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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 872-873

Resonating the octaves

Department of Pathology, Tata Memorial Centre, Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission29-Sep-2020
Date of Decision06-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance08-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Santosh Menon
Department of Pathology, Tata Memorial Centre, Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_302_20

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How to cite this article:
Menon S. Resonating the octaves. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:872-3

How to cite this URL:
Menon S. Resonating the octaves. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];3:872-3. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2020/3/4/872/304975

“After all, I did realize my musical palate while learning medicine.” Dr. Ramaswamy wrote degustating-(ly) in his musical musings published in Cancer Research, Statistics, and Treatment.[1] Something mirrored and echoed inside me that very moment, and I was instantly transported to my basic medical school era, a Golden Age, if I may refer to it as such. I felt like we were “Brothers in arms,” long-lost twin siblings digging up a similar fostering, à la Sanjeev Kumar “Angoor style.” The article rings the musical twang in every heart and touches the chords of every medico, a medico whose whole life vibrates like waves created by the strings themselves, crescendo-decrescendo. He took us on a journey across the “Seven bridges road” into a tangible and vivid past, a past that most of us would relate to and identify ourselves with – a past brimming with carefreeness from responsibilities, curiosity of explorers, the ingenuity of sophomore poets (when cupid struck), camaraderie of military proportions, and, most of all, discovering oneself and shedding the pusillanimity of parental tutelage.

Fateful, will construe it as fateful, that it was in these times of early medical training, that I landed up with a coterie of music buffs, a band of head bangers (yes one can actually bang one's head against thin air when in a musical trance…as I learned later), a gang of pure-hearted music lovers who would croon away to Dave Mustaine's thrash metal with the same gluttony as they would to a Kumar Sanu's “Tu meri zindagi hai,” albeit with heavy “Mallu” accents (Kozhikode in Kerala is the place of my medical journey…the “zhi” being a tongue roller). My entry into their world was with a potful of trepidation, as schooling was spent with Lata Mangeshkar's “Aaj kal paaon zameen par” and Kishore Kumar's “O Saathi Re” on Vividh Bharti's “Bhoole Bisre Geet” and “Fauji Bhaiyyon ki pasand” sessions. I pondered, wondered, detested, and protested when I was initially peddled into the world of hard and soft rock (for me rocks were always hard until this point), heavy metal, thrash metal, and death metal (yes, that's what some genres are christened). Initial resistance soon gave way to acceptability, likeability, and later on immersivity in all these genres. There was pooling in of meager sums of money, saved out of the monthly home support to buy audio cassettes (humble but effective…not known to many in the current MD generation) and speakers to belt out a myriad range of musicals like the MLTR, Guns 'N Roses, George Michael (ah….Last Christmas), Sir Elton John (who hasn't hummed Sacrifice?), and Kurt Cobain's “Man who sold the world.” I reminisce a strange superstition that “correlated significantly ( P < 0.05)” with my passing the physiology practical exam, with twitching of the poor frog's muscle to the listening of Khaled's Rai genre “Didi” just before the exams (weird and sad, but true). The third year of pharmacology was lost in late-night practice sessions of our musical troupe, which we banded to take our love of music to greater heights. A few of us picked up the strings of a guitar and some chose banging onto the sheep skins of drums. My roommate twiddled his fingers on a synthesizer, and I was voted to render my vocal cords. My personal peregrination was a stiff competition to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into butterfly via the pupa. We named our troupe “The HeartAche” (the reasons are best not discussed here). It started with George Baker's “Una Paloma Blanca,” a foot-tapping disco rendition with rhythmic strumming and somewhat easy vocals, although difficult with the falsetto. The band meandered through America's “Sandman,” Scorpions' “Winds of Change,” Chris de Burgh's “Lady in Red,” and Richard Marx's “Hazard.” An attempt at MJ's “Heal the World” was met with limited success (no one can sing like MJ…that voice is one in a trillion). While my graduating classmates were peering across the tables at fair maidens and memorizing the forensics' heavy metal poisoning, we were delving deep into “Iron Maiden,” Judas Priest, and “Metallica.” I took a penchant for lead guitarist riffs and solos and experimented with Santana (Black Magic Woman) and Joe Satriani for some time before realizing, that irrespective of the language, the lyrics are the railroads on which the symphony runs. Hard hitting verses like So, So you think you can tell, heaven from hell (Pink Floyd), and Megadeth's I realized life was a game; The more seriously I took things; The harder the rules became, are expressions that would send anyone on a journey of soul searching, a journey of discovering the very essence of our existence.

For the last 6 months, we all have woken up with the prayer of “Staying Alive,” and as we crawl our way back and try “Coming back to life” (highly recommended) and check ourselves out on webinars, “Am I audible” (the rat race continues…or is it truly a Stairway to heaven?), we must introspect occasionally that we all are, in the end “just another brick in the wall.”

Music connects……it just connects. It binds like A to T and G to C. Dr. Ramaswamy's masterpiece has indeed stirred the octaves in my marrow. And, yet again, I am in “Awe” of the seven notes which are nothing short of transcendental meditation.

Did I just happen to tell the editor, “That I would trade 5 years of my future life for those years?” Oh, when I look back now, those were the best days of my life! Summer of ….

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There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Ramaswamy A. Music as a bed 'rock' of relaxation and awe. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:421-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
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