Of lingering regrets

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Friday night we had a graduation party to attend to. Armed with The Code Book by Simon Singh, we showed up a few minutes into the party. As we sat around in their spacious living room and exchanged pleasantries with the other guests, I noticed that almost all of them who were there had kids. All about to or already done high school and onto higher things. Looking at the group of girls and boys on the deck chatting and laughing reminded me of my own after school prior to college days.

Board exams done, entrance exams around the corner, the mood was light. I knew I should prepare for the entrance exams but was so relieved with school being over, that it did not seem pressing at that time. Exam results were not out yet so the gravity of entrance exam marks was yet to be felt. With summer sun at its peak, I lazed at home with plenty of books from the local library. Made plans with friends to catch up and plan our ‘future’. It was probably one of the most idyllic spells ever in my life. Looking back, there were so many productive things I could have done but I did not. I regret those not.

However, another event that happened at the graduation party brought back regrets of a different kind. The brother of the guy who was graduating was a Veena artiste and he played a few select pieces for us. As the few of us gathered around him listened and requested favorite songs, I closed my eyes and went back to a different era. About two decades back. Thanks to Amma, I was enrolled in singing lessons, dance class, Veena class, typing and any other class offered around my home then. With the singing and veena classes I managed to make it past the geetham and even varnam. Possibly started on Keerthanas. Memory fails me now.

With tenth standard board exams as an excuse I gave the Veena class up. Singing and Dancing were really not in my list of skills so those were easy to give up earlier. The Veena though rankled in my mind on and off. Listening to the young man play the Veena with ease made me feel a deep sense of regret. I kept wondering. If only I had kept up with it. I knew I was not great, but I think I did enjoy those classes when my teacher sat across me and patiently taught me little tips and tricks. I remember her telling my mom that I needed a Veena of my own so I could practice at home and that lessons were not enough. She even introduced us to another family that was moving and wanted their Veena to go into good hands. She taught me to adjust the strings, to listen and tauten the little knobs so my Veena would sound perfect. The memories came back in a rush. I felt a touch of nostalgia and wondered what my Veena teacher was doing.Ā  If there was one thing I could go back and change, I think continuing Veena classes would have been it.

13 comments

  1. Laksh!

    All is not lost yet. You can still enroll in classes and still learn. You have a very good friend in Calif to learn from that age is no bar when it comes to learning new things šŸ™‚

    Look out for some good teacher there and join up. Am sure you will have fun.

    Laks

  2. You can still do it! I joined Bharathnatyam classes after taking a reasonably long break. My dance mates like me are folks who learnt the art form as kids and discontinued due to circumstances (one of them turned 40 last year). But they joined after decades of not being in touch with it, but it all came back in a few weeks.

    You don’t have to go back and change. You can go forward and relive it. Nurture your desire Laksh.

  3. Ayyo.. I have the exact same regret about my singing. Used to crib all the way to class and gladly gave up in class 9. Realized several years down the line, that I had something others didnt – a fairly good voice, a good sense of music and rhythm and training for several years. But soon enough, I had my baby, hormones turned upside down, lost practice over several years, and I can no longer sing as well as I used to. šŸ˜¦ One of things I wish I’d done a little differently.

  4. I second Suman, having been through exactly similar circumstance. I had to discontinue Bharathnatyam not out of disinterest but due to competing priorities and as is the case, so often, academics took a much higher preference than any art form šŸ™‚

  5. The same with me too Laksh. I think you would remember me telling about my singing. I did join singing classes out of my own interest. Then all of a sudden the teacher stopped coming home without telling us the reason and from then on we found it very difficult to find a good teacher. By the time we found out one I had lost interest in practising not singing though! But practice is the key, right? My mother and grandmother used to literally beg me to sing regularly but somehow I did not feel like singing then. After all these years now I regret for not having pursued it, when I’m not able to sing as good as earlier.

  6. Laksh-

    Am with A-kay on this, we both learnt bharathnatyam from the same guru (something that we found out during our meeting)..I also learnt veena, had a veena teacher come home in the afternoons, all gone down the drain now.

    I’ve tagged you…feel free to not do the tag if you don’t feel like it.

  7. tell me about it..when i would see someone dance gracefully…i remember the opportunity that came my way..but i threw it away!…i agree with spillay..go for it..u will be glad that you did..

  8. I too have regrets for not doing much dancing the past five years.I am thinking of joining a bharathanatyam dance class soon.Not a day goes by without me feeling the regret.

  9. I regret not having taken up veena…actually I did but discontinued as my mother thought the teacher I went to was incompetent šŸ™‚ Later, never found the right one, nor the right time. All this with an old, beautiful veena still at home. I am still contemplating going back to dance class…as you know been going off and on, the last group performance I gave 5 years back šŸ™‚

  10. You made me feel nostalgic too, having been enrolled in Bharathnatyam class, Paattu class at an age of 10, I continued my fine arts classes until I was in 9th Std. I heaved a sigh of relief when my amma and daddy told me to concentrate only on studies when the math tuition hours and fine arts classes clashed. I now regret for not taking my ammas advice to practise it later. But the comments from A-Kay and Suman are definitely a boost. Hope you can even now try Laksh, give it a shot.

  11. @Laks: Agree with you. Just that there seems to be no Veena teacher around here. Have spread the word. Lets see if someone gets back saying they know of someone who teaches here. The person who played the Veena the other day learned over phone from a teacher long distance. I don’t think that will work for beginners.
    @Suman: I hope so too. To go forward and relive. Guess if I cannot find a Veena teacher, I could pick up another instrument that has easy access to teachers šŸ™‚
    @Rekha: Am sure with practice you will be your old melodious self again. Go find a teacher soon šŸ™‚
    @Akay: LOL! Wonder what is it with board exams and extra curricular activities taking a back seat.
    @Madhuram: You do sing beautifully! You should check out a few people in our neighborhood who teach. Will link you up with folks I know.
    @Mitr: Didn’t know you and Akay shared your dance teacher. Must have been fun catching up. Will check out the tag. Just that am not sure what secrets I have not yet given away through my posts. šŸ™‚
    @Spillay: True. Only limitation is finding someone to teach.
    @Rajitha: Thanks for stopping by. Are you finding a dance teacher now? šŸ™‚
    @Anila: You should. There is one near Himalyan produce šŸ™‚
    @Apar: I know you dance beautifully. Your face is very expressive. You should start dancing again. You have a Veena at home? Nice!!
    @Deepa: Maybe you can pursue your interests now that there are no exams to be bothered with šŸ™‚

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