Stolen Notes

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   For a while I had dabbled with the guitar. I was mesmerized by David Gilmour from Pink Floyd’s soul piercing guitar solos. I could hear notes ringing in my ear even when I wasn’t wearing headphones. But that was because I was using the computer speakers. However, I would still lust over those fine, debauched notes in the key of B Minor that David would so accurately play. Even so many years later, from 1973 to 2009, it incited a sort of feeling in me that only very pretty girls and very large sums of money have been able to. I had decided, I would play the guitar.

About seven months after I had begrudgingly learnt the major scale and could move my tiny little hands about the acoustic fretboard, I had taken it upon myself and my father’s wallet to get myself an electric guitar, so that I could play like the Lord himself. My at the time guitar teacher guided me to the shop, and together with him and my parents, I got a guitar that was quite good looking and reasonably priced. The journey had begun.

 

All these years I’ve had a favourite guitar pick, like car enthusiasts have their favourite clutch pedal or pilots have their favourite safety warning light. Highly irrelevant to anyone not in the field, yet having a fatal sentimental attraction.

The pick.

The pick feels different from every other I’ve ever used. To touch it feels almost the same. I wouldn’t say it’s strong or expensive, nor does it have the best of designs, but to the touch there’s something about it that I can’t quite put my finger on, except I can.

It reminds me of the Stonehenge; sturdy, with something mystical about it. It produces notes that are ever so different, like you put a squeeze of orange juice before baking your cake. It glistens like the moonlight on another planet, bare and naked in its glorious eroded topsoil, exposing every secret it holds except the ones that dwell within. It’s not magic, but it’s special, no doubt.

Over the next few weeks and months I worked on my guitar playing with a little bit of studies mixed with procrastination, with a hint of sleep and a dash of tea. It was going well. I seem to recall having a knack for the instrument, like a crow has knack for finding the perfect perpetrator to its disruption of its singing practice at 4 in the morning, and then pecks them on their head. I was bad, but not the worst, and in that little bubble of pride and satisfaction I was confident that eventually I would blossom into a majestic guitar player having their own six minute long guitar solos in their very own progressive rock band.

Then my birthday came along and we celebrated with some friends. Later we went to a shop to check out some guitar stuff. I played a few notes on a guitar that I wasn’t really interested in. The lone shopkeeper there was in his mid twenties. You can tell by the way he dressed, clinging on to some wayward branches of youth through small hints of lack of sartorial elegance, combined with his face of melancholic plastic cheer. He told me that I wasn’t allowed to play the instruments. So I turned to my father and told him we should go somewhere else. That came as a surprise to the shopkeeper. You could notice his strained expression as he tried to backpedal of the situation. They only like you if you might spend money.

So that’s exactly what I didn’t do. We spent about ten minutes there, and I left with a possession that I acquired while no one was looking. It was the more than ordinary – less than magical guitar pick that I still use to this day.

So that’s one thing I have in common with Slash.

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Upamanyu Acharya is a writer who doesn't write. Sometimes he's an artist, musician, photographer, physicist or lazy student. His hobbies include being vague, bending rules, time-travel, and embellishment of words. This is his personal blog where he writes on topics ranging from leadership skills to the consistency of jam.

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