Shyla was waiting that day for her very special mail. No it was not an E-mail (as most of you must’ve thought in this tech-savvy world),it was to be a letter from a very special person.
She was really small at that time when her teacher pointed out to her.You..she looked amazed as she couldn't think how was she being called out from the whole class of 50 students and that too by her new class teacher.It was the batch of 1987-1988. She stood up and replied “Yes mam”.Her teacher said “You are pretty good at singing aren't you, I have heard you sing in many competitions and festivals though you never have sung a single song in the school.” She looked at her teacher surprised. Yes she has sung quite a number of songs in the functions and competitions of the colonies held on some special festivals but she never thought someone might have noticed her so intently.
She was not sure of giving a yes in front of so many students in her class. She liked to be alone and never did she mix up with any girl in her class. But she had a best friend named Neha who exclaimed out after some moments of pause “Yes mam she sings really well.” Now Shyla was not in a position to say no as her best friend had announced of the thing in the class.
Her class teacher was evidently there music teacher. She was in class ninth at that time and the students were asked out to fill in the information regarding what would they like as there extra-curricular activity. Shyla filled in interior decoration as she was being accompanied by her best friend there. When there classes started off after the summer vacations, the first day they had last two periods of activity(extra that they have chosen). Names were being called out for each student to go in their respective activities. The list of interior decoration was finished and never did name of Shyla was said. She asked her mam and she replied “Shyla you are in the music activity”. Again she was left in amazement. Neha was happy for her and convinced her to accept their teacher’s decision .She started learning what ever was taught to her. She loved music from a very small age only and hummed herself some songs basically when she was stressed out and wanted to become one with herself. Now this was something else to sing in front of your mam and some students. There were five students in the class of music including her. Her teacher knew about her singing as she lived in their locality only and one day she asked Shyla in the school to visit her place.
She walked in that evening to Mrs. Nathans place, She greeted her with a good evening and she instructed her to sit down. Then she asked Shyla “Are you afraid of singing in front of your teacher and the girls who know you? Your classmates I mean”
She smiled a bit uneasily and let out a sigh. So Mrs. Nathan gave in more subtle hints as to she really wanted her talent to grow and unfurl into something big and deserving for her.
She began saying “I like to sing for the once I know who would accept me and my classmates….There was a long paused moment and Mrs. Nathan said continue Shyla.She began again “They have never accepted me as I am besides neha and she is my best friend and I am afraid of the teasing and disgrace that they would shower me with” Mrs. Nathan said “hmm there seems to be a big problem in there, if you are afraid of rejection then you won’t rise my dear”.
She held her breathe and said with a heaviness in her words “I wish to sing in front of you but I won’t like it in front of even those 4 students in the music class.” Mrs. Nathan smiled and said “ Oh! That’s wonderful I will give you classes in my home but I won’t charge you and you should be regular.If you are ready for this deal then I accept your beginning.” Shyla was unusually happy and she said “yes”
And after that day she had begun her journey, she learnt her voice of soul more deeply with Mrs. Nathan. They were never friendly and didn’t knew about each others family, they just connected on the ground of music. May be they never felt they should know more than with what they would connect with each other. It was a very chilly winter evening and Mrs. Nathan had been keeping unwell for a while these days. Now Shyla was in class twelfth and she didn’t knew how she had covered so many years with Mrs. Nathan.Wrapped up in a leather jacket Shyla showed up on the door on the very date of 14-December-1990. Mrs. Nathan’s daughter opened the door. Madhumita(as her mam used to call out to her daughter sometimes) in age of 22 was a beautiful lady with curly,black hairs, and a sweet voice. She told Shyla to wait for sometime as today her mother would take some time to come to that room as she was unwell. She sat down and for the first time she really noticed her surrounding, the music room of Mrs. Nathan. It was beautifully decorated with portraits of ladies holding different instruments adorned on a cream color wall. The mats were arranged in a very simple and neat fashion. As she was going to look at the tanpura kept on her side she saw Mrs. Nathan coming. Mrs. Nathan smiled at her and asked “ how is the winter treating you my dear?” She smiled back and replied “ Mrs. Nathan I love the winters”. Mrs. Nathan said “oh! That’s wonderful even I enjoy winters very much but this time the winter is being cruel to me.” First time in the long course of time they had talked something besides music. Mrs. Nathan said I shall not be able to teach you today but I want to talk to my long taught student. “How are your preparations for the boards this time Shyla?” She replied “I have covered all the chapters in the course book but still have the need of revision at this point of time. You are a good student aren’t you.I have seen you perform very well in the ninth standard that I was your class teacher.” Shyla shyly replied “mam that wasn’t the best by me”. Mrs. Nathan laughed and said “so what you will be? Rising sensation in the world of singing? I assure you ,Your mother and father will be proud of you.” Tears began to float in eyes of Shyla. Mrs. Nathan was worried and instantly said “why are your eyes streaming up my dear?”
Shyla replied “ I have been brought up by my big sister from the age of 7 years and I lost my parents in an accident” And her voice was choked after that and Mrs. Nathan put her arms around Shyla and hugged her consoling like a mother. She said to Mrs. Nathan “this is a really special winter day as I feel your warmth as that of my mother I have felt that ten years before.” That day onwards Mrs. Nathan became her mother and she asked about any problem that she might had have and treated her like her daughter. She got so much from Mrs. Nathan that she didn’t want neither of them to be separated by the stroke of destiny and time. That Christmas Shyla spent a warm, happy, loving day with her mam whom now she called ma and she was also accompanied by her big sister Parul. Mrs. Nathan treated Parul all the more same as Shyla. But Shyla had created a special place in Mrs. Nathan’s heart that winter.
Today it has been twenty years, and by the stroke of time and destiny Shyla had to go away from her ma, she was dilapidated that day it was another happy day of winter and it was going to be the new year in some moments when her ma exclaimed “this new year I want to give you a surprise my dear.” She asked “what is it ma?” She replied “I have been called up by a very famous music artist of down south but he gives music for hindi films too. And I had some cassettes of your melodious voice that I recorded and had sent them to him. He has chosen you to sing for an album and this would give you a nice break.” As the clock struck twelve and it turned the date 1-jan-1995 she was left in a dilemma. She didn’t want her ma’s dream of seeing Shyla as a singer be broken and as well as she didn’t wanted to move away from her. Now it was daily routine to visit her ma as a worshipper visits pilgrimage each day without a miss. She thought of that winter day when she was given a new life by getting a mother and today the day in winter when she had to make a hard choice. And the result was as obvious to her she was sent by her ma to the planned place and her sister Parul was in complete union and consent for her sister to become something. Now it has been almost five years away from her ma and she has overcome the fear of rejection in these years marking upon the words of her ma.
And today is the same winter date 14-December-2000(just that the year has changed but not the feeling of that special day) that she had called Mrs. Nathan her ma and was waiting for her ma’s letter. It came really late than Shyla thought and her bubbles of thoughts dissolved when the post-man was on the door. She hurried off to the post-man and signed as soon as possible to get her letter. This was one of the fixed day that she knew that she would receive a letter. She tore open the envelope and took out the letter to read.
This is Madhumita writing the letter this time. I have known you for so long and you have become like a sister to me the day my mother decided to make you her daughter. She always used to talk about you when she felt a bit unwell, about that winter day (which is today as you receive the letter). Her eyes used to light up whenever she used to talk about you. The day she sent you down in
, she had a smile on her face, but as soon as you left she cried like a baby. But that pain was nothing in front of the hope of seeing you as a successful girl as you are today. You have become a great sensation now; from the time you had started your career she used to tell away all the people that see that’s my daughter. You had a huge concert in Mumbai last week and you couldn’t contact her on Sunday the same week. She told me not to dial your number even when she was counting on her last breathes. I couldn’t go against her will. She was awfully unwell this week and she had some last words for you saying “Shyla now I know that people have accepted you whole-heartedly and you are no more afraid of rejection and I am happy that I could get such a priceless position of mother in your life. And I want you to know that the day you entered my class in ninth standard I knew you were to become something and I am really proud that you didn’t let my insights go wrong. I love you my dear and shall always be present with you in your heart and soul and you shall not hesitate of being rejected and you shall see that you would rise much more higher than the stars.” Bangalore
These were the last words from her mouth and she died. I have the same grievance as you might be having right now and I wish you to accompany me this winter day.
By the time she had read the contents she had the same amount of tears welling her eyes up as she had that winter day…..And now she hurried to the place of her ma as soon as she could to see her face the last time and accompany her sister Madhumita this winter day and to give her the warmth and compassion that once Mrs. Nathan had given her.
There have been many days in my life,,
Some go gloomy, others turn gay.
Your delicious dosa and chutney,
And I made those horrible idli’s that day.
The day I got you Mrs. Nathan in my life .
The day you taught me the song notes right.
All days have been very dear with you,
But none such as that winter day.
When I called you ma and ,
Even got some words from you ,
Bidding me only a earthly good bye..