Salman Ansari Menschen · Natur · Leben · Literatur · Musik


About Indian music

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Here are six beds in this huge room. Five of them are empty.

Here are six beds in this huge room. Five of them are empty. Some bed sheets are hanging loosely down touching, the floor, telling you that they were probably abandoned in haste. It is early in the morning. Someone is there in the dining room. I hear the sound of a spoon scraping over china; I hear a metallic tune of something falling to the floor, probably a fork or a knife. I inhale the strong smell of porridge and boiled milk slightly diluted by the sweet odour of toasted bread diffusing now into the bedroom, spreading freely, driving out smells of sweat and indefinable body odours secreted during the night. I hear the door leading to the garden falling noisily into its frame; I hear hasty steps towards the garden fence, the clattering of a bicycle followed by the ringing of the bell, just two or three strokes muffled fading away quickly. Now I hear the gravel pushed backward by rolling wheels. I know that my sister is now well underway. She takes her bike to cycle to her school.

I see my younger brother asleep on one of the six beds. He has rolled his body, his knees are almost touching his belly and his arms are crossed over his forehead. My mother is still in her room. Soon she will find out that my brother has decided not to attend school. He must have been shaken by my other brothers and sisters again and again in a vain effort to wake him up. The Sun is already flooding the bedroom; the two chameleons absolutely motionless are glued to the wall high up near the ceiling. Now and then I hear buzzing of flies. They fly in and out again. I hear the cook talking to the cat. I am familiar with the very characteristic shades of his voice when he talks to the cat, probably sitting in front of the kitchen waiting for her morning meal. I hear the cook open the door and then again come out of the kitchen, and now his voice starts singing abstract words forming sounds of affection, they seem to hug and kiss the cat simultaneously. I hear the cat talking to him, and again and again I hear the sound of a spoon scarping the earthen bowl emptying leftovers from some lunch or dinner. I hear water splashing, once or twice the gardener coughs. I smell evaporated droplets bringing the smell of Eucalyptus to my nose. Far away I hear the high pitched cries of the buzzard followed by the chattering of the parrots and stentorian calls of the crows. I see my brother dressed in his grey shirt and khaki trouser. He prefers not to change for the night. My mother does not like it when we mention this. Now I hear the voice of the lady who has come to clean the house and to make the beds. I hear her ask the gardener if my mother is up. She enters the bedroom and soon realizes that one bed is still occupied. She knocks on my mother’s door. I hear my mother asking her to come in.  She complains that she cannot clean the bedroom. I hear my mother telling her to clean first the other rooms.

Here is my brother, here is his bed, and here are his shoes and here his socks. Is he really asleep? Why is his body not relaxed? Why is he not in the school?  No one would think of doing him any harm there. My brother is an excellent student. Maybe he is just tired or even breeding some disease. But then this is already the third day since he started missing his classes. My mother is ready now. She enters the bedroom with six beds, hastily looks at my brother still motionless in his bed and enters the dinning room. She asks the cook to bring the tea and then she calls my brother to come and join her. “Come my child, come!” My brother is up immediately. My brother is now drinking tea with my mother. My brother is still a child and children are not allowed to drink tea. I do not hear them talk. But I hear my mother planning the daily meals together with the cook.

Now my brother is back again in the bedroom. He is sitting upright in the middle of his bed, legs crossed. He has lifted his arm as if he were supporting something resting on his shoulder. He has started moving the fingers of his right hand gliding elegantly over an invisible object up and down and than again  fingers vibrating, trembling and pressing on something delicately whereas the fingers of the other hand keep on stroking something or is it rather like pulling some invisible strings?.

Every evening my brother visits his friend. Here is my brother, here is his friend, and here is the house of his friend. Here is the Sitar and here the professional musician teaching his friend to play the Sitar. My brother is watching her practice with uttermost concentration, he is memorising all what the teacher remarks. The comes to him quite obviously. My brother is wondering why girls are allowed to learn to play instruments, boys not. Maybe only girls are predestined to become refined and sophisticated by musical education? Or is it a part of their dowry?

A few days ago I had heard my father arguing with my younger brother. I see and hear them now. Here is my father, here is my brother. My father is looking at my brother with distinct concern in his eyes. My brother has just asked my father to buy him a Sitar. May father is arguing. Is he trying to convince my younger brother? I do not hear all what he says. My father is alarmed that my brother might choose music as his profession. My brother can not follow whatever my father is bringing forward. My brother now knows that my father will not buy him a Sitar.

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