I have a serious problem. Not one of those damn-I-will-die-tomorrow kind of serious problem but a particularly vexing and frustrating problem none-the-less. The worst part is that it took me 20 years to notice it. I am fairly certain most of you in your life would have had an episode where you go up on to the stage and people laugh and you have no clue why they are laughing. Acting on a delusion, you are led to believe that it was because of the lame joke you cracked and now oozing with confidence, a sway in your gait and a grin on your face, you step from disaster to catastrophe. From frying pan to fire. Like a fish eagerly taking to boiling water. For 20 years, I kept making fool of myself. 20 years of humiliation, unknowingly. Sigh…
Woe is mine for I can not sing. This realization did not dawn upon me till recently. I am not saying I sing badly. To sing badly is to sing off-key. Off-tune. When I sing there is not even a faintest hint of a key. A donkey braying or a monkey growling can pull off a tune. My case. No tune. When I do try what I generously classify as singing, my thorax gives up and out comes what at best can be called an overly-dramatic speech or at worst Additive White Gaussian Noise. When I was in first year, I sang my heart out to a couple of people I had just met. This particular song, in front of Tifanys.
At the end of 3 minutes, they asked me if it was a recitation of a poem. Of Kabir. “Don’t be stupid, I think it is Premchand”, quipped another. And they were dead serious. As serious as one gets before Analog Circuits Quiz. I dismissed their statements as mere trifles as I prepared to stun my wingmates and the monkeys that peep into the bathroom with my no-key rendition of the entire spectrum of thoracic noise, ranging from Talat Mahmood to Iron Maiden, from Mukesh to Marilyn Manson, from Mannadey to The Beatles. Only recently did I realize the import of their statement, when I heard myself “singing”. No wonder people don’t take kindly to any of my suggestions regarding songs.
This reminds me of another incident. After 10th standard board exam results were released, I was made to run around to get admission forms from different colleges. At that time I was a sucker for the song, “Sweet Dreams” by Marilyn Manson. On a particularly hot day, while I was waiting in the queue to get the admission form, Marilyn Manson descended upon me and I started singing. This song.
I think I traumatized a couple of girls standing in the queue. No sane person will listen to you kindly, if you start singing – “Some of them want to use you, some of them want to be used by you”. I do not remember what happened after that. I think they left the queue. And I didn’t join that college.
Unfortunately, I can’t blame this on genes. For, when I was born, the legend goes that my mother, like many mothers do, didn’t say “Mera beta doctor banega” or “Mera beta Engineer banega”. She apparently said, “Mera beta Anup Jalota banega”. Now, the only resemblance between me and Anup Jalota are the presence of multiple chins and a belly of roughly the same size. It is not that they didn’t try to make me proficient in music but what can one do when one is tone deaf. On the other hand, my dad is an awesome singer. Not a professional, no training of any sort. He always wins the Best Singer Prize in our apartment complex and at his workplace. Me. I am the black sheep of the family. Sad, isn’t it?
Anyway, I am happy that I realized the “cup”-ness of my vocal capability now. Better late than never. Maybe a bad pitch in time saves nine?
I will sign off with this song. 🙂