(day 4): duality

Seeing duality in music, writing and life

(day 4): duality
Photo by Diogo Nunes on Unsplash

Yet another night with only 3 hours of sleep plus the reality that I am nursing a cold and my head is splitting and also that I just finished reading Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (the first book in the Inspector Persis Wadia/Malabar House series after having read Books 2 and 3 in that order), which left me feeling grumpy that such a fascinating book had come to an end, means today is not a day for writing fiction.

Ha! Yesterday I announced my creative pattern to the Universe, and today it showed me all that pattern-deciphering was mere wishful thinking!

I kid, because now I understand that even knowing what works for me does not mean life and writing will unfold precisely that way 100% of the time. I have to make allowances for sick days and sleepless nights, as well as important life matters, such as filing taxes. Now where have I heard that one before? 😉

And so here I am, at half past ten in the morning, because a song is stuck in my head like earworm and I love it so much.

Die For You by The Weeknd and Ariana Grande.

I've heard it on the radio before but for some reason it was only yesterday that I listened to it several times, trying to learn the lyrics, singing out the chorus loud and with all my heart, and thinking what a wonderfully romantic song of heartbreak this is.

It was when I was listening to Grande's part where her lines are being sung at two different pitches in harmony that I fell into the magic of the song.

When I listen to a song, my ears invariably seek out the other – the other voice, or the other, softer, less obvious part of music that comes in the background and changes the effect altogether.

For instance, in Ace of Base's rendition of Cruel Summer, both in their original and Big Bonus Mix versions, towards the end of the song one of the singers adds her own melody to the main singer's ongoing chorus. It's not the loudest or the most evident part of the song, it sounds like something in the far distance, but I always keep my ears tuned to catch it.

It's the other. There is something otherworldly about it. It renders a beautiful song haunting, magical, in a way only it can.

And, it turns, out that the official video of the version of the song with only The Weeknd singing it is a tribute to Stranger Things, which makes me love it all the more!

In a very roundabout way, trying to listen to the vocal harmonies reminded me of duality – of two entirely different things contrasting and co-existing in harmony.

It also reminded me of how some of the stories I enjoy are the ones told from dual perspectives, from two different time periods.

Another example of my interpretation of 'duality' that I want to share comes from an incident that took place when little D was about two years old. We had just returned from a park and he had wanted to bring home a pocketful of tiny pebbles. As soon as we entered home, he emptied his pocket and dropped all the pebbles in the doorway.

It was a moment of enlightenment and liberation for me.

I stood there, watching D admire his handiwork, a mosaic of pebbles on the floor, and it occurred to me this is what it is. This is what it means to be a 2-year-old. This is what it means to be a young, young child.

And in two-year-old D, I could see two-year-old me, and I could tell her for the first time in my life that how she was as a two-year-old was exactly how she was meant to be at the time, irrespective of the labels she received: too naughty, too mischievous, too disobedient.

But in that moment, I also understood for the first time the validity of a mother's dilemma, the truth of a parent's or caregiver's exhaustion, their frustration, and their completely understandable, although misplaced, desire for children to be obedient and good.

Both are in stark contrast to each other, a child's expression and the demand placed on the parent to allow this natural unfolding as it were.

Here too, a duality at play.

Nothing right or wrong about it, but merely a collision of two different yet seemingly connected things.

Sometimes frustrating, sometimes enlightening.

Sometimes beautiful and tender, sometimes a thing to be spurned and avoided at all costs.

Opposing forces, sometimes in tension, sometimes in harmonious union.

All of life is like this. To pretend or wish it were otherwise, is probably the greatest folly we can commit.