One among the many therapies and techniques jostling for space in my brave New Age lifestyle is music therapy. Of late the media has devoted plenty of space to the therapeutic powers of listening to ancient mantras and esoteric modern compositions.
Many scientific studies have been concluded to substantiate these claims and I believe them all. So when music store shelves beckon me with promises of salvation through sound, I find them irresistible.
Quite a collection I have out there, so which one do I listen to when I’m feeling down and out? None. I hang out on my balcony, stare out into the sky and sing, “Gam diye mustakil, kitna naazuk hai dil” all the way to a doleful “Hai, hai ye zaalim zamaana”.
I am yet to find a cassette or CD that can beat that for instant healing. There is nothing like the occasional sad song to bring solace. Always, the song that comes to the lips is the one that expresses true feelings.
Like Neil Diamond huskily warbled many decades ago in his Song Sung Blue, “Funny thing/ That you can sing/ With a cry in your voice/ Before you know it/ You get the feeling good/ You simply have no choice”.
There is plenty of healing concealed in simple bathroom singing. It helps us connect with our innermost being. Random singing often connects us to the happier, more carefree times in our lives.
Or sometimes we snatch the catchiest phrase or beat of a recent hit that resonates with our current frame of mind. Bathroom singing is music therapy at its unconditional best. And what works at the individual level works for groups too.
Each family has its own treasure chest of numbers — that worn-to-death song Babli Chachi or Montu Mama always sang for family get-togethers, the train journey song, or that middle-of-the-night summer holidays song gustily belted by all the cousins in unison.
Lasting relationships stand on the memories created by singing together. No one ever grows beyond the emotional tug of their school song or national anthem.
And all religions have a tradition of singing together in some form — bhajans, hymns, carols, sacred chants, hosannas, gurbani. Music therapy has been around for longer than we believe and the best dose is always available in that bathroom.