This is a short story. I’m looking for some honest feedback.

The Maestro – I
The
50-year-old piano seemed to fill the small room with its enormity. A
violin lay in a corner as if condemned to obscurity by its more
conspicuous cousin. A single bed with clothes strewn all over it
cramped the remainder of the room. Amidst the clothes lay some sheets
of music, notes neatly transcribed around the ledger lines. Music,
which he had composed in the wee hours of the previous day, for his
performance at the city’s concert hall, adorned those pages, and now
sprang into life as he practiced the piece.

He went through his scales rigorously, playing them with immaculate
precision, at the unearthly hour when the city was asleep, yet anxious
in anticipation to watch the genius perform at the theatre the next
evening.

“Tut Tut”, he muttered suddenly, bringing an abrupt halt to the melody
he was playing. Nodding his head he picked up the sheet that lay on his
desk, scribbled over a section and started playing the same tune again.
But this time it swiftly raced on to a faster beat, as if he
were energized by the small break he had taken.

It had been hard work, even for the genius that he was. Nights spent
over the piano with only a coffee mug for company, would have left any
mortal bleary-eyed and sapped of any strain of energy he possessed. Yet
now the musician’s face radiated with a glow that was distinctly
anachronous at that wee hour. It was the glow induced by a passion that
he had pursued relentlessly, whose fruit he now bore with his skills
reaching their consummate prowess, to be showcased in his hometown for
the very first time.

When he was done playing, the city arose from its slumber, schoolboys
on bicycles hurled newspapers at doorsteps that had just opened to let
in the morning winter rays. As people across the town geared up for
another day, the pianist satisfied with a day’s work, piled his sheets
on his desk, and went to sleep.

Advertisements

The Maestro – II

The curtains parted and the spotlight fell on a thin bearded man
hunched over a piano. The theater was packed to its capacity, with the
audience a potpourri of the city’s literati, the maestros, the
pseudo-intellects, and the wannabes. They had all heard about the
pianist and his music, discussed him at their social dos and read about
him in the papers.

They had come to witness his performance. For once everything else,
their parties, night outs had taken the backstage, to be overshadowed
by the ethereal splendour they would soon experience. They had come to
see a musical genius who would inspire them to step out of the realm of
pure existence and reach out for that tiny shred of brilliance that lay
within them all, unnurtured and unnoticed amidst all the chaos they had
planted around themselves. They had come to learn what they already
knew but didn’t acknowledge.

The hush in the auditorium was broken
with the first note of the pianist – loud, resonant and harsh,
proclaiming his arrival, mocking the intelligentsia seated in the front
rows with all its rawness, as he caressed the clavier. Would they now
believe that this was the same artist they had condemned to obscurity,
cast aside as a no-hoper, and labeled his avant-garde style as pure
chicanery? Yes they would, for now the pianist had been acclaimed
throughout the nation, showered by laurels from the government.

He
played like God. Notes flowed from his fingers and seeped into the
obedient keys of the piano, which seemed obligated to obey the genius.
An invisible but unbreakable cord appeared to exist between his magical
fingers and the ivory keys, each riff filling the theater with an
energy that had long been trapped beneath his superficial stoic
countenance. Each improvisation unleashed a tone they had never heard
before, tones that had been pregnant for years in the wilderness, spent
battling his own demons of despair and self-doubt, facing every barrage
of ridicule with a courage he feared would crumble any moment.

It
was the feeling of liberation, of true joy that had broken free of all
inhibitions. It was a paradox – rushing to enrapture those who listened
with a mesmeric captivation, yet rebuking the elite who stared
wide-eyed from the front rows.

He played on. The music graduated
into a fury fuelled by every note he keyed, consuming the pianist,
spurring him on. Its vigour filled the concert hall with a vibrance
that refused to be tempered or tamed, flowing wild with an unbridled
enthusiasm that augmented as he progressed through his performance.
When he reached the climax of his composition, the crescendo held the
listeners enthralled and invigorated.

While his fingers rested over
the keyboard, the spectators sat benumbed by the experience. Then a few
excruciatingly silent moments later, the auditorium rang out with the
loudest applause it had witnessed for years.

The virtuoso stood up from his stool, bowed to the audience and walked off the stage.

The
next day he was back in his apartment in the suburbs, listening to the
C-minor scale being played by a nervous but keen pupil.

Paradise City
Come back birdie to your perch
On this old ignored steeple
And look how they hurry
In their quest for a million reams
Chasing a bazillion dreams
This heart of Paradise City
Insomniated for the purse
No guilt, no remorse
No pastures for the hungry sheep
To laze away in repose.
The wheel turns, the lamp burns
Tall and elegant the statue stands
Glistening in the lonely lights
Blanked by their eager strides
Rushing the sunrise in their life
As the silver globe strides across
The Paradise city sky.

Yesterday
Yesterday
Is now embedded in the frame
Locked away behind the hours
An ancestor for our today.

Yesterday
A rose in full bloom
Lost its virgin fragrance
To a parched fleeting ray.

Yesterday
We stole glances
Across the fence and now
You’ve got another spade.

Yesterday
A spark sprang into stagnant air
Scratched around to find a twig,
And settled in the seeking me.

Yesterday
Laughter mingled
With a thousand cries
At the break of a silent dawn.

Yesterday
Is now a memory
Of a mavin’s universe
Whose brilliance outshines today.