Blogging 2017

Ring(tone) of the heart!

Today is just one of those days that begin awesomely, head towards a mild confusion and go back to being awesome. This post might be an absolutely drab account of what was basically a normal day in the life of an adult muggle (who is still hopefully waiting for the damned owl to deliver the letter it should have done almost a decade and a half ago).

But under the surface of this blandness, I have one thing that happened to me today that is noteworthy. It was the turning point at which the day became ‘awesome’ again. I have this habit of cutting out parts of songs and assign them as ringtones for my contacts. Mostly, these ringtones have one common logic – they are either the favorite songs of the person they are assigned to (contact) or the song that reminds me of them (probably the first song we ‘shared’ or listened together – anything that reminds me of the person uniquely). And yes, I do have this list and I can associate songs with memories and people. A trait I am not exactly proud of – my eidetic memory when it comes to this.

It so happened that I had to go on a short drive with a friend I’d known for nearly a decade in her car today, and I settled myself down for the ride in the backseat. We were accompanied by a few of our common friends and family. And just at the moment, my phone rang, a ringtone from my current favorite song played in the silent car. (As an aside, what sort of people just go on car drives in silence? Are the car media players for nothing, then?)

When the phone rang, there was one single instant when our eyes met. The friend and I. And that is all that was needed. We know each other to be avid music fans and there were days when we would both share the links for the songs we loved with each other, like the mad people that we were. The habit just petered out over time and though there was a good friendship, the connection had kind of been pushed to a corner where it lay dormant.

But something about the eye contact in the rear-view mirror and that shared smile just told me what would happen next. She silently handed over her phone to me, fiddling with her car speakers once. Without a word being exchanged, I knew what I had to do. Old habits really do die hard. The Bluetooth transfer was done and as I handed the mobile back to her, the stern set of her eyebrows gave me the next instruction. I set the ringtone and assigned it to my contact name, earning a smile of appreciation. (Did I mention that we shared this habit? We were both equally guilty of this!)

And in a way, it made me totally happy. The intervening years faded as she connected the phone to the car speakers (the media player in the car still lay useless, I tell you!) and that current favorite song blasted out without preamble. The shared glances continued, much more powerful, each of us lost in our own thought lines (which were probably similar). Long lost journeys came to the fore of the mind and in a span of six minutes (the remaining part of the journey, which coincided with the end of the song), a sad melancholy had been replaced with a happy realization. Some things never change, no matter how many years and people come in between.

A similar incident happened with another friend, someone I was meeting for the first time that day, and knew barely a month before that. So it was safe to say we had yet to bond over the deeper angles in music (something I’d do to most of my friends, yeah, call me weird). The meeting was at a restaurant, and another similar ringtone story happened. The way her eyes fluttered as she heard it told me it was for the piece of music that had come out suddenly.

Maybe it was shyness that prevented her from asking, or the suddennes of the moment, but she was a bit silent for a moment and I was surprised to find myself asking if she needed the ringtone. The assumption that she’d need it was totally mine, as I had no idea if she loved the song / the music director / the genre. It would normally have been weird, but that day it really was not. The ringtone share that happened that day was the significant start of what has been a beautiful friendship, one I am lucky to have.

It does not matter if you have known someone for years or days. It does not matter if you have different tastes in almost everything. A common taste in music is a soul connect few other things could compete with! And I am incredibly lucky in the fact that I have more than a few people who share this view of mine. Music does not need a language, nor does it need words to communicate.


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