If you are reading this post, I bet my billion bucks you do not know me personally. Ask my acquaintances about my traits and they are sure to list atleast a couple of these:
“She walks fast” (some say ‘funny‘)
“She is short” (some add ‘stout‘, thanks to my ever-increasing postpartum weight)
“Her wedding – it happened in an unusual way”
“She has the gruffest voice” (or anything else that would define a hoarse, loud voice with thick, native accent)
The latter trait of mine always bothered me since childhood. Most of the women I know have gifted vocals, the rest speak in an adorably proportionate mix of accent and intonation, thus making the outcome sweet enough for ears to hear. Mine stood apart from both, obviously not in a better way.
I have had awkward experiences with landline phones. Out of all the landline calls I’ve attended ever in life, almost three-fourth of the callers mistook my voice as my father’s, when they called for the first time. This, combined with the incessant mockery of sophomores around added fuel to my diffidence.
After marriage, this dark insecurity only grew deeper, when my high-handed brother shared an audio with Dr.H, that he had recorded when I insanely sang an old-fashioned malayalam song in a rather earsplitting pitch, during a family get together. The incident happened decades ago when I was too young to differentiate people’s sarcastic laughter with appreciative smiles. Though it never really hurts being ridiculed by the closest people of mine, the diffidence didn’t fail to grow. At some point, I even stopped bathroom singing for I didn’t want to be mistaken for a man by my own family.
But a part of me died when I didn’t let myself sing aloud. I always enjoyed singing. It is such a liberation to give life to the right lyrics with the right tune. I love lyrics over tune, when it comes to songs. Intense lyrics ignite the music that carries it. My state of servitude to my overbearing state of diffidence made me restless. Eventually I got used to the non-singing days. Meanwhile, life posed too many challenges and made this subtle feeling almost negligible.
Shortly after baby D’s debut, a welcoming change happened. As a mom, I had to lull him to sleep everytime he showed signs to hit the bed. My first attempt to sing a lullaby happened in the hospital when the super hungry baby D failed to latch onto my bosom properly. I was unprepared for such a painful incident on the first day of motherhood. It was excruciating to see the little one crave for food on his very first day of entering the good world. Every mom (especially first time moms) can relate to this. With tear-filled eyes and torn heart, all I could do at that moment was to attempt to comfort the crying baby with a lullaby. It occurred instinctively and God only knows how my firmly established insecurities suddenly sundered and set me free from my self-drawn limits. The heart was heavier than the texture of my voice and it should have been the reason, I believe.
It’s been almost an year since I have resumed singing at the top of my voice, this time with no fear of being judged or ridiculed. I don’t care if anyone is bothered, the tiny earthling I created loves my songs and even prefers them over the best songs of renowned singers all around the globe. He needs my gruffest voice (or anything else that would define a hoarse, loud voice with thick, native accent) to complete his day. I’ve never felt more successful in life.
Now I lull for two reasons. One, to put my child to sleep. Two, to relive the bygones when I was too young to differentiate people’s sarcastic laughter with appreciative smiles.
This post wouldn’t have been born, if Dr.H hadn’t appreciated my “Silent Night….” lullaby during dinner. Though I am unsure if he told that to hog the extra french fries without having to wage a war 😀