This poem is about wandering singers. When it comes to musicians there are various types. In India, music can be traced to a very ancient culture. Today, people go to concerts and crave for western style of music. But Indian wandering singers had a rich tradition of going around to all places and spreading folk music. They do not have a set up space as office or studio, rather are free to tread where the voice of the wind calls them. They become one with nature. They go by their intuition and go where nature takes them. They are a band of musicians who wander from place to place singing songs that carry a message; they do not have a home or any fixed place of stay.
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A wandering singer with her lute!
The singers feel that the sound of the wind invites them to forests and streets. That is their call to start their musical journey. They hear the sounds repetitively as it keeps ringing in their ears. One lives a monotonous life when they keep working on a routine and schedules. The wandering singers get to experience new stories and adventures regularly, as they live in the present and do not look up to saving for the future. They work for their passion. The wandering singers carry many instruments in their hands, one of which is the lute. A lute is similar to a mandolin. They roam around singing songs with their lutes. They treat everybody they meet as their own family or relations, as they do not have a particular family or home. The whole wide world is their home.
The wandering singers do not sing about random entities. They have a purpose of reaching every far corner of the nation and spread the news of different stories to them. Every incident that happens in our life is a story. Each of our lives are intertwined with such stories. The aim of these singers is to give a tune to this and spread them. In the olden days, people did not have any mass media. These singers were their source of information and entertainment. The wandering singers adopt themes for their songs about cities whose glorious past have been forgotten; about the past lives of noble, happy and beautiful women; about mighty battles and the kings who fought with bravery; finally they also sang about happy, simple and sorrowful day-to-day matters that touched everyone's hearts.
Themes included ancient cities, noble women, glorious sword battles, happiness and sorrow!
They talked about cities whose lustre is shed, as many cities were affected by wars and famines and they make them live through their songs, although they have been destroyed. They also sing about the women who have been long dead. Women's stories are rarely heard as people only focus on topics like war or sports. Women are trivialised for their experiences. Unless someone talks about their struggles and laughter, people might not be aware of them. They also talk about the swords of old battles and crowns of old kings. In today's world, we are aware of battles like kurushethra, emperors like Akbar or Shivaji. This is because their stories have been sung around as fables. They do not limit their songs to only happy or sad topics. They sing about all kinds of things in life, which are simplistic and real. The poet conveys that their songs covered many subjects like beauty, history, glory, bravery, happiness and sorrow.
The wandering singers do not hope or plan for the future like others. Most human beings live their life in pursuit of something. We expect things to happen according to our will and get fed up if they do not go by our plans. We also believe that it is the hopes of the future that makes us move on in life. If one does not have hope in life, we believe that we might lose faith in life. But the wandering singers do not go by this philosophy. They believe that no one can predict the next moment in life and therefore take life as it comes. They do not gather any hope as that might create expectations. They do not sow dreams as well. They do not have great dreams as they live life as it comes.
They walk in the direction of the wind - no fixed destination or destiny!
They do not have a fixed destiny nor do they know where they are going. They focus on the journey and not the destination. They wander around wherever they feel nature takes them. Their feet tread on places the wind calls them to. There is nothing that can make them stay in a place. There is nobody waiting for them. There is no love or happiness that can be offered to them to make them move. Their destiny changes according to the direction of the winds. They are not aimless people, but aim to live life one thing at a time, rather than having high expectations or judging anything.
The voice of the wind is the voice of their fate!
*Sound courtesy: https://www.freesoundeffects.com/free-track/windhowl-428704/