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Sunday, 5 November 2017

NaBloPoMo 2017: Day 5: Hitting the Right Note

“Amma, listen to this,” he calls. 

I pause what I’m doing and move closer to the laptop. We listen to a medley he’s created by altering existing music tracks and mixing them up, using some program called Virtual DJ . It’s for one of his friends who’s participating in a solo dance competition during the upcoming school cultural events. 

“How is it?” asks my son.

“Sounds good,” I say.

“Do I have some talent in this?” he asks.

It’s a delicate moment because I can sense the hope behind the question. At the same time, I know that whatever my answer, he will dissect it, trying to confirm that I’m being honest with him.

“I don’t know so much about music and remixing and all that,” I start tentatively. “So, I can’t really say if you have talent or not. All I can tell you is that it sounds good to my ears. But I think you should be asking your friend if he’s actually happy with it and can fit his dance steps to the sounds you’ve created.”

A phone call interrupts our conversation. It’s the friend who’s going to dance. Turns out the chap is quite happy overall, but wants some tweaking here and there, so they discuss it a bit and my son modifies his medley a bit.

Later, he turns back to me.

“When my friend dances to this music, everyone will appreciate his dance. He may get a prize even if he’s really good. But no one will know about my music,” he says wistfully.

I’m bite my tongue to stop myself from offering some homily about how the satisfaction of having done a work well is more than enough. Because he’s a teenager – and at that age, recognition from peers matters. A lot.

Instead of giving him philosophy, I offer a suggestion, “Maybe you can tell your friend to announce after his dance that you created the music for him?”

But his mind has already run far ahead of mine and found an answer that satisfies him. After all, from the time he was old enough to start getting frustrated by something going wrong, I’ve been drilling it into his head that ‘Every problem has a solution, we just need to think and find it.’

He tells me, “It’s okay if everyone doesn’t come to know about me. Anyway, the others in our friends circle will congratulate this guy and say the music was too good, and he’ll tell them I created it….so they will come to know.”

I turn away so he doesn’t see my smile at the outrageous level of confidence in that statement. And I realize this is one thing necessary for someone to be adaptable - aspiring not for the impossible peak, but for just enough to meet one's need.

I’m glad that like most times, he hasn’t disappointed me – he’s found a solution that works for him and helps him make his peace. I only pray that this attitude sustains him through the ups and downs that life may bring his way.

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