Comfort in anonymity

Saturday evening saw K and I at our local temple. Having reached earlier than my bro and family, we took our time admiring the different idols there and took in the ambience. Looking over casually at the new hall that was built as part of the temple we realized there was a free bhajan/devotional music concert starting in a couple of minutes. Curiosity piqued, we made our way in and picked the last couple of seats knowing we would walk out midway.

The bhajan session was by Kailash Anuj and Piyusha Anuj supported by their son on the tabla and two other local musicians. As we watched them take the Dias after the intro, my mind was skeptical. By the time they were into the second song “Hari Bhol” I was a convert. As my foot tapped and head swayed to the music, I noticed I was mouthing the words and merging into the one voice that was raising from the hall. Even as we left after sighting my bro and family, my mind was decades back in a house across the street.

Growing up I spent a good many evenings sitting in a hall across from my home in a neighbors home singing at the top of my voice till I was hoarse. The clashing of the cymbals and the powerful lead singer who’s voice rose steadily and clearly above the crowd resonated with devotion and oneness with the divine. For a couple of hours at a stretch I would forget myself, forget my inability to hold a tune, forget that in normal times I would not venture to even hum along a tune I knew well and immerse myself in a chorus that traversed time and faith. The group would reach a crescendo and the silence that followed would feel strange and comforting.

It was the anonymity in a crowd which came together in a love for music and faith in the one person the songs were an ode to. I joined not because I was a believer but because the music drew me there. I found something that moved me and touched me at an intangible level. Somewhere between then and now, I had forgotten all about that experience and the bhajans night at the temple brought it all back.

3 comments

  1. I guess as Bathroom singers this is the second best bet to be vocal 🙂

    I always used to wonder why I can recite Vishnu Sahasranamam or other hymns in temple with others, but if I have to do it on my own without a book, i miss few lines. Guess along with the Anonymity, it is also the ‘prompt’ we get from others.

  2. @Suman: It is representative of my current life.
    @Manchus: Apt example. I also think that the mob mentality helps. 🙂

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