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The Humming of the Strings: An Ode to My Sitar by Reetobaan Datta

Art by Henri Matisse

You stepped in from the yellow window Lingering through the verandah On a wet monsoon evening. From the small alleyways of Dover Lane, You are the melody Abiding in the thousand hearts That run wild Woodstock Unto myriad houses Through laptop screens and a cold earphone. You stepped in my messy dorm room As I sat in the corner with an old cereal bowl Bringing in a kaleidoscope of memories Of my white kurta clad grandfather Putting on a record of Pt Ravi Shankar. Sitting in his armchair Rocking to the rising pace of the Antara He fell asleep as the tune slowed to a comfortable pace, With a news paper open wide over his chest. The cigarette fallen in the ashtray And the black coffee voided of its warmth. Having you stretch from my knees Bowed sitting cross legged To the left hand with which I fix you In my possession Transforms the havoc that plays in my heart Into a calm pacific peace. I hold you dear because when my fingers strum Your rusted strings, There is music. There is poetry in each tune Which you resonate And happiness in each little cut you leave on my finger. I know not a raga which could do justice To your magnificent dhwani But know that however little I could manage To put into your strings what was left on paper by maestros of thousand years made You have always given me release. Poetry has always been there To express my sadness and melancholy You are there too. To relieve it.

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