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. If there was one thing I could go back and change, I think continuing Veena classes would have been it.