R. texted me a couple of days ago to ask if I had ever gone back to learning music since school. Partners-in-crime in our school years, we were in the school choir together, and had a few Hindustani classical vocal lessons with Sruti Ma’am, who left for the US soon after. We adored her and were heartbroken when she left. We talked of how her grilling made sure that we still remembered the songs and few khyals we had learnt. We also spoke of our failed attempts to find her again.
Surprisingly — or perhaps not — R. and I discovered that we had both resumed learning Hindustani classical online. She began six months ago, while I started last month. Our conversation led to an idea: we decided to record and post one of the songs we sang at the school assembly every morning.
Now R. has a stupendous memory and stellar documentation skills. She had diligently written down all the songs in a diary when we were at school; as we chatted, she dug out the diary and sent me photos of several songs. We picked one, and in true haphazard, impulsive, Anne of Green Gables fashion, had to record it as soon as we could, and post it for the world to see: our first public ‘group’ singing in decades.
Even as we are in the midst of a nightmare, we hope this will bring you a little peace and lightness, as it did to us. That hour-long call, with its singing, laughter, and reminder of friendship as our lives change rapidly, gave me courage. I found sunshine in the voice of a friend I used to sing with, and maybe you’ll find something to uplift your spirits, just a little, in the shenanigans of two women in their mid-thirties who pretend that they have travelled back in time.