Of Inspiration and Imagination


Me when I sit down to write
Me when I sit down to write

Today, probably everybody listens to music. I do too and while I am not fanatically hunting for the latest music I do enjoy good, meaningful music. Sometimes, that means listening to stuff that’s ‘old’. Over and over. If that’s what it takes to get motivated or inspired.

Now, when I say ‘old’, as soon as I even drop a hint of ‘old’ there’s usually a lot of people who go, ‘seriously?’ and ‘whaaaaaat?’. But seriously, don’t get me wrong, but I find this so – called ‘old’ music much meaningful than most new – age music, be it Bollywood or the West. I mean, if people say that a piece of exceptional art or a good joke never get old, then how does a good bit of music get old? Just because it was composed long back? Today, even six month old music is deemed old by some. I just don’t get the concept.

Coming to the point, I recently started listening to old American music. Stuff like David Bowie, Hall and Oates, Jose Gonzalez, The Arcade Fire, and the ilk. As I listened to more of their songs, I discovered so many songs that actually have a story to say and though these stories may be really wacky and far – fetched at first you really come to appreciate and laud the creativity and originality over time, especially if you’re looking for meaning in music. The recently released movies ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and ‘American Hustle’ are really good examples of movies having an awesome collection of the good ol’ retro music, and while music from the latter is quite crude as compared to to ‘Walter Mitty’ it is still really good.

It is this kind of music that really gets me motivated and inspired. I usually listen to this kind of music while I take walks or I am in the bus or the car. I’ll probably have a playlist of just 10 – 20 songs I really love, but I wouldn’t mind listening to them over and over and I don’t get tired of them for a long time.

Three songs that always inspire me are Heroes (David Bowie), Space Oddity (again Bowie) and Far Away (Jose Gonzalez). There’s also a 30 – second – or – so piece at the middle of Maneater (Hall & Oates) that’s also really good.

When I listen to upbeat and just positive – sounding (I don’t know how else to put it) music as this, when any of us listen to such music we picture ourselves sailing through life, accomplish all we’ve dreamed of and achieve what we’ve aspired to achieve (I sure hope I’m not the only one who does this!). I particularly, see myself emerging from a negative point in my life, and rising against the odds and, you know, saving the day, so to say. That’s what our daydreams are probably filled up with too!

So, after about 480 words, here’s how I think that would look on paper:

“Keep your head in the game, man!” yelled the non – striker from the other end of the pitch. Incidentally, he was also the captain of the team. Rahul was on this end and he was facing the last over of the  match.

His team needed 13 runs off the last over to win the match and advance to the playoffs. The team had been in average form all throughout the tournament and had just scraped through in most of their wins. Despite this, they’d managed to get to a position of potentially making it to the playoffs. 13 runs in the last 6 balls is what stood between them though now the scoreboard read 13 from 5 since Rahul swung and missed the first ball.

The bowler came running in for the next ball. Rahul drew a deep breath. “Come on,” he said to himself.

He connected but he only got 2 runs. 11 from 4. 

The bowler moved a fielder from the 1st slip to gully. He began the run – up for the third time in the over. This time he came in slightly slow. The ball was pitched up outside off stump, but not up enough. Rahul flicked it towards third man but he got an outside edge and it didn’t carry all the way. The fielder at gully collected it to allow Rahul just a single.

10 from 3. 

The captain was on strike now. That’s all well and good since he’s the one who is supposed to lead by example, and they do so more often than not. Only in this situation, the captain was essentially a spin bowler and not much of a batsman. Rahul felt guilty for the first time in that match. He thought he shouldn’t have taken the single, or should have hit the ball a little harder so it could have crossed the boundary. 

He watched the bowler take a long look at the field setting and then at the batsman flattening the ground with his bat. He took his position and started running up. The ball was pitched at a short – ish length but it zipped quickly off the surface due to the dew. It came at waist height and the captain swung hard. He got a top edge and the ball went high into the air. It seemed to keep going up, up and up. Rahul started running since he had to be at the other side when the ball came down. It was an easy catch in the end, since it didn’t go very far laterally and it gave the fielder a lot of time to adjust.

Rahul slumped down. The captain flung his bat in despair. He did the best he could. Most of us try to give in our best, especially at things that really matter to us, but when that falls just a little short, that’s is the time when we really lose it. 

10 from 2. 

That single off the third ball made him feel more guilty than ever now. He had almost given up. Almost. This match, the game, mattered a lot to him and that’s what stood between him and complete loss of hope. He glanced at his team’s dugout. It was in a state of complete anguish, anger and helplessness. Everybody had their heads in their hands. He could see the coach sitting in a corner, looking at him. All hopes were pinned on Rahul. 

He didn’t know what to do. He had no idea what to think. He was overwhelmed. The celebrations were still going on when the bowler pushed one more fielder to the outfield to fill up the quota of four. He pushed the fielders inside the 30 – yard circle as away as he could, while keeping them in the circle. The bowler wanted to prevent the 4s and 6s but didn’t mind the 1s and 2s. 

The next two balls were a blur to Rahul. All he remembered was that he had swung as hard as he could. All he heard now were cheers all over the ground. All he read on the big screen was ‘VICTORY!’ in big, bold letters. He looked to the dugout and he saw everybody running  onto the field, towards him, cheering.

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