The Song of Death by Charles G Chettiar

Oct 02 2016 Published by under The WiFiles

When we speak about dreams, there is a pessimistic shadow always at the back of the head that they may not be achieved. That they will be evey difficult to find. Everyone has a dream, even the most commonplace among us. It was the same with Avaranya Mistry, who wanted to be a PhD in music.

She could create valuable music, had won accolades from her building and friends, but without any commercial success. For that she came to know that her knowledge should be more than plain knitty-gritty and like a child’s. With the confidence which her parents had instilled in her about educaton, she decided to do a PhD in music and as she progressed with it was less than surprised to see her music grow. Side by side she was preparing her own score maybe for a superhit movie, and if rejected there, had plans to bring out her own album.

She knew that academic success didn’t matter much, but was thus surprised to find that the more academically successful she became, she had such vivid and mesmerizing inspirations that she shat and composed. And towards the end of her labors was a terrifically written and beautifully thought score.

Then she saw great talent laid waste. Then she saw real genius entrapped I his own failings. Then she saw what had happened to one of the greatest conductors of an erstwhile opera.

He was locked in his own world unable to get out, to feel the fresh air, see the beautiful rose and scarlet sunset. He by shutting himself in oblivion had bereaved himself of the basic inspiration by which music is composed.

…I hear him on the violin,” said his landlady, a rigorous lady, even though in her early sixties. “Beautiful music. But he only plays when the pangs hit him, it seems.”

Her thoughtful eyes grew graver than usual and she stared at her bespectacled visitor.

“He is not violent, is he?”

“Of course not!” said the landlady. “Otherwise I would have admitted him to the mental hospital long back. You can go & see. He is a very good mannered man.”

The staircase lay in front of her. It creaked and shuddered with her every step. She knocked.

From within came a resounding “Yes”.

He was not a wasted wreck which she had imagined. He was not in any alcoholic stupor. The room was immaculately clean, and not littered with empty liquor bottles. A lone ceiling fan was noisily rotating above a wooden writing table in the centre of the room. A bespectacled man was sitting beside it with a book.

“How can I help you?”

“I am Avaranya Mistry. I am doing a thesis on Mozart’s unrevealed music. For that I want your help.”

“First will you please sit down?”

Avaranya took a seat beside the bed.

“It’s been a long time since I had company. I like it that way.”

Avaranya unconsciously was grooming her hair. She was a little on edge. Meeting a musician who was said to be reincarnation of Mozart, anyone would have be fidgety.

“Why have you locked yourself Mr. Kashinami?”

The old man on the bed knotted his brows.

“Are you a reporter? IF YOU ARE THEN THE DOOR IS THERE!”

Avaranya stared. She hadn’t expected such violence from the frail bed ridden man.

“No, no, no, Mr. Kashinami. As I told you I am a PhD student doing a thesis on Mozart’s unrevealed music.”

“Prove it!”

Avaranya showed him her college ID.

“It can be forged,” said the bespectacled wasted man.

“In that corner,” continued Mr. Kashinami, “you will find a piano and written music. Let’s see if you can play it.”

Avaranya was playing the piano from age seven. She started with delicate chords, and felt the tempo build up. The song was coaxing her finger to be fluidic and even fluidier. She started playing consciously but lost her consciousness and became one with the task. Nothing mattered to her, nothing was of an importance except to keep strumming the piano, and keep increasing the tempo of the music. She was in such a state that she wanted more and more. But music in front of her stopped. The music was not complete. Climax of the song was missing.

“You have some talent, girl,” said the man on the bed. “Take a Xerox, and take these sheets with you. As your correctly guessed it is one fo the pieces which Mozart wrote just before pieces which Mozart wrote just before his death. He only wrote the intro. The rest around 95% of it is my contribution. Take it girl, and complete it!

Avaranya hesitated, but anyhow asked. “Why sir you won’t complete it?”

Kashinami showed his rheumatic hands and said, “ I don’t write music anymore. Take that diary on the table. They have my notes. Goodbye, Miss Mistry.”

**********************

The diary was a wealth of information. Before she finally got to the Mozart’s unfinished Sonata, she browsed and copied Kashinami’s scribbles. They were all scribbles, but if a Bollywood music director came across it, then he would be surely able to churn out at least music for ten different movies.

She saw that Kashinami had changed some of the chors. She didn’t know why. Senility, she thought. She corrected the chords and went for luck.

********************

Avaranya was ecstatic. In her hand was Mozart’s unfinished score. The score, which was touted as a masterpiece, only if it had been completed. After checking the authenticity of the piece, from the library. So Mr. Kashinami was not lying. He surely had the original Mozart’s score, with instructions to finish it. Mr. Kashinami was genuine.

He had not told her by when to finish it. But she wanted it to be ready at least two months before her thesis presentation, so that she could vet it from Kashinami & do the necessary changes if any.

She set down to work feverishly. Te best way to compose she had come to know was while playing. She started the piece in her hostel room. The reverberations of the music continued from the tip of her finger, to her eardrums, to her mind and then deep within her. The music was so soothing that her inner being got freer and freer as she proceeded. And then the tempo started and conveyed her to a stare which had no equivalent words in any language. The only language which could express it was music and she was speaking it.

Just then the cords ended and Avaranya came out of the trance. Strangely, her heart was aflutter and her body had gone cold. When she tried to get up she collapsed on the floor in a heap. Only by slowly wriggling her toes and gingers, little by little, she was able to bring warmth back to her limbs and body.

Then she knew that the music was really a masterpiece. A masterpiece which would convey the hearer to a location and make them forget the existing world.

She didn’t attempt another go at the piece. She had written scores which could be used fo twenty different albums, but this score evaded her.

And then a mere 65 days before the thesis deadline, she got the breakthrough. She started with the writing after attempting the score in half. She realized that with the original notes it became very difficult to get out of the trance and so she replaced those with what Mr. Kashinami had wrote. With that the music just flowed out of her and the score was complete.

The only thing remaining was the draft which would take a maximum of three days. Her first draft was already complete. The missing link was the score in her hands. After its addition, it would be over.

She was so enthusiastic that she couldn’t wait to show it to Mr. Kashinami. Long had he wallowed in obscurity, but it would soon be the end of it. A composer of his mettle couldn’t be allowed to be obscure; couldn’t be allowed to waste away. She would convince him. Maybe he could get a Nobel or a Bharat Ratna for his contributions.

“You completed it, girl?” asked Kashinami.

Avaranya nodded and said, “Yes sir. The music is just mind blowing.”

“Literally,” he said. He smiled.

Avaranya positioned the papers in front of the piano and started the piece. It started like dripping water, which then became a stream, which then became a rivulet and then became a river. It went higher and higher, but it still had no limit. The flow was building up slowly and slowly. The reverberations of the music originated from the tip of her fingers, to her eardrums, to her mind and then deep within. The music was so soothing that her inner being got freer and freer. The tempo continued building up and conveyed her to a state which had no equivalent words in any language. The only language which could express it was music & she was speaking it. she went on higher & higher and when the end note of the climax was reached in a shattering crescendo, all she saw was a blinding light.

********************

The bodies of Avaranya Mistry & Jaibhoom Kashinami, were found by Mr. Kashinami’s landlady. The post mortem by the police only revealed that both had died of heart failure. The score was taken in by the police as evidence, and remained in the Mumbai police archives for quite some time before being released to the landlady, as Mr. Kashinami had bequeathed everything to his landlady as a mark of gratitude for allowing a failed but non-famous music star to stay under her roof. The shrewd landlady sold the remainder of Mr. Kashinami’s estate to a Bollywood music director for a sum, considered hefty by some standards.

THE END

Bio: I am an Engineer by circumstance and writer by choice. I work in Engineering in Mumbai. I started writing short stories when in college, and have just now completed my first novel. My fiction genres include, horror, fantasy, political thrillers & historical. I am looking out for a publisher at present and working on my second book.

 

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