I have a good singing voice. I don’t have range but have timbre. I was trained in Carnatic music for years in my childhood and have performed for the Indian radio under youth category. My teachers and family knew that I have a good voice and musical aptitude.
I disliked the fact that I had a good singing voice. Especially in school. When there were cultural and other events in school, I was, by default, in the choir, as a soprano. When my school staged musical plays (largely of Biblical themes), I was always singing in the background. I wanted to be in the play as an actor. I believed I could act well, but I wasn’t even given a chance because I was, by default ,in the choir.
There was a musical called “The Prodigal Son” that was staged by our school, when I was in ninth class. I loved the play. I wanted to be the prodigal son. A senior girl called Meera, who had a lovely albeit weak singing voice was made the prodigal son because she was charming and all the teachers liked her. I thought they were being very partial in assigning the role to her without testing other kids. I would have made a good prodigal son, I was sure. I just didn’t have the charm that Meera did. I was in the choir, as usual, and sang all the background pieces, while Meera (the prodigal son), Anisha (the prodigal son’s older, good brother who had my sympathy because he asked ‘of what use is being good if the prodigal son gets the fatted calf on the table while I don’t even get a pig?’ – he has a point there) and Anuradha (the father who welcomes the prodigal son with the fatted calf – partial father, just like my partial teachers who chose Meera and Anisha without an audition), sang the main pieces.
I memorised all the songs – the choir pieces as well as the main pieces and would sing them at home, in my room, pretending to be the main characters. One of the songs went as follows – the prodigal son sings it:
There seem to be several people
Locked up inside of me
Fighting a constant battle
For my identity
Sometimes they keep me prisoner
Sometimes they set me free
Is one of them my true being?
Is one of them really me?
The long and short of this long post is that this song has been running in my head since morning, indicating how I feel about myself these days.