Suddenly love has turned to hate in our country, with violent terms like ‘love-jihad’ on everyone’s lips. Men are being put into prisons for falling in love and married couples separated! Horrified, I just saw a video of ruffians beating up a couple who were sitting together in a park!

We are already into the second day of the new year, and if you are one of those who’ve made a few resolutions when the year began, I wonder how far you’ve gone on keeping them?

                                 And as the year comes to an end I look around and see my bamboo flute stretched out on the grand piano.

                                 I pick it up and place my mouth tenderly against the unpolished bamboo hole, and then from the bamboo shoot pours out my soul. My tune is sad for dying year but suddenly thoughts linger, on days gone by and my face lights up and sad melody is replaced by stronger tune, sadness with joy and my fingers flit on the bamboo in gay abandon.

                                Ah! How my flute reflects my feelings!

                                 It is childhood again.

                                 I walk along the streets of the city, tired, looking for something I could buy to churn out music building in me. The flute seller with his wares does not look my way. I stop and listen mesmerized as he with ease blows breath into a bamboo hole and brings out sweet sounding refrain.

                                "How much?" I ask breathlessly.

                                "A rupee," he says.

                                  I would have paid him more, twice as much maybe ten times more for symphony he produced, though alas I soon find, the same I cannot do.

                                 "The dogs are howling," my brother grunts.

                                  "Sounds like cats fighting outside," my mother cries, but I push stubborn bamboo into equally reluctant mouth and work sounds that would have made a banshee wail sound like harmonious chords.

                                And then one day, my father hums with me.

                                "You're whistling my tune," I tell him.

                                "What tune?" asks dad.

                                "What I'm playing on the flute,"

                                He grins, but there is grudging respect for persistence if not for melodious sounds that are rare and far apart.

                                I see flute player again at the same familiar spot. Again I listen with awe and watch Pan fingers play divine rhapsodies. "How?" I ask, bewildered. He grins and winks. "Just play and play and play! It'll come!"

                               I did. I played and played and bamboo reed slowly, grudgingly like wild stallion stilled by determined cowboy, slowly let my boyish lips and clasping fingers master her.  

                               And through the years, my flute with soft soothing sounds, played my own made up tunes, composed most often in moments of sadness and joy, happiness and grief, that constantly mirrored my ups and downs.      

                              But now my fingers spin a song of joy and mesmerist flute rings out melodiously with a happy tune my soul plays out. I raise my head, look up and look at you, dear reader, and let us play a happy tune together, because we are alive even as the dreadful 2020 is dying..!                                                       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

And as news of Covid mutating spread, countries closing borders, ours banning flights, curfews implemented, fear gripped my heart, and with timid steps, I passed the sentry at the gate of time into the New Year! “What’s with the slow walk Bob?” he called out genially, ’twas one with bounce and vivere that crossed into 2020!”

“But see what happened!” I whispered, “Covid-19 came and took the bounce away! Spoilt our plans and brought destruction!”

It was my body talking and I thought I’d listen to the outbursts coming from different parts of me; my feet and shoulders, arms and palms, all having an argument. “I can’t figure out why you should get the vaccine jab!” whined my feet to my upper arm, “We’ve all had a tough year this whole pandemic time and why should you be chosen before the rest of us?”