<%-- Page Title--%> Perceptions <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 137 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 9, 2004

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Musical Minded

Nabila Idris

Songs have captured hearts and mesmerised audiences from the beginning of time. The earth-quaking roars of the dinosaurs would probably not seem melodious to us, but taste varies. Then again, since we never met these dinosaurs except in the realms of Jurassic Park, for all we know they might have had shurela voices. Unfortunately with their extinction this earth was left barren of musical maestros until the advent of Homo Sapiens. Adam serenaded Eve. But Eve (a coy damsel) didn't give up easily, until she inadvertently uttered, "I'd have married you only if you were the last man on Earth!" Adam grasped the opportunity to point out that he was exactly that, and the troth was plighted.

Then of course singing became a necessity-- with crooning the new-born to sleep, and the gusty 'heiyaaaa ho' while pushing boulders away from the mouths of streams--thus introducing running water close to the house. It continued in the same vein for years on end, with civilization upon civilisation--revealing prowess in the field of singing. Musical talent flourished from the Sumerians to the Aztecs. Drums, flutes, harps, sitars, guitars, spoons, glasses, bones of vanquished enemies all were experimented upon. C major, A minor, G sharp became everyday language. Music was in full swing.

Those who were not gifted with a melodious voice, were of course left out in the rain (not literally, one hopes). While others in the Bedouin tribe sang and clapped along with the persuasive music of the Dancing Maiden of the Desert, this group only clapped. While others in school assembly heartily sang the national anthem at the top of their lungs, this group resorted to lip-synching. From personal experiences (yours truly being an honoured member of this party) I can tell you that it's not because we don't respect our national anthem. No, it's because singing it with our here-gola would be an insult to the anthem itself.

And thus life continued until one fateful day when the water we left running close to the house actually invaded the house, assisted by indoor plumbing. After getting over the initial delight of having pure (and not-so-pure in Bangladesh) water gush forth with the turning of a tap, mankind had a revelation. At least, the members of the aforementioned party had a revelation. Now they could howl to their hearts content without fear of reprisal.

Let me clarify. You see previously, when possessed by the Music Naiad, these poor souls had to flee to the countryside where there was an abundance of wide open spaces. Here the unmelodious would sing (the term is used in its broadest sense) at the top of their lungs. A weight would lift from their souls. They had contributed to the musical world. Sometimes in the absence of wide open spaces fields harvesting crops would be used. That accounts for the crop circles. There, nature retaliated.

You may wonder why they didn't risk it and sing in public. At least, if not in public why not in their beds, under the blankets? Well, whenever they dared to sing in public they were immediately hired for mike advertising. You know, those people who go about blaring, "Bhaish-o-o-b! Bhaish-o-o-b! Agamikal dupur dui ghotika-e…" You get the point. How many people would want that fate? As for the latter suggestion, well they got tired of their houses being branded as being haunted from where moans, groans, shrieks emitted at regular intervals and gave up. So countryside it had to be.

As is evident, this posed certain problems. Not only did nature retaliate, in some unfortunate cases frogs (of varied sizes and shapes) came hopping the moment the unmelodious singer let forth a line of My Heart Will Go On. They thought their long awaited kinsman had arrived. How long can you stand that? Combine that with hideous transport costs, and you see the howlers' dilemma.

That is why the running water came so handy. Now bathrooms could act as the singers' refuge. While wallowing in warm water, with bubbles drifting up from all sides, they could at last… SING! With the mirrors steamed and thus the images hazy, their dancing rendition of Michael Jackson hits (using the tooth brush as the microphone of course) did not seem as gruesome as it actually was. An enviable performance comprising such diverse hits as "O sokhina gasos kina bhuila amare-e", "Ore Saleka! Ore Maleka!", "In the End", "Pore na chokher polok", "My sacrifice", "Hotel California" etc. was within reach of all who wished to perform it. In the process, the poor toothbrush might become unfit for further usage, but for the sake of art everything can be excused. A new race of humans had arisen the bathroom singers.

But, it would be a mistake to think that only previously unsuccessful singers gained by the bathrooms’ arrival. No! Composers and lyricists also had their share of the profit. Songs like "Ami tooth, tumi toothbrush", "Shaban pura shorir-e, pani nai kol-e", "Singing shower", "Melodious water", "45 minutes is nothing compared to the time you take" were all composed while taking a shower, while brushing or while sleeping in the bathroom. Bathrooms were the newest inspiration. The showers, the best sensation.

Few amongst us do not indulge in bathroom singing. It has become an accepted norm, and plans to remain so. In a short while, we will see thriving bathroom singers' societies, websites and junk mails. Lata Mangeshkar or George Harrison we might not become, but in our minds' eyes it's just a case of unrecognised genius. And even Gregor Mendel faced that, right?




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