Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Sound Therapy. Bengal Monsoon.

Sound Therapy. Bengal Monsoon.

Let’s talk about pleasant sounds.

Sound can work as therapy for the perched soul. It’s like a rain shower in Bengal after a long, hard spell of summer.

Sound can work as magic for the forlorn. Sound can soothe the sad and the depressed.

Pleasant sound is music. It’s the music of sound. It’s the music of soul.

But you must want it with all your heart — to make it happen.

Try it.

Soft sound. Subtle sound. Long-lost sound. Sounds you love to hear.

Sounds you always loved to hear.

Search with your eyes closed. Go back down the memory lane. Look in your heart. Listen carefully. Focus. Concentrate. Like Yoga. Breathe normally.

Get rid of all your stress and anxiety.

Can you totally detach yourself from the rest of the world and wait for the bliss to come back to life — one sound at a time?

Try it.

It works like magic. It is one of the best meditations you can ever buy — for free.

I do it often. Sounds that reside deep inside my mind. I look for them. I pray for them. I dream.

Here in North America. Sounds like gemstone.

Here in North America. Sounds like gemstone.

I pick up two pebbles from the sand — two beautiful-looking rocks — and softly hit one against the other. As if I’m chanting a mantra. Om…ting…ting…ting…

And then, they come back from those long-lost childhood days. Even grown-up days. My Kolkata days. My Bengal days. My India days. And then, my days in here in America.

Like, rain drops in early June — Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

They return, slowly, one beloved sound at a time. Like a quiet morning drizzle.

Think what you saw. Dream what you heard.

Think what you saw. Dream what you heard.

Try it. Try it with me.

You might want to thank me for this.

Nobody can photograph the sound you loved the most. Not even the best video camera has that kind of power. Only your mind has captured them and stored them — deep inside.

Your job is to want them to come back — with all your heart, with the best words to pray, with the softest yearning.

If you know how to want them to come back, believe me, they will come back.

Brazil v Italy -- in Kolkata. I was there.

Brazil v Italy — in Kolkata. I was there.

They come back to me. They return, slowly, with love.

Rain drops in a fish pond. Dark clouds. Thunder happened earlier. Now it patters. In lush green. Tops…tops…toops…trops…troops…

Football drops in a pool of gray slush. Splash…Splruch…splush…lots of giggles. Young boys laugh.

Sea waves breaking on the beach of Puri. High waves. Bathing in it. Stomach initially fears. Then relaxes. Gets ready for major fun. With family members or friends.

Lots of giggles. And some little coughs and screams too. Somebody drank salt water.

Remember. Try.

You shall reward yourself, richly.

Pleasantly Writing,


Brooklyn, New York


Memory. Sounds. Fun.

Memory. Sounds. Fun.

One of those magic moments…


This is about the often-strange state of my mind, I presume. But it’s about music. It’s about my daily meditation, my Bhakti Yoga, my trance.

I report it to you.

Judge it, if you please. Adore it, if you can. Chastise it, if you must. But this is me. This is what it is: another shameless confession. I told you my blog would be about one hundred percent, heartfelt, honest feelings. I can’t hide it anymore.

I won’t hide it anymore.

Every morning, a different song comes to my mind
. Often, I dream about it. Last week, I dreamed of a Tagore song based on a morning raga and a slow, seven-beat rhythm.

aji suprabhaate
nutan pran dao sakha…

(this new beautiful morning
give me a new life
my friend)

Today, I dreamed of a Nazrul Islam song.

Mor ghumoghore ele manohar
namo namo

shiyore bashi chupi chupi
chumile nayan…

(you came to me in my dreams

you sat by my head, silently,
and kissed my eyes…)

It comes and it goes…in rhythms…and in waves

The songs appear in strange ways. As if I’m singing a few lines, somewhere – a friendly gathering here in America where suddenly two of my pretty Calcutta cousins show up with a big smile, cousins I haven’t seen in twenty years. Or, as if I’m performing at one of the Bengali New Year or Tagore birthday celebrations I organized in Southern Illinois or upstate New York. Or, a new-generation Calcutta poet and I are having a pleasant conversation talking about the new trend of cerebral Indian music; we both happily decided that Bollywood was pure trash. Or else, maybe it’s an unknown, uncanny, turbulent river where I’m in sole charge of the oars, and I’m nervous, but still singing, a little incoherently.

Then I wake up.

The song stays with me for the rest of the day, and I sing it in my mind, silently, as if I don’t want to let the others know about my new secret today. Not even to the woman who’s sleeping next to me, and waking up together with me. Sometimes she knows because I’m singing it just a little louder, either in the shower or in the kitchen downstairs, making tea. Sometimes a new song – similar to the original one, perhaps based on the same raga, carrying a similar mood – hijacks the tune and takes me over, and I sing the new song from that point on, only to be taken over by a third song, and then perhaps by a fourth. Often, I forget the original one that I began my day with: I can’t seem to remember it at all, however hard I try. In fact, the more I try, the more it slips away. And I know I don’t like the new song I’m singing now because I want to get back to the first one – the one that came in my early morning dream.

As if I’m trying hard to remember the face of my very first crush: way back when, on the early-Spring balconies of North Calcutta.

Then I stop singing altogether, and trivial, mundane things take my day over. Like, I ride the bus and there’s an argument between the cranky driver and an attitude passenger. Or, it’s a Christian preacher screaming on the crowded subway calling everybody a doomed sinner (and nobody questions). A poor, homeless man is sleeping covered head to toe on the crowded, morning train taking up an entire row of seats. Two old women are talking to each other in their own language at a pollution-level decibel. A Hispanic singer plays nylon-string guitar on the platform. Or, a line of cheerful kids goes on a field trip with their teacher, chortling. I forget my song.

Then, at night, in the quiet comfort of my bed, while reading a favorite book I’d read thousands of times – maybe one of those Satyajit Ray, Saradindu Banerjee or Parashuram stories – it suddenly crawls back, as if it was waiting all day to return to me – the real me.

It says, “Hi, I’m back, see?” It says, “Now sing me secretly again, deep inside your heart, before you fall asleep.” It says, “Close your eyes now, and think about me. I’m all yours.”

And I very gently caress it, make love to it, and sleep with it.

In those dreams…


I don’t know how it all began. But I remember I sang since I was very little, as far back my memory can go – maybe when I was only three or four. At the Montessori school Shishu Niketan, we stood up in a line in the semi-dark assembly hall and our music teacher Sister Ela would play on her small, ancient, decrepit piano and lead us on:

amar hiyar majhe lukiye chhile
dekhte tomay pai ni ami
dekhte tomay pai ni
bahir paane chokh melechhi
ami tomar kachhe jai ni…

(You were hidden in my heart
I couldn’t but see you
I couldn’t but see you
I looked out to the outside world
Yet I didn’t return to find you)

Or, she’d sing something more cheerful:

amra sabai raja
amader ei rajar rajatwe
noile moder rajar saney
milbo ki sattwe

We’re all royals
in this kingdom of our King
or else, how can we
how can we greet
with no treasures
that’s ours

Did we understand the meaning of the songs? Hardly; but it didn’t matter. It was fun. Deep-voiced yet mellifluous Sister Ela would sing Tagore tuned in simple talas: the three-beat Dadra, four-beat Tritala, or three-two-three-two-beat Jhampaka. She’d sing three or four songs, taking fifteen minutes or so, and we the little crickets would happily chirp in, slowly settling down. Morning songs, and then fun games, Bengali and English rhymes and reading. Then, after lunch from our small tiffin boxes we brought in from home, it’s time for an afternoon nap in the dark and quiet nap room wrapping in our homespun quilts, supervised by junior teachers. At three thirty, it’s time to run. Ma would be waiting outside the school gate along with the other mothers and sisters, to pick up their precious little ones. The Nepali gatekeeper Bahadur would carefully let us out, one cricket at a time.

Ma and father both could sing. Father mostly sang patriotic songs, and he sang rather well. I’ve seen our relatives, especially his cousins, requesting him to perform at small family gatherings. Ma would sing quietly, when nobody else is home, and she’d sing in a strangely soft and artificial contralto, as if she’s stifled to sing normally. She would not sing in front of anybody else; I was her exclusive audience. Sometimes I made fun of the way Ma sang and she’d pretend to be upset. In a few seconds, though, she would laugh it away. She couldn’t be upset with me. She wouldn’t be unhappy with me.

It was music. I has always been music.

[I shall return and write more. I hope you return too. Thank you, my friends.]

Sincerely Writing,


Brooklyn, New York

Moonshine galore…overflood overtide