Monday, 26 May 2008

A Little Morning Music

One morning about two weeks ago, I woke to the sound of someone whistling Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The first thing that struck me was how wonderfully melodious the whistling was. The second thing that struck me was the incongruity of whistling Spring when it was thirty-three degrees in the shade. The third thing that struck me (for by then I had left my bed and stepped out into the corridor where the whistling was coming from) was a question: How in the world had a sweeper picked up a tune from a western classical concerto?

I’ve heard him on several mornings since then. He empties waste-bins and dabs at spots on the floor, while the music ripples and trills and arpeggioes with the wild, free grace of birdsong. Almost always, he whistles popular Bollywood tunes. The Spring Concerto appears to be the only classical piece in his repertoire. But there still remained the puzzling question of where he had picked it up.

Like Father Brown in The Point of a Pin, I solved this problem in my sleep. I was lying in bed vaguely wondering if it was time to get up yet, when through my layers of drowsiness, I heard that tune from the Spring Concerto floating in, not from the corridor, but through the window. And it was an electronic monophony, a pale shadow of the vivaciously whistled melody I’d become accustomed to hearing.

I rushed to the window. A car which stays parked below our hostel was reversing, and this was its warning music. The sweeper was not, after all, a closet connoisseur of Western classical.

“High” culture permeates our world in the strangest of ways.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rahul Saha said...
What can you expect when we have albums such as "Chill with Chopin" and "Bach for Bed" for all those wannabe classical music types (arrey ye western classical he ji)

the boy said...