Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 49, Tuesday December 30, 2008



THIS year, like all others, have come to an end. Like a good cigar between my lips I try to hold on to the last few puffs, I close my eyes and feel the smoke inside my mouth, the taste will remain at least one night, my voice will crack from the harsh tobacco and I look forward to it. This year, like a good cigar, should never be forgotten.

I can't sing. I use to try. My mother wanted me to learn. I was seven. A man in a white panjabi and pajama would come to teach me how to utter my sa re gas. He taught me 10 songs all total in 6 months, I sang them all with the same enthusiasm, flat, dry, bored. After him there was another, a younger man, who taught me 10 more songs, all Tagore, and he too gave up on me knowing I didn't want to learn and even if I did I wouldn't be his prize student.

These days I wish I could sing. It comes so effortlessly to people I know around me. They just open their mouths and it flows. And I wish I could, like them, make music. At least sing this one song. But I can't even try, it's a love song you see and you can't do injustice to a love song. And that too when it's a love song for him. And he, like a good cigar, like a good year, should never be forgotten.

I don't know many good love songs, and I have a feeling the one I want to sing for him is also quite mediocre. The music only speaks of the missed beats of my heart, the words only talk about the moments, the gaps between each of his touch. It talks about the smudged kajol in my eyes, my dry lips, my sinking heart, love creeps up all over the song like an ignored lover trying to claim back all that he has been denied. My love song talks about the weight of love and how it has sank me to bottom of the ocean, oxygen is no longer needed, as I shoot up the surface nitrogen bubbles form around my joints, love, painful essential love is what the song talks about. Love, that has made me who I am, love which I never thought I could attain. Me, who can't sing a note, now in the middle of writing a love song want to remember the harmonium's black keys once more between the whites, for him, for him only.

He held my hand a million times this year, kissed my forehead half a million times. He told me he loves me five thousand times. And I shamelessly kept count of it all. And now this year is ending, and I am tying all my numbers together. I am not ready for the next, not till I sing my song, a love song for him, the one I live by, not yet written, not yet sang. Between him and I and the end of this year only one thing stands, an unsung, unwritten love song.


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