Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The story that I never tire of sharing...

I must tell you a story that the great Asha Bhosale told me. One that is so magical that I will never forget it nor ever tire of sharing it. She told me this in response to a question that I asked her. She has a singing career that has been ongoing for 55 years and more. Day in and day out, she's been out there singing and making people hum. She is one of the few people who can count three generations among her audiences. I wanted to know from her how it feels, to go on and do it everyday after being there and having done that thousands of times. Where does her motivation come from? What else is left to achieve?

She told me that she believes that it is not she out there. She is not special; she is not the singing sensation! And that there are thousands out there who are far more talented and melodious than she is who do more riyaz more consistently than she does and in her own belief; deserve success much more than her. Then how is it that she is successful and not they?

She then told me about a story that was part of her second standard syllabus.

In a small village somewhere is this tiny hut. It is mid morning and the grown-ups have left for the fields. A little girl is alone in the hut, and is busy trying to while time by playing with her clay toys.

A shaft of sunlight leaking from the thatched roof comes in and settles on the little girl’s frock. It is a frock with a floral print with butterflies. When the sunlight hits it, a butterfly from the frock comes alive and flits all across. As she looks on in wonder, the shaft of light moves to her toys. Her princess doll comes alive and begins to play with her, and the little girl is thrilled. Soon the Prince doll also joins in as the light moves on to him. As they are all engrossed in their games suddenly they hear a mighty roar. Another of her toys, a clay lion has just come alive as the sunlight moved to it. There is terror as both the dolls and the little girl realize this. The Prince doll tries with all his might to keep the lion at bay. The lion, by now furiously chases the three of them. Just as their legs become weak and it seems like there is no way they will make it they hear a gunshot. The hunter doll has come alive just in time and saved them.

Even before the little girl feels the great relief, shadows appear. The sun has gone behind clouds now and there is no sunlight. Almost miraculously all the dolls go back to their clay forms. The butterfly too comes back, settles down on her frock and once again becomes just a part of the print.

The little girl comes out of her reverie, a bit dazed. Did all of this really happen or was it just her imagination?

Ashaji told me that she learnt from this story (when she was all of six or seven years old) something that she has believed and practiced all her life. By herself she is just like the clay doll. It is the ray of sunlight that is special. It is that, that breathes life into a clay doll and animates it.

She said that she is just immensely grateful everyday for the light is still on her. So she strives hard to make the most of it. She believes that it is her duty to respect the light and that is her motivation to do her three-hour riyaz day in and day out everyday for over fifty years. It is the reason that makes her get up everyday and look forward to singing another song, and then another.

And since it is not she, but the light, where is the scope of feeling arrogant, feeling all-powerful and accomplished? Humility comes naturally.

Then again, since it is all about the light, she knows that one day it will move from her, since that is also an inevitable cycle of nature. And when that happens, she will gracefully accept that and fondly reminisce about the time when the light was on her, and when she did her best in her time in the sun.

7 comments:

ravi deshpande 7:33 PM  

wah! kya bat hai. moving story. so asha bhosale is a great storyteller too. or is it because you have made it better? anyway, this is one post that can be reread again & again. it will remain fresh.

Parisa Mehta 1:33 PM  

Sachin, a very moving story. Jayen

Volante 11:19 AM  

wow...wish more celebs knew this story!!! Really nice...

R L Ramakrishnan 7:23 AM  

Sachin, what a magnificent story. Very inspiring! Thanks!

R L Ramakrishnan 7:24 AM  

Sachin, what a magnificent story. Very inspiring! Thanks!

R L Ramakrishnan 7:24 AM  

Sachin, truly an inspiring story! Thanks!

AD 4:14 AM  

Wonderful story! And such great perspective! Thanks for sharing.