What ever we do in life, when we do with passion, we leave a stamp of class in it and that is called excellence. As a whistler my focus in this piece of expression is limited to:
Excellence in whistling. Till two years ago I thought I was the best possible whistler of Hindi film tunes and my improvisations, which I did sometimes, impromptu, were unbeatable. Whenever and wherever I performed in my closed circles, I mesmerized people with my whistling.
When I went up to perform on stage for the first time in front of some 500 people, I realized how “best” I was, how “unbeatable” I was! Out of four songs I performed, prayer was O.K., my solo Ghazal was bearable, the duet I performed was somewhat better. Even though majority of the people clapped, a few of my close friends expressed their surprise at my low standard. And the last one with the drums and guitar was utter flop, failure, hopeless, horrible. Of course I was not well that day. I should not have gone up the stage at all. Still a lapse is a lapse, everything else is only explanation.
On my subsequent four performances on stage that I performed, I earned appreciation from the audience but again from those who knew me and other whistlers who performed with me knew that was not my standard.
Today I can say that I am a very good whistler off the stage but on the stage I am not able to present my ability. Why? No doubt I LOVE whistling, but I am falling short in my PASSION for whistling. When a person is truly and completely passionate about whatever he does, he leaves a stamp of class in it, when he is finished.
This is not the case only with me. I have found, many whistlers who have whistled with me on stage, have not been able to perform to their potential. They might have performed better than me, they might have been applauded too, but that is not the ultimate desire of an artist’s craving.
Only when one whistles his/her best, to the best of his/her satisfaction and to the best of his/her ability, can one say that he/she has given his best. Also, when performance after performance one grows in confidence, only then one can be proud of his/her talent. Until whistling becomes a reflex action-when one can perform his/her best at any given time, under any circumstances-one cannot be called a champion whistler
Well, why am I writing this? What has this to do with the topic EXCELLENCE?
Let us understand this. The masters in any field are the masters for they have invested everything of theirs- Time, Money, Energy, and laboured towards achieving it by lots of practice. All sports persons, Instrumentalists, Dancers and Singers would have practiced for hours daily. Why only them? Even all those whistlers who have been champions at the annual IWC contests would have practiced a lot.
How many of us (at IWA) are giving such serious thought for whistling? Until we also give regular time for practice we cannot perform to the level of excellence. We may perform well, we may attract lots of applause from people, but, can we every time call that a supreme performance? Can we pat ourselves on the back, performance after performance by just whistling a little on a Sunday, a little while driving, a little while shaving and all this with numerous breaks in between?
What are we aiming at? Good performance and a few claps or an excellent performance and total self-satisfaction? For excellence we will have to start giving more hours for whistling. It is not just whistling film tunes that will make us good whistlers. Only when we can whistle our rich traditional music, will we have really mastered whistling. This is applicable even in film music. We need not learn classical music like Carnatic or Hindustani. If we can just whistle classical based or semi-classical songs of our film with right pitch and rhythm, then also we can say that we have mastered whistling.
Before concluding, let me go back to my case. Why is it that I am not as good on stage as much as I am off stage? The answer is: Lack of continuity, lack of continuous, regular practice. When there is overconfidence and little practice, how much ever able I might be, I will become nervous on the stage. This nervousness will hinder my performance. Of course my confidence can help me correct myself during my performance but I cannot convert my ability to excellence without enough practice. Practice makes a person perfect- perfect in everything – confidence, attitude, quality, and character.
The world outside appreciates a successful person. The world inside me (the Inner self) appreciates the talented person. To gain appreciation from the both worlds, I need to be an excellent performer. Excellence comes with passion and passion is an attitude that we need to cultivate. Passion demands practice.
My dear friends, it is good to invest more time for whistling in order to achieve excellence in whistling and give this rare art – a flute with out a Bamboo – greater recognition. I have begun to move in the direction of passion and I wish more whistlers would accompany me from their respective places.
I would like to end this write up with following quotes:
Old vocal and instrumental styles have few takers now. Perhaps, due to the strict adherence to purity, learning ”dhrupad” (a style of singing) is not easy. As an Ustad (Master) said, “It takes years of religious practice, and about 10 hours of singing daily, before a dhrupad student is ready to perform.”
According to Parveen Sultana, a renowned vocalist, music is like meditation. Devotion is a must for learning anything including music, she added. Through music, anybody can meet God. Riyaz (Regular practice) of music is like a prayer.
Let us give whistling the much-needed recognition as a pure form of art, classical or non-classical.
There is no substitute for excellence.