Guest Article: Music On Rails

Here's a guest article by my dear friend Keyur Seta. Check out his interesting train experience:

I have heard people say that music has no language although I always doubted it. In 2001, when I boarded a train for Jaipur from Mumbai Central station, I didn’t have an iota of idea that I would start believing in the saying. Many a times some pleasant experiences have happened with me in the most unexpected situations. This was one such instance.

When our train entered the territory of Rajasthan, I was all excited and eager to reach Jaipur. Just an hour or so before reaching the final destination, an usual sound startled me when I was busy appreciating nature during the journey. Initially it irritated me as I don’t like being disturbed when my eyes are fixed outside the window during a train journey. I saw it was some small time performer playing a musical instrument in order to raise money (I will never call him a beggar).

After half a minute of or so, I realized I started liking the sound. Then came the big splash! The man playing the musical instrument started singing. Within seconds my whole attention was hooked onto him as I was damn impressed by his voice and style.

The passion with which he sang, the pain and anguish in his voice, his dedication, all sent me in a musical trance from which I didn’t want to return. It was that kind of satisfaction which one experiences at a concert after paying a hefty amount for the ticket. But here it was, all for free. Well, not quite. I didn’t like enjoying the experience for free. I paid him before he even asked for it.

But in all this, where does the phrase ‘music has no language’ fit in? It does fit in for the man was singing in Rajasthani language. Because of this, I hardly understood his song or its meaning. But still, it produced one of the most long lasting and impressive effects on my mind. Hence, I started believing that music has no language. It all happened in a totally unexpected situation. Such is the magic of Indian Railways where almost every journey becomes memorable!