This is a journal entry of a successful singer who realised that her place was at a recording studio and not in an operation theatre. And that she could heal people through music too.
I’m so nervous today. The butterflies in my stomach haven’t sat still for more than a week now. I can barely eat or sleep. Before you freak out and wonder what’s wrong, let me tell you that these jitterbugs and this nervousness are all good. I am basking in it!
But do you remember, Dear Diary, that this was not the case not very long ago?
Somehow, the day I was born my father decided that I would be a doctor. You see, that had been his dream for himself. He wanted to become a doctor all through his growing years but my grandpapa would not hear of it. My dad was forced to join the family business and expand it. It was not the vocation that he had set his eyes on. He wanted all his life to be a doctor. He wanted to help people heal and find health again. But instead, he ended up being another businessman. Another son who was meant to take forward his family’s name.
So, when I came along, Papa proudly declared that I was destined to become a doctor. Nothing else but a doctor! He couldn’t see he was basically doing to me what his father had done to him. Little did he know that I had given away my heart to something else entirely!
Sunday used to be my favourite day when I was a kid. Now, you may think that that was because Sunday meant a holiday from school. But that wasn’t it! I used to wait for Rangoli on television. I used to plonk myself in front of the TV almost an hour before and prepare to sing along with the melodies. What can I say, those soulful melodies used to reach the very recesses of my heart and fill me with glee. My parents and my brother thought that I was crazy about the visuals. The truth is that I never noticed the flashing pictures, all I could hear was the music.
I began with bathroom singing and even borrowed my grandfather’s very swish two-in-one player, to sing along to the cassettes. I did all of this behind my parent’s back, I was supposed to be a doctor, not a singer, remember? But my little brother absolutely loved my singing. He thought I was better than anyone he heard on the radio or had seen on television. But little brothers are meant to think that about their older sisters, I suppose.
During those growing up years, I so badly wanted to ask my parents to enrol me in a music class. But I simply couldn’t muster up the courage. I was petrified of my Dad. He was tall, big-made, and rarely smiled or laughed. Only when I brought home my marks card full of impressive marks, especially in math and science, did he manage a genuine smile. The marks are what I needed to focus on, my Dad said.
So, I dutifully (or should I say cowardly) gave up singing and hit the books. Slowly, true joy started seeping out of me. Everyone started to compare me to my Dad. I had become sullen and angry like him. And it’s obvious those aren’t traits that you should aspire to.
But I refused to acknowledge what was happening until one, fine day in medical school, I was on a break from classes and saw a man weeping his heart out in a corner at the hospital. These scenes are not very uncommon in a hospital and so I was just preparing myself to walk past him. But I simply couldn’t.
I walked towards the man and asked him if he was all right. That only seemed to make him cry harder. So, I stretched out my arm to give him a reassuring pat and that was when the torrent of words came gushing out. He recounted how he had always wanted to travel the world and explore it. But he never got to it, always thinking that there would be a better time to pursue his passion. However, his life had other plans. He had just heard from the doctors that he had only weeks to live. And that was the end of his dream.
The truth is that I had heard more tragic stories but this one stayed with me. I could feel an old wound opening up. And a buried dream struggling to come to life. I tried to push it away but the desire to sing and answer my calling only kept getting stronger. Until I couldn’t take it in any longer.
I called my Dad in the middle of the night one day and through some very, loud sobbing came clean to him. He didn’t say a word and at the end of the call, I felt my heart sinking. The next day, as I gloomily went about my day, I got a call from the Dean’s office. My dad had come to pick me up and take me away from medical school!
It’s been three years since that day. After coming back home, my dad enrolled me in music school and became invested in this new dream of mine. I then went on to win a major singing competition on TV and the offers came pouring in after that.
So, now you are wondering why I am so nervous today. Aren’t you? I’m just preparing to go live on stage, in front of a packed stadium in a few hours from now.
Dear Diary, there simply isn’t a better thrill than this!