I was sifting through the various skeletons in my cupboard in the mind when it focused on an image of a dirty, scraggy young thing with a guitar in hand.
Dwelling on that image for a brief moment, I smiled remorsefully. And then there was a rush of memories flooding back into the mind. Yes. It was the rock star me. The jeans, tight fit and torn at suitable intervals with a few curry smudges deliberately added for effect.
The upper part of the body was covered with an old Army shirt, un-ironed and with a frayed collar. Those huge, buttoned up pockets on both sides completed the image of a cool dude who was adept at the guitar, quick fingers running across the strings, belting out lead stuff to great effect.
The unkempt beard and the frizzy long hair completed the picture.
Yes. I always wanted to be rock star after seeing clips of Carlos Santana, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton among others. These individuals rocked us silly and we wanted to ape them, looks and all.
The attire was acquired through various sources, including an Armyman’s son who gave all his father’s discarded shirts to me.
Blessed by God who categorised me in the human category after pondering over the ape section, I had hair aplenty. Luckily the hair looked frizzed after not letting a comb or brush touch it. The beard was easy to grow and inherent laziness helped it to look wild.The rock star me had taken shape, physically at least. Now came the hard bit of buying a guitar and learning it.
After saving some of the meagre pocket money granted to me and the cash gifts from large-hearted relatives who thought of me as a sweet, innocent lad, i managed to collect enough to buy a guitar for smaller hands. I also took a five-year loan from my sisters, hoping that I would not have to repay it.
I bought the guitar, an ordinary, acoustic one, and came home proudly. The enthusiasm was dented by a few choice words from the parents on how badly I had performed in the exams and my looks were fit for a horror film and that I would never make it as a rock star.
The thrill of possessing a guitar over-rode these concerns. But oh, no. I had made a grave mistake. I had bought a right-handed guitar and I was left-handed.
A friend reassured me that a string switch would set it right. After borrowing more from the siblings on a promise of a monthly return, I got that done. I could be anything but not a guitarist. My musical talent only extended to listening and nothing more. I couldn’t co-ordinate the strumming with the chords at all. I was a dud instead of a dude. Besides my fingers hurt with so many corns on them.
I couldn’t bear the pain. The only thing I could do was impress the girl across my balcony by trying to fiddle with the strings, pretending to tune them. She was impressed.
I occasionally took the guitar out making people on the road believe that I was some hotshot guitarist.
The image was there, but the skill missing. Then the doorbell rang. The rock star in me died before taking off. Long Live Rock n Roll