Music they say is a universal language...You don't have to be a musician to like, appreciate or simply enjoy music. Ironical as it may seem, death I thought in some similar way has the unique ability to communicate and create, on us the effect that music does.
I often see the similarity between a music concert and funeral. Emotions displayed and controlled. Tears shed and dried. People digging deep into their treasure troves of memoirs to pay solidarity and tributes. People sometimes known and sometimes not. Strangers and relatives all bound together by one score and one conductor or bonding because of one person.
Often than not, the former would be a more desirable situation to be in. But my dad had this talent of making the most serious of situation at a funeral seem light and almost humorous without disrespect to the soul laid to rest. He did it by simply 'singing'….Music lifted the heavy atmosphere at many a funeral. Maybe a few of my senior cousins may recall it better. Dad had his way of paying homage to the dear departed.
Many a celebrity funeral today, reminds me of dad because of the role of music at the ceremony...My mind goes back to the rendition of Goodbye England's Rose for Princess Diana..perfect interpretation by Elton John. Who can forget the more recent music tribute to MJ. Music soothes the heart. But I was more touched by the tribute to Pope John Paul II as I WAS THERE. It started as a stroll to the Vatican City, after dinner in celebration of the success of my dear friend, Savio D'souza sdb, doctoral defense. Little did we know what we were in for that night. But it is a once in a life time experience. Standing the night through till 9am when we finally were able to enter the Basilica where the body of our dear departed Pope JP II lay so serenely. We were standing beside groups of people… from babies, tiny tots, young scouts in uniform, to people old, very old and the very, very old. All standing in reverent silence, or praying the rosary, or SINGING. How I remembered dad at that moment. After having had an action packed day and a few margaritas downed at the celebration, from where we got the energy I do not know, but we lasted the whole night and in the morning when we actually saw good JP II laying in St. Peter's, it was worth every minute of the 13 hours we stood in Q, worth the wait and tiredness of limb and body. Often falling asleep standing, for the furthest distance we may have moved would have been a step or two only...The light music in the Church was so soothing to the soul. The memory is still fresh in my mind even today.
Whether music runs in the family I really do not know...I think my cousins the Herbert's, maybe the Noronha's too did have a piano. Dad had tried to send me to Mr. D'lima who lived at Rosedale, next to Margaret House to learn music/voice training. I attended two sessions with him and stopped for I was more keen to learn to play the violin, as I'd see kids and my peers heading to the D'costa family's flat in the neighborhood with their violin's to learn from them and thought my time at D'limas was a waste. Today the "kids" sight read music and even conduct the church choir…but mine still remains a desire unfulfilled and I hope someday it will turn to reality.
Only more recently after dad's younger brother Johnny passed away at a ripe young age of 91, did I learn of his ability to play the mouth organ. My dad in his bachelor days...Uncle Tony, the youngest of the four siblings recounts to me "owned a Gibson guitar...paid through his nose for it", then led on to another story. But then, dad always had a nose, a flair for these expensive stuff and then leave them to collect dust, rust or generously give to charity...Ah yes...those genes he certainly passed on to me....And who can ever forget dad's moves on the dance floor, that won him many an accolade. Whatever happened to his dancing feet how did I end up with two left feet? You could have left me with some of your dancing ability daddy dear…