In a world where only music and I exist,
a place where rhythm lifts the mood, tune soothes the soul;
a charged atmosphere filled with life and beat.
As I was cleaning my room, I found a draft poem which I wrote when I was having coffee and waiting for friends. It was half written still but I found some inspiration to make some editing and completed it. Imagine yourself having coffee looking down at a busy square. A guy playing live music right in the middle of Bath, surrounded by passer-bys and the old yellow buildings in Bath. Enjoy!
Seasons passes us by,
hour hand never stops,
much time has gone.
Evergreen music infuse past into present,
accompanied by buildings in Bath still standing strong,
against the procession of weather elements.
Shades of grey left behind by time,
as it walks its rounds.
Behind each stone tells a story, I am sure,
for this is the result from the test of time.
I wake up in the morning:
A happy tune singing in the heart,
woo la la, woo la la;
the sun grins at me,
fa la la la la;
smiling strangers walk by,
woo la, woo la, woo la;
green man flashes ahead,
woo la, woo la la;
come on, birdies sing along!
Woo la la, woo la la,
fa la la la la,
woo la woo la woo la yeah!
I walk to work, a little jingle in my steps;
the song repeating in my heart.
I am a Generalist. A nice word to describe will be an All-Rounder while a not so nice word to use is Jack-of-All-Trades which of course translates into the opposite of Master-of-None.
This question popped into my mind during a meet-up with E two days ago. She just casually said,” I am a Generalist and I like to do everything.” At that same instant, I realised, that’s me too!
I get bored when I engaged too much into an activity. I need to divide my time into different areas and hence I make friends from all over too – and one observation I made, the friends I make from different aspects of my life do not seem to click that well with each other. Does that mean I have split personalities? I question myself. No, I do not think so. It’s just simply I like to do abit of everything.
Music, sports, writing, reading, arts, analysis – does that not feel like a jumble of areas? That’s me! I like to listen to music and hence I like to play instruments. Do I want to go to listen to music every night? Do I want to join an orchestra(Friend B popped me this question a day ago). My answer is fairly obvious. No. That’s too much time spent for committing to listen to music every day and people who are in orchestras are crazy about music. I enjoy music but not to that much extent.
Because I like sports too! I enjoy running outside and breathing in fresh air, challenging my body to greater heights and just feel free. Joining half marathons and pushing myself on mind over body gives me great satisfaction too. Do I want to run everyday? Obviously not. Twice a week or maximum three times is very well sufficient.
As I need time for reading and writing! To express myself to use words to draw out my thoughts to create beautiful literature. I like. To read other people’s writing and be inspired by new thoughts and to encourage each other through writing. I like. Do I want to write everyday? I tried. Unfortunately not. It’s a movement of energy that I crave for and that comes to the next area – arts.
Museums(history),musicals and history interest me. I simply enjoy absorbing the years of learnings that have preceded us. To learn about evolution and how men better ourselves. Or try to. It’s fascinating to learn their thoughts and to see patterns. Which brings us to the next question – so no, not all the time.
I need time for analysis. I enjoy dabbling with data – to find out solutions, to see patterns to dig around to find insights. To solve problems – that’s my other interest area too. But everyday? Errmm..
Zoos, parks and picnics – I love them too! The outdoor element – the freshness and the vitamins from the sun – the activity feels me with optimisim and hope. They are recharging environments – something that I need after all the digging.
And yes, as we see a glaring pattern by now(pun intended), there’s an element of me which seems to want to absorb everything and also there’s the element of creation and discovery process(which I have left out baking and trying out new receipes – more of that process rather than the outputs). It makes me feel good about myself – and I happen to discover unhidden potential in myself – the ability to pick out learnings in one area and apply to another. It’s the flow of qi – I would like to put it artistically. The left to right; up to down; basically it’s just exploring the world through different method. It energises me and makes me happy.
I would love to specialise in an area but somehow I seem to miss out something whenever I do that. Incompleteness I would say. So having figured out the answer after my weekly Wednesday run with the running club, I can proudly announce to everyone(special thanks to E for inspiring me) – I am a Generalist and I am a darn good one.
Try to beat that!
Any guess? Yes, music. I am extremely grateful to my mom.
I am sure the above three statements are not making any sense at the moment but wait, give me a chance to go into further details.
When I was in school, I succumbed to my mom’s pressure and joined Chinese Orchestra. Under the most unwilling circumstances, I got started on playing this chinese instrument – the erhu – in the opinion of a thirteen year old girl, the old man instrument with only two strings. How I detest the practices and the struggles with well-known-as-the-most-difficult instrument to learn ever could have been compiled into a book. The strings I broke while trying to tune it even with a tuner; how I tried to play as soft as possible, so that when I was not able to stop with the rest in time, at least it will not be so obvious; how I was always trying to keep up with the pace – it never ended.
After four years of intensive training, I turned out to be quite a good player. In fact, I even joined the orchestra in junior college for another two years thereafter- because I was easily one of the best player around with minimal effort put in. Not only did I acquire a good ear for music, I even started appreciating music from Chinese Orchestras.
And today I have to give thanks to my mom. Not only did she fulfill my wish to get an erhu of my own after more than a decade(of procrastinating), she was the biggest reason why I am able to play the instrument in the comfort of my room in London. Though I used to always blame her for ‘forcing’ me to join the orchestra, on hindsight – it all turned out really well.
I can create my own food for my soul – by playing the familiar songs which I used to practise in school, it brought back the good old days when I was a carefree teenager with hardly any(significant) problems. Music is the best way to energise the soul. Agree?
If you have been following my Irish night out, you might be surprised how at the spur of the moment decisions can turn out well. I did.
A trip to the library on a Thursday night ended up with a friendly invite to a Saturday night concert. Holding minimal expectations, the marvellous performance coordinated well with a team of four left me stunned.
Led by talented multi-instrumentalist Jacquelyn Hynes, a true musician I will bow to, had no musical sheets in front of her and had no problems juggling the long notes and irregular rhythm. A grand total of 13 songs, she seems to breeze through every singles and led the others – an Irish songwriter who was on the guitar – J.Eoin, a percussionist and vocals of Najma Akhtar. Mainly playing Irish songs, Indian and Arabic flavour was injected from time to time and surprised me with refreshing tunes which were not typically Irish.
I enjoyed the piece -Lost in a Norwegian Wood. The soothing notes from the flute drew out the contours of the desert in my mind and images of a never-ending path without an exit point filled my mind. Desert is associated with “lost” in my mind and I felt as though I was traipsing around on unknown grounds.
“She moved through the Fair” was delivered through a role of a young bride moving over the lake with the flute and the light-heartedness and gaiety filled the air. The percussionist did an excellent job in the accompaniment and there were tinkling bells, drumming and even shell-sounds, all adding to the openness and free-spiritedness.
The music hit a real high before we broke for a 15 minute break. The applause was resounding and the cheers of the audience reaffirmed my appreciation of the team’s effort.
Before I go on about the wondrous music, I would like to thank my table of companions as well. Originally intending to enjoy the music on my own, I saw the lady who invited me for this event. An elderly Irish lady who eloped with her musician boyfriend many decades back to London, she was a joyful character and I was charmed by her easy humour. Máire, apparently an Irish version of “Mary”, brought along an American lady, one other Irish lady whom I said hi before and an elderly couple who appeared to be Irish as well. Surrounded by smiles and easy conversation, I said yes to the invitation to join their table. It felt warm and friendly and I almost felt at home.
My initial “out of place” feel soon wore off into the night of music.
Surrounded by soothing music in the Irish Cultural Centre, I feel a peace settle over me.
A quiet bar with people into cultural music and theme, this is the perfect Saturday night out. Compared with loud music and rowdy folks, here I am seated at a table with loads of space and visualising myself in a foreign culture.
Best part of it,I will be able to walk home in less than 10 minutes.
Stay tuned for the entire installment next round.
At the same time while my fellow blogger friend in Berlin was propped up on bed and having her laundry done, I was probably wandering around with my huge bagpack and wondering if the weather forecast in Bath had gone wrong.
After stuffing things into my bagpack for my weekend hen party in Bath, I managed to get into bed four hours before I was due to wake up on Saturday morning. At 5am, my alarm rang and I struggled out of bed groggily with of course one part of the brain still stuck in dreamland. I dragged my feet around the flat and managed to get ready within an hour. Pushing in the last bits of leggings into my huge heavy bag, I got myself to the tube station heading to Paddington for my 7am train. I was on an early start as the tickets were cheaper for the morning off peak hour. And my meeting time with the rest of the hen’s friends was due for 1pm. I had more than four hours to kill. Or rather to explore the city.
I slept on most of the journey but woke up from time to time, making sure I had not missed my stop. Upon arrival, I saw mists in the far distance and wondered if I was at the right place.I had a shock when I stepped out of the station. It was brr…COLD! And I was seriously underdressed – being prepared for temperatures between ten and fifteen, under ten degrees definitely put me off my tracks. How was I to explore the city when I had no cover against the wind?
Calming myself down, I turned on my GPS signal and ventured tepidly towards the direction of the hotel. Most shops were closed and they were similar to the brands in London, noted I. I bravely trudged forward and even took pictures along the way as part of my touristy to-do activities. So far so good, I circled around a couple of streets, and amused myself with my observations, noting funny names: Quiet street, Cheap Street. I thought, was the street quieter than other streets? Do the shops along that street sell goods cheaper than others?
The streets were lined with yellowish olden buildings and the ground floor of the buildings – paradise to shoppers were modern-designed. What a contrast! When I saw a shop selling postcards, I bought a couple of them with all intentions to send some back to my friends back home. Snapping shots along my way, I finally found Travelodge and went in to enquire about putting down my perhaps 10kg bag(with my red wine gift included). I was rejected and I had no choice but to continue my exploration with the heavy bag. Next, I discovered the post office along the way and decided to get started on my posties. With an hour, my postcards were ready and glued with a stamp each and I sent them on their way.
Walking down the streets, I stumbled upon a pastry shop with delightful looking pastries and rewarded myself with an almond croissant. The weight behind me was getting too much for my petite frame. It was time to find a cafe to take a breather. Suddenly the atmosphere turned lively and the hidden-so-far sun finally sneaked out to play. Drawn to the sound of music, I found a performing artiste strumming in the middle of a square and promptly popped into a nearby shop to get my legs some rest as well as to enjoy some live music.
Over an enjoyable hour flew past as I sat alone on the second floor and took shots of him singing away through the window. Many people stopped to give some donations or shake his hand or just to give him a round of applause. At times, there were handfuls who bought his cds too. The experience was similar to the last time I sat in a pub with a beer – relaxing and chilling out.
Glancing around, I chanced upon this paper – a steam engine fair in Royal Victoria Park. My loyal GPS which has been serving me well today showed me how far it was to check out the fair. Looking at my watch, I deliberated if there might be enough time to pop over(with my stone-bag) and still meet the rest on time.
The music stopped and I looked out of the window. He was packing up! I panicked for a moment, gulped down the remains of my vanilla latte and dashed down the stairs to catch the singer in time in time to purchase a copy of his CD as a momento. At this moment, I realised the sun was shining brightly and I still have about two hours left. I decided – next destination: Royal Victoria Park.