Leonard Cohen, Pt. Kumar Gandharva and the case of my broken finger – Oh, and a bit of Albus Dumbledore

14 10 2008

So most of you might know that I had fractured my finger recently. Thanks for all the sympathies and goodwill. The reason as I had told you was I got hit by a tennis ball while playing cricket. But then I could see it in most people’s eyes. They didn’t buy the explanation. “Tennis ball?”, they said, “strange.” and walk away thinking, “Something is fishy.” with a Sherlock Holmes-like look on their respective faces.

And I have to admit, that their minds are not confounded just for the heck of it. But truth as I always say is at times stranger than fiction. I have been called a liar when I told you about the nose-ringed girl and I have been called a Looney when I told you that aliens visited my lab. But truth as it is, has to come out. I mean what’s the point in hiding things from your friends. But then again, after the whole story is told, you would want to believe in the tennis ball theory.

So it was the night of 12th December and I was very tired after a hard day’s work…ahem…I am telling the truth. So after an early dinner I came back to my room. A friend of mine had left his laptop with me. That meant I could listen to some music as I slept. All I could lay my hands on, though, were two CDs one by Leonard Cohen, whom I consider as one of the greatest song-writers and poets and the other Pandit Kumar Gandharva considered by the knowledgeables as one of the greatest in classical music. So I downloaded the two CDs and kept the music selection on random. The first song was by Cohen – “Everybody Knows”. However, I was asleep in no time. The last lines I remember I heard were the classic Cohen lines:

Everybody knows that you love me baby

Everybody knows that you really do

Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful

Ah give or take a night or two

So at about 3:00 in the night I felt my eyes hurt. There was a bright light in my room and standing at the edge of my bed was Albus Dumbledore. For those who don’t know Albus

Dumbledore, he is Harry Potter’s teacher. It was perplexing because he was without his beard and looked very different. Oh and he wasn’t friendly. Of course I have had an experience of being woken up by aliens in the night. So I wasn’t very surprised.

He looked at the laptop and noticed the playlist.

“Fascinating, listening to Kumar Gandharva and Leonard Cohen together.”, he said.

“yeah”, I said, “what I wouldn’t give to see them perform live.”

Then I remembered that it wasn’t possible to listen to the great Pt. Kumar Gandharva live at least in this birth.

“He is no more, if you don’t know.” said the beardless wizard.

“I know”, I said. “But I hope I get to see Cohen before I die.”

He fell into a silence.

“Hey, you said, you can give anything to see the two perform live, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”, I said, a bit of suspicion creeping into my mind.

“Alright, come with me.” he said and led me out of the room to the hostel terrace.

Seated there were the two greats. Leonard Cohen and Pt. Kumar Gandharva.

“But…”, I had lost my speech.

Cohen had started to play his guitar. What he was playing was a chord but the chord I had never heard before and I knew what he was doing. He was playing the secret chord. And his husky voice filled the air. He was playing “Hallelujah”. The words filled me completely as a shiver went through my spine.

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord

That David played, and it pleased the Lord

But you don’t really care for music, do you?

It goes like this

The fourth, the fifth

The minor fall, the major lift

The baffled king composing Hallelujah

The chorus came from nowhere and it were probably the stars. The song continued…

Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her

She tied you

To a kitchen chair

She broke your throne, and she cut your hair

And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah …

I was lost. The sound was clearer than a studio recording. Meanwhile Pt. Kumar Gandharva sat listening to him with a gentle smile. A knowing smile. A smile that said he knew exactly what the words meant. The song finished with the chorus dying out softly. I didn’t even dare to clap. Perhaps afraid of waking up from my dream, if I was dreaming.

No sooner had he finished, the maestro had started his “aalap”. The greats don’t take time to shift gears and by now the notes of “raga Bhairavi” were making my hair stand erect. The song was “Ud jayega hans akela”. The words came out in short bursts. In no time the pace was up – “drut bandish” as Nandita told me later.

If Leonard Cohen had been awesome, Kumar Gandharva was mind-blowing. Even the leaves had stopped to rattle. The only sound in the still of the night was his.

“Guru ki karni, Guru janega

Chele ki karni chela

Ud jaayega….” he sang his Nirguni Bhajan.

Nothing moved. The raga stopped. Within a blink of my eye, both the greats had vanished. I was dumbfounded. The sounds still reverberated in my head.

“Well” said Dumbledore. “Hope it was okay.”

“Okay? It was out of the world.”

“Yeah well, you remember the promise, don’t you?”

“What promise?”

“That you would give anything if you listened to them live.”

“Oh yeah, what do you want?”

“You see, there’s this experiment we need to do on our planet and we need a bit of human bone.”

“What planet? Aren’t you Dumbledore?”

“Who?”, he asked. “Don’t you remember me? We had met in your lab. I was wearing a sumo wrestlers clothes.”

“Ah! I thought you looked familiar.”

“No, I don’t. I had a plastic surgery.”

“Oh and why do you need human bone?”

“We are building human beings so that we learn how to interact with them. We think there is a hope for our planets to join hands. We are just preparing ourselves to deal with you guys.”

“oh and well…did you say u wanted my bones?” I was scared. I mean how can you trust aliens who want your bones.

“No just a piece, a few micrograms. But I am afraid I’ll have to break it a bit.”

“Will that hurt?”

“No you will fall unconscious. And your boss will grant you a holiday too. I’ll make sure that he does.”

“Alright.” I said for I am a man of my words.

“He just waved his hand and I heard a click in my finger and a little pain. I fell on the floor.

I woke up with some pain in my finger the next day and what a place to wake up – the hostel terrace. My finger was swollen but my head was still full of music so it didn’t hurt. What followed was a trip to the doctor and more amazingly my boss granting me a long holiday. The finger still hurts after two months but that is not a big price to pay if you get to listen to two greats, right?

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6 responses

14 10 2008
TKC

Hai vikooo, nice one.Enjoyed reading it.U r improving ur skill.

14 10 2008
Pallavi

hmm so finger broke reason of the gandharvas was really highly
imaginative. i w’d say i almost believed the nose ringed stuff. so… so
anyways can’t stop admiring such an huge imagination.

14 10 2008
J

  hey V,
 
  was goin thr ur blog stories. god .. u write so nicely… no wonder so
many girls have started fallin for u… baki ti dumbledore vali avadli..
bhari hoti..
  wil rite back later…

14 10 2008
Madhur Vaidya

Hi Viks,

I went thru 2 of ur blogs (murphy n how u fractured ur finger story).
good ones. take this as a compliment – ur writing style reminds me of Guy de
Maupassant.
it has been days i haven’t read any of his stories. so going thru the first
story was bit nostalgic. keep it up.

14 10 2008
Sujit

Hey Vicky, Man I appreciate your talent at writing. I totally believe
you. What an amazing coincidence though! You know this weekend I was on a
leisure trip to my villa on the asteriod X234t765 and to my surprise my
alien servants, told me that I had guests waiting for me…….guess
who?….. Leonard Cohen, Pt. Kumar Gandharva and also you remember the
girl you met in B’lore that night……….very very pretty girl. They
just came after they saw you and told me about it. But the only thing
that didn’t tally and what they told me was you were the subject for the
child bearing project. I didn’t beleieve them……but you know? just
between us……..is that true? what is her name then? Do repl, I am
waining eargerly also to see a father and daughter snap
together,Cheers…..your dear friend,Sujit

14 10 2008
K7

Hey Dreamer!! Good post … Nobody can articulate dreams like you do
…Dumbledorf .. hahahaha … between two music personalities .. you
really made it look like a dream …

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