I wish for better? Unfortunately, my humaness warrants that I do.
Till next time,
P.S. This is a car song without a doubt (wait…for the beat to kick in). In hope of my next rainy, road trip, once all this is over, I bid good night. Stay safe folks!
Thought I’d continue to talk about my “running compadre” this week…
By now we have firmly established my addiction to music. Especially while running. Now let us review the associated gadgetry.
It all started about eleven years ago (Oh please! I am not THAT old….I was still a teenager then!)….
I wanted to go “jogging” in the mornings. I had run middle distance (400m and 800m) for my school…. So I knew I could run….
But running seemed boring…and downright “uncool” if you did not have something stuck to your ear.
So I started my running journey while being strapped on to something like these….
They were sometimes more trouble than they were worth…
But at least they kept boredom at bay. They also made you deaf to the daft and pestiferous comments and taunts from the pre-pubescent Bangalore boys who haunted the parks ….
Then the mp3 explosion happened. I was overjoyed. I hated lugging that huge thing on my waistband. I begged and cajoled my Dad into getting me my first mp3 player.
My first mp3 running buddy was a Creative MuVo (I think that was what it was called) 256Mb. It was love at first sight. I slung it round my neck and ran hard. I kid you not,- my runs definitely got longer, thanks to the MuVo.
Petite and nifty, just like me- it was a breeze to transfer songs onto it. And at that time 256Mb seemed like an infinite amount of memory.
I used it along with some random, generic pair of headphones for a long time. Years in fact. In the sun and rain, the MuVo stuck with me. At the fag end of it’s life, I upgraded to some decent (for then!) headphones. A Creative one. Nothing fancy, but way better than any I had used thus far.
The love affair lasted a long time. Until one day when…
The MuVo died a sudden death!
I finished my run one day, wiped off the sweat like usual and put it to charge. The next morning, he did not play. Not a sound. Nothing on the display either. I cried. And cancelled my run to honour his memory.
May his soul rest in peace.
By then, my Dad had already bought an iPod Nano. He is a music lover as well you see. He wanted something small and handy. But when he saw how distraught I was over the death of my trusted MuVo, he bequeathed the Nano to me. One morning, I woke up and found them on my bed.
I cried again! This time with tears of joy.
The Nano was great, and served me well for several years. The only problem was that it’s snap-on soft-case kept tearing. My sweat was corrosive to it apparently. I ended up buying a new one almost every month.
Finally, about 3 years ago I bought the 4th generation iPod shuffle. It was a random, impulse purchase. And one of the best such purchases. It’s self-clipping and miniscule. It’s perfect.
Some may argue that not having a display is an issue. For me, it makes no difference. No display means it’s smaller. The smaller, the better.
I don’t really need a display anyway. I don’t want to be fiddling with my iPod while I run. The whole purpose of using one (to make the run less boring) is defeated if one ends up searching for songs instead on concentrating on the run itself.
The sound quality is not out of this world, or anything spectacular. I don’t need it to be. Enjoying the intricacies of a particular piece of music- I can do it at a different time and under better circumstances. Not when I am huffing and puffing and when the blood seems to be pounding in my head. In fact, the iPod nano (I own the 2nd generation) has far superior sound quality.
The Nano still functions marvellously and I do use it occasionally (when my jacket or tracks have pockets!). I have quit buying the cases.though….
But for the most part, it is the shuffle that I reach for.
That is how I settled into my current music source – The humble 4th Generation iPod Shuffle …
Now, coming to the headphone journey.
Well, I don’t really have a story here. I used a very basic set for the longest time. Only last year did that change.
Last year, Mr H did something rare and utterly surprising. He’s not the romantic, let’s buy roses and flowers and gifts for my dear wife types.
Yet, one day….
He nonchalantly, almost sheepishly gave me a package.It wasn’t my birthday, or our anniversary or any another “occasion”….
I had often seen him examining my battered, old creative headset though…
This is the box he handed to me.Just like that. For no rhyme or reason. With absolutely no associated hoopla….
Needless to say, my runs have never been the same since…
They are insanely priced and I’m sure the sound quality does not merit the price….
I don’t have to keep tugging at my ear. Or constantly put back hesistant-to-stay-on earbuds, or constantly adjust bulky headsets…
Or worry about my sweat eating through the wires!
I fit them before I put on my shoes….and they stay on ….Till the sweat has dried…Till I reach home…Till I remove them…
They are water- proof. Sweat- proof. And they better be, or they won’t last long on me!
They make my shuffle sound great…
And most importantly, they have taught me what good quality headphones/ ear-buds can do to your running….