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A song for every mood


I was born in India, more than fifty years ago. I have been living in the US, on and off, for the last thirty. 2020 seems to have been a year, like no other. As I write this piece, my mind is running in a million directions.

On the personal front, my daughter turned 21 last December and my son turned 18, this march. We were hoping for a joint celebration. Then, the lockdown was announced. My mother in law passed away just before the lockdown. Mourning has been very difficult, The song , "Jeevan ka matlab to, aana aur jaana hai"played in my head for a long time (translation - the meaning of life is to come and go). Instead of grieving, we try and share happy memories and keep her alive by our deeds of kindness.

When I look around me, the pandemic has dictated how we spend every day. Science has advanced so much, yet we had 2020 full of illness and deaths. What use are AI or the latest advancements in medicine if we cannot contain a virus from spreading? Other countries succeeded, with social and political will. The US is supposed to be the richest country with the smartest minds and yet, people believe Corona to be "fake news"? It is so sad. "Yeh jeevan hai, is jeevan ka, yah hai rang roop. Thode gum hain, thodi khushian" (translation - this is life, these are its colors and shapes, there are some sad moments and some happy ones)

In India, marriages between individuals of different religions are being criminalised. The song , "Allah tero nam, ishwar tero nam, sabko sanmati de bhagwan" (translation - Allah is your name, (Hindu) god is your name, give everyone good sense) is all I could think of, reading distressing news.

On the political front, when hope was lost in 2016, a reversal seems to have started with the 2020 US presidential election results. Hence, at the end of a tough year, there is hope. The year 2020 seems to be ending with sentiments expressed in the song "Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai" which translates to "today, again, there is a desire to live."

During quarantine, our family of four, has been studying and working from home. We have ben taking walks and going on drives around the neighborhood. My children play their play lists and music takes us back to India of their childhood. Some of these songs that come to and play in my mind were from Hindi movies made much before they were born. Yet, as I get older, the lyrics play an equally important role as the music. We all believe, this too shall pass. We hope unnecessary lives will not be lost any more.

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