October 25, 2014

The Jazz in me.

     There are promises you make to yourself that you fail to keep.

     I broke my laptop. How? Because I am clumsy. And past few months have been exciting. Broken laptop and exciting months? Seems un-coherent but there is a connection; or so I think. Be patient.

     Though terrible at it I love writing. One of my cherished dreams has been to walk into a book store and see my name on a book tucked away on a shelf. I owe thanks to several people who have encouraged me. And in return I say thank you and do nothing. I feel terrible.

     Just few days ago I went to a music fest of a sort "Jazzmandu." My history with Jazz, I have to admit, has not been very good. My misgivings about Jazz had steamed from the handful of Jazz concerts and live performances that I had managed to dragged myself to (don't ask).

     Once I went to a Jazz bar in Shanghai - Cotton Bar if I remember correctly. Large crowd sat huddled over tables, waiting for the live performance to start. The hushed air was palpable with anticipation. We quietly beavered through the pool of tiny tables and grabbed the only available one - right in the front, barely a few feet away from where the musicians stood turning their instruments. Great, I thought agitatedly, calculating the meagre distance between me and the nearest musician, my ears were definitely in for some heavy-duty ringing. Some Jesus looking dude was on saxophone and my friends, Ozy and Jasmine, were tapping their legs. I gave them a wink and was happily pretending to like it (What's wrong with me?). Had to glug another glass of Long Island Iced Tea. But not even a potent mix of vodka, tequila, rum, gin and triple sec had been able to numb my senses. Only fun memory of that night is that we dined and dashed (I was younger and stupider; don't judge). And like I had known I woke up with a pair of ringing ears.

     That was 2011. So here I was in October of 2014; my friend suggested that I accompany him in Jazzmandu on 21st; his birthday. I said yes in a heartbeat. Firstly, because it's his birthday and I am really fond of him. Secondly, Jazzmandu is kind of big. So I got the tickets.

     21st October. We spent a day together; birthday boy and I. One of those days I can truly call meaningful. We reached Yala Maya Kendra dot on time. It was the burden of 2011 misgivings that I heaved on the shoulders of Jazzmandu upon my arrival. With plethora of Jazz bars dotting its historic landscape, Kathmandu has may Jazz lovers and Jazzmandu their Mecca.

     An atmospheric red-bricked hallway greeted us as I gingerly snuck in past the wine sipping audience. Excitedly took the seat on the 1st row (2011 all over again). Cadenza was playing tonight and I hold on to the fact that I love their music; I hold on to the fact that I was with a friend who means a lot to me. Rest I could ignore.
     The 1st movement, a moderate tempo, was unexpectedly light and within minutes, I found myself bringing my hands on my lap; tapping lightly. Several more minutes later as the piano embellished the notes of saxophone with the fusion of tabla, I found myself gradually leaning back, muscles of my body relaxing bit by bit. As the music reached its crescendo, I could feel my spine tingle and there they were - goosebumps dotting my arms. I looked at my friend and said "good birthday yeah."
     I found myself smiling when they fused "tabla and drums", "tabla and Brazilian beat-boxing." My legs sprung into motion as KJ (she was a goddess on stage) started singing in her powerful voice. I promised to love her forever. I let myself lose in the reverberating acoustics.

     Later that night we took a picture with KJ that I proudly posted on my Instagram. The truth was flagrantly winking at me. I do love Jazz. And the next day, on 22nd, I joyfully went to Hotel Yak and Yeti where they had planned Jazzmandu finale. Though there are promises you make to yourself that you fail to keep, I hope I keep these two - that I'll keep writing (no excuses) and that I'll return to Jazzmandu next year. 

     Happy birthday A****O. Thank you for the day. You truly are becoming one of my brightest stars.