I was sipping on a voluptuous glass of red wine in a small corner bar at the edge of Saint Marks. Lost in thought. Rashi plops down on the stool next to me with a sigh. And a smile. She has one of those playfully honest and beautifully toothy smiles one can never quite forget. My phone lights up with a message telling me she’s just blogged. About colors. I feel jealous.
In life, you usually have two options: speak up or stay quiet. My 5th grade teacher used to tell me this whole notion of no-question-is-a-bad-question is utter bullshit. Think before you speak! She’d say.
Rashi would disagree. Just write. She says. It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect. It doesn’t matter if it’s poignant. It doesn’t matter because you’re exploring your creativity. You’re exercising a muscle, it’ll only grow after you stretch it out a bit. And all you’ve done is let it get fat.
It’s true. She’s right.
I was standing at the back corner of a dimly lit basement in the middle of South Delhi, tonight. Listening to some jazz, live.
In jazz, you have no choice but to make it up as you go along. You can practice all you want, come up with a ridiculously gorgeous sound, plan for a perfect night. But in jazz, it’ll never go as you had planned. And you have no choice but to make your sound heard. Your voice. Your beats. Your thoughts. Your emotions, good and bad, up and down, properly practiced and completely unrehearsed. And eventually you learn to love it. To use it to your benefit. To bring everyone else along for the unpredictable ride.
Because there’s nothing like that feeling of being present for that one beautiful rare set when the drummer is jamming, the piano-man is singing, and the crowd can feel exactly what you’re feeling in that instance.
You can choose not to make yourself heard, and no one will listen. Or you can decide to speak up and hope it sounds a bit like Coltrane to someone out there.