We were at a friend’s place for Christmas and one of the gifts for a family member was a small palm size musical instrument from Austria. No one could recall the name of the instrument. All we knew was that it was a mouth organ. To Vatsal, the instrument had a striking similarity to a native instrument he had come across in Rajasthan, India. But we all chose to ignore that suggestion, after all, there is very little chance that a traditional instrument in Austria is also the one used in folk music in rural India.
Vatsal didn’t let it rest. A little internet research later at home threw more light on it. Morchang, in fact, was the same instrument most commonly known as the Jews Harp in English. Morchang is the name used in the state of Rajasthan in India, Morsing in Carnatic Music in South of India, Gewgaw in England, Maultrommel in Germany, Mukkuri in Japan, Changu in Pakistan and the list goes on.
It is believed to be one of the oldest musical instrument in the world with its roots in Asia. It has travelled far and wide within Asia and outside of it. And as it got passed from traveller to traveller, country to country, it acquired a new local name and found a place in the folk or traditional music of the region.
While it picked roughly 900 new names and different playing styles, its design and form uncannily remained the same. To us, this was a perfect metaphor for travel and identity.
Have you met anyone who doesn’t like to travel? So, a better question might be why we write about travel. Well, to start with it enables us to travel a place twice – once when we’ve visited it and once later when we write about it. Also, as Paul Auster’s famous quote goes ‘Great stories only happen to those who can tell them’. While we would love to be great story tellers, and have that bring good stories to us. Fact of the matter is that writing about an experience sometimes brings a new life to it, as in hindsight all the different seemingly arbitrary experiences from our travels seem to connect together weaving themselves into a story. And that brings a kind of wholeness to our travels.
While travel take us physically to the places in time, films provided us a window to the wider world. One where we could walk inside people’s homes, feel their pain, celebrate their happiness and live a portion of their lives.
We watch all sorts of films and we sure do have our favourites but for us, films live in some of its moments and here we will be sharing some of our favourite moments from films. Moments like in Amelie when she eats strawberries off her fingers or in Goodbye Lenin when Alex in an attempt to recreate the lost world labels the food jars. These are the moments that linger and refuse to fade away.
And there can never be enough reasons for their intoxicating effect on our lives.