Wednesday, July 31, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 80

When Rayyan Sang In Loop

Rayyan has never been interested in singing for others, though sometimes I hear him singing all by himself along with the music playing in the background. I also hear him crack his voice and go cough cough cough…….trying to scream like Chester Bennington.
When he went to TEMS, as a part of the school program he learned to sing Naath, which are semi religious songs with minimal music to accompany it. Once Rayyan told me about a song they learned which was about the dead person waiting for the judgement day to come by sleeping in his grave all alone. I told him to sing it to see how he is managing singing in Urdu, a language new to him. He seriously started his demo version of the song with lot of emotion included in his voice. I was kind of taken by surprise with his singing. His pronunciation, memorization and singing were quite commendable. I did not expect this from him and was about to appreciate him when I heard stifled sniffing sounds. Worried I went out to see what was happening, when I saw two elderly people crying profusely and sniffing. Yeah, these two people were my mom and dad who were overcome by emotion hearing their grandson sing.

Gearing up myself with enough defence to put up with their exaggerated praise for his singing, I asked them hesitatingly, “Did you like it?” They completely ignored me and called Rayyan out. “Beta, what was that song about? You sang it so well”. Rayyan went on to explain it to them about the song and they both explained it to me after him twice. I stood there nodding my head not wanting to fight with them. “Will you sing it for us once again?” my mom requested him. Rayyan obliged and started singing it again. I can still see him in the school uniform, standing in attention and singing it earnestly as though a great audience was listening to him. Soon my mom pulled the duppatta on her head with respect and started swaying to the song. This was not too far from expectation but what was shocking was that my dad was in tears and was listening by swaying to the song. My dad has never been too expressive with his emotions and I haven’t seen him cry often. The stoic person he was, I wasn’t sure what moved him so much in the song that he was shedding tears. Rayyan, was not observing his grandparents but was quite engrossed in singing the song. When he was done, they both praised him and blessed him profusely. As I was thinking that was the end of the episode, I heard my dad say, “Beta, can you sing it once again for me? It is such a lovely song”. From where he stood, Rayyan started singing with the same earnest again. By then I had lost the love for the song, and was kind of getting irritated. The whole episode was repeated as though it was on a loop or like someone is rewinding it and playing it again. You will not believe when I say that this was repeated 5 – 6 times before I intervened and put a stop to it.
I never dared to ask Rayyan to sing anything again, though my parents would often have a request with encore added.
Apart from my parents’, there was another person who appreciated his musical talents. That was my friend and his aunt Paula. Paula had great voice and I was amazed by her singing of hymn in church where her voice and song boomed over others. Standing beside her, I had forgotten what I was singing and listened to her in awe. She was very picky with her music. She once asked me who was the best singer in India and I said, “Latha Mangeshkar”. I also played few of her songs for Paula, but she laughed out loud. In her opinion, her voice did not run deep, was too shallow and shrill. This was the first time I was hearing someone criticizing the legendary singer in this way. What followed that was funnier because she said, “I think our own Rayyan has such good voice which is better than her. His voice has a boom and runs so deep. If he was my son, I would sure make him a singer. In fact, for people who hear him without meeting him, it is shock to see that voice belongs to this body because it sounds different from his personality and appearance”. I did not try to say anything in return because she would then start criticizing my voice to defend Rayyan. It was surprising that most of my American friends his accent better and often request him to repeat what I was saying. Sigh!  Paula was very serious with his piano lessons and would praise his talent for picking up her lessons quickly. He enjoyed it as well, but unfortunately back in India he couldn’t pursue it further.

As for Rayyan, like with sports, he feels he wants to enjoy music and doesn’t want to pursue it seriously. He enjoys singing when he feels like it. He has found a way to enjoy his life, be happy and live peacefully, something that eludes most of us.

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