The Spirit of Bodhi Tree

… and I’m back in Bodhi Tree.
The reasons are too complicated, and anyway this post is not about why I left last year or why I re-joined this year.

Last night, I was trying to find some sleep at about 00-15am (too early by standards), my window was open, when suddenly the sound of a guitar being strummed and male voices streamed in like light through the window.

I got up, changed, and made my way up the stairs that lead to the music, conflicting emotions raising hell inside me as usual.

I pushed open the door and walked in to find Shubham strumming, and both Shubham and Vistar were singing. Not much of a Hindi-music-knower (or even English for that matter), so to speak, I had no idea what they were singing. A laptop was lying open on a folded rubber sheet, and some lyrics were on it. These guys were sitting on some chairs haphazardly arranged.

I went closer, and bent down to take a closer look at the laptop, and read the lyrics of a song called Kandisa, (by Indian Ocean, Shubham later told me). Manan walked in and joined them. Kandisa was followed by ‘I want to Fly’ and ‘Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai’ and a couple of other songs.

And I listened, my head turning from one to the other as they un-self-consciously sang, fully enjoying what they were doing.

Between them, were: one guitar, two mikes, three guys and a simple passion for music that I listened to and tried to understand. It wasn’t a public performance, it wasn’t the poshest of settings, there was no stage, they weren’t singing for or because of anything.

It was disconcerting.

They were simply singing, three people, united by a love for music, utterly, simply happy to sing in that room at at 30 minutes past midnight, uncaring of who was listening to them downstairs, and jamming in no particular structured order.

It was initially beyond me. And I’ll tell you why.

Here I was.
I’d spent sixteen years learning a classical form of music.
I’d spent eleven years performing that form.
I’d sang solo and group on the stage.
I’d thought real music didn’t exist beyond what I’d learnt painstakingly for years and years.
Structure, formal learning, practice, my keywords to music.

And here were three guys with one guitar and some mikes, in an unfurnished room inside XL, singing away to their hearts’ content.

And here was the crux: This was real music too. As real as it gets. They loved it. They sang it. Simple.

And with that came the dawning realization – the spirit of Bodhi Tree- which I hadn’t understood in a whole year. Or maybe it’s my interpretation of the spirit.

It doesn’t matter what you sing.
It doesn’t matter if it’s on stage or off stage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re singing after years of practice, or an off-key singer in the mood to experiment.
It doesn’t matter.

What matters?
To love music, to breathe music.
That’s all that matters.

And to me, since past midnight yesterday, that’s become the spirit of Bodhi Tree.
Feel free to disagree- this is my interpretation of it.

I learn, and I grow. 🙂


7 thoughts on “The Spirit of Bodhi Tree

  1. Can relate to this, but still somehow, the love for music matters most.

    But somehow the classical form of music I started learning so late in life..the music I got initiated to even when there were hardly any serious lovers at home, the music I have been learning this far remains close to me, inspite of other forms. Nothing against anything else, but somehow, this is close to my heart – the one I turn to when I want to sit down after a long day, when I feel down, when I am in the best of moods and the worst of moods..the first phrase with that haunting Gamakam of the Thodi Gandharam brings tears..


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