Falling Down

If you’ve played ‘Snakes and Ladders’ (and I’m sure you have), there must have been times when the last snake (at 96 or 99) would bite you and you’d fall down all the way to the very beginning from where you had started playing. And then you’d start all over again, and keep playing unless the game ended. Well, life is pretty much the same. Snakes will keep biting you and you will keep falling down. But in the end, you’ll keep climbing until you reach that 100 or the game ends. The worst part of the game is, of course, when you fall from 99 to 1. It makes you want to tear the game-board into fucking halves and burn them. Something like this happened with me today.

As I said in my last post, when you start pursuing a dream, you have to fight almost the entire universe yourself and make your own way. So for the past few days, the ‘social’ part of my universe was messing with my mind. It had already given me two sleepless nights. I was in a very bad mood. Yesterday night, I was coming back from an outdoor shoot for an upcoming music video. In my area, there are these big auto-rickshaws with a luggage boot at the rear end of the vehicle. That’s where I always keep my guitar while travelling. This time, though, I forgot to take it back. I came back, lay down on the bed, thought, fought those thoughts with more thoughts and eventually fell asleep. It was when I woke up in the morning and ran for my guitar that I realized it wasn’t there in my room.

It took me a year to finally start making money from music, and another four months to actually save some of it. This month, I was finally able to save an amount equal to the cost of my guitar. I couldn’t even celebrate this feeling properly before I lost my guitar. I’ve been travelling this way for more than two years now, but this never happened before. And I do realize that all my talk about my state-of-mind won’t make this any less stupid or careless. Ultimately I lost my guitar. It is the instrument of my toil. And all my work – my classes, my recording work, my band rehearsals – have come to a halt. I feel like I’ve been bitten by that 99 snake.

I remember an article by the famous Film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, where he said that the life of an artist is always a struggle. Sometimes, it rings incredibly true. It’s not that the struggle is sad or gloomy in any sense. It’s just that here you’re climbing a fence, where you cannot afford to fall because there is no bed of a monthly paycheck, and you do something this careless.

One day while coming back from my guitar class, a boy stopped me on my way and asked if I go to learn at some music school. I said that I am an independent musician and teacher. Apart from that, all I asked was, “So, do you want to learn guitar?” And he said “Oh no, I was just asking! See you sometime!” and walked away. And such incidents keep happening – all the time. Independent artists scare people away. They feel, “Ye saala kaam mangega!

A few days ago, people at my corporate class asked me about my graduation, and I told them that I am an engineer from NIT Surat. My answer surprised them all. They asked me why I was teaching guitar when I could find a job so easily, given my educational background. Is what I am doing not a job, though? In our country, when people say ‘auto-wallah’, or ‘rickshaw-wallah’, or ‘doodh-wala’ (I am often referred to as ‘gaane-bajane wallah’ 😛 ), they often don’t mean it with reference to the respective professions. The words are spoken with a sound of disgust and contempt. You make it big and people become fans and share your stories. But for the vast majority, if you’re not a doctor or an engineer or an MBA, people don’t really respect you for your profession.

There is an infinite number of snakes waiting to bite you all the time. Sometimes you’ll fall down and get hurt – badly. But remember that throwing the game-board away is never a solution. You’ll have to start climbing all over again, until you win, or the game ends. I’m gonna start my fight all over again from tomorrow morning to reach that stage when I can save some money again. So what if it takes me a few extra months to reach that milestone again? I know I’ll get there.

Here is the last video shot at my home itself, probably the last visual of my Guitar that remains.

4 thoughts on “Falling Down

  1. I know you will reach that 100 pretty soon. People don’t have that much courage every time, they are taken back by their failure but we have seen you grow and we know that you are NOT one of them. You have always fought your battle, so what you have to start your game from 1, but we all know that you gonna do it. And that will be an answer to this whole world who has mocked at the profession of “gaane bajane vala”.
    ALL THE VERY BEST.

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  2. While there is nothing to be said about your struggle (the struggle in itself, is an entire story of a lifetime), it is also true that a mere profession does not make anyone respectable. But, you can not expect everyone see eye to eye with the fact that your courage and fight for passion makes you more respectable than the average people who enjoy their lives in the comfort of their so-called “respectable professions”. This goes in line with the very known saying “You can never please everyone”. Also, does it really matter how the people who don not know you and your struggle, look at you, or, how the people who know both of these are looking at you? I hope you the answer. 🙂
    There could not have been a more apt title to this piece than “Falling Down”; but a further more apt title to your attitude could be “Falling Down and Rising Up-Time and Again”!!!
    Keep going and let no set-back actually set you back!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. saurabh ji I don’t have words to reduce your pain but have a belief that one day you will be sharing the sucess stories against all these Snakes which will inspire million others so buk up & move on nothing can stop u …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. saurabh..bro i can relate to this story so much..even though i have been in a respectable profession but i am now entering into this new territory of music creation..on my own rules..by my own volition..and trust me this is an amazing, much more fulfilling and peaceful ride that anything i have done till now..i probably didn’t have the courage to chuck a comfy profession with decent income when i entered medicine,, but yeah life has come a full circle and i am ready to take things chest up this time

    i really really love this cover version on one of my favourite tracks..some neat guitar playing and editing there..wish we can work together sometime brother!

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