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Music is Forever Episode 5: The News

After what seems like an eternity, Shruti finishes singing her lessons.

"Appa, can I please sing raaravenu now?" she asks sweetly. She calls him "Appa" to pacify him (otherwise, simply Daddy).

Ram sighs. At least she's eager to sing. "Go ahead, then."

Shruti sings, singing only the words and not the swaras,

raaravenu gopa paala (breath) raajita sadguna jaya sheela

She smiles at the word "sheela," remembering a classmate.

saarasaasha nayra memi maarupali -

Ram interrupts her. "Maarubaari, not maarupaali" he says sternly.

She breathes deeply and continues:

maarupaari korvaleraa....

After she finishes the whole song, her father asks, "What happened to the swarams? Only sahithyam today?"

"Oh I'll sing the swarams tomorrow!" and twists to get up.

"Uh-unh. Sa pa sa first!" He will let her go with only 45 minutes of practice today.

She finishes her sa pa sa and runs to her room to pull out a book.

"Shru, you forgot your doll!" Ram calls after her. She disappears into the room.

"Ram, what are we going to do with her for the concert?" asks Malini, looking up from the bowl of cereal she is pouring for Shruti. "Shruti, breakfast!" she calls.

Ram shrugs, "We'll take her, of course. She can sit still now."

Malini tries not to roll her eyes. Shruti will never sit still, she thinks to herself.

"Ma," she asks her mother in law, "can you take care of her tonight?"

"No," Mummy answers. "I have my temple program tonight, so I must go. Take her, she will enjoy it. Sangeetha will be there, too, no?"

Malini makes a mental note to bring Shruti a book, and to call Sangeetha and Anil to remind them to come.

*****

The ambulance arrives and takes Anil off on a stretcher, making his injury seem worse than it is.

Jon, his brow now permanently wrinkled, jumps in next to him. Anil tries to sit up in the ambulance but the medical personnel refuse to let him.

"What hurts?" Jon asks, anxiously.

Anil tries to move and winces. "Just my leg, it's probably broken, that's all."

Jon regales him with a story. "When I was little, I broke my leg during baseball. The funny thing is, the game hadn't even started. I just tripped over someone during the anthem!"

Anil laughs weakly. "Yeah, you weakling. You could break your leg sleeping."

"Funny. If your leg wasn't broken, I'd break it for you, man."

They arrive at the local hospital, where Anil is unceremoniously dumped onto a chair from his stretcher. "Guess I'm not hurt as bad you thought," he jokes to the nurse. They confirm Anil's insurance information, and Anil and Jon sit in the emergency room, complete with remixed rap with traces of sitar music. Anil thinks it's strange they play music in an emergency room and tries to take his mind off the pain by listening to the words. He thinks it sounds like the song Sangeetha was humming this morning - what did she call it? Hindolam. That's right. The chair he is in shakes and seems to resonate with the music.

Jon mutters the words to the song under his breath, tapping his feet. Anil thinks he looks stupid but doesn't say anything. Sangeetha would have told them exactly who the Indian musicians were and what the Hindi words mean.

Thinking of Sangeetha, he asks Jon to call her on his phone. Jon calls Sangeetha, and they are soon ushered into a small room with a bed. Anil lies there, and the doctor confirms that his leg is broken. While Anil's leg is still being put into a cast, Sangeetha arrives.

She rushes in, panting, her heart racing. Jon reassures her, "He's ok, just a broken leg."

"What happened? How did this happen?" she asks, wanting someone to blame.

"Basketball. Those jerks..." Anil begins.

"Yeah we played with some people who were kinda psycho," Jon agrees.

They tell her the details. Her eyes widen when Jon mentions the names Lisa and Mickey, but she says nothing. When Anil's cast is set and fixed, he is given crutches, and they leave in Sangeetha's car.

She and Jon help him into the back seat and they head home.

In the car, she jokes, "Well, look at the bright side, you won't have to go to the concert today."

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updated on 01/13/2013