If I sat counting the number of times I have watched The Sound of Music, I might eventually fall asleep. The reason could be due to the fact that it was the only video cassette my parents possessed. When we lived in Andhra Pradesh, we didn’t have cables running through our primitive dwelling (or so called colony) and hence didn’t even get Doordharshan. Apart from my family, Dev uncle owned a TV. But without a VCR, the TV served no one. So 34 movie deprived colony folks would cram into our living room and my dad would screen ‘The Sound of Music’ with pride. The audience was thrilled and would clap every time someone said something- even when Captain Von Trapp was telling the teary eyed Maria to shut up.
They came diligently the next Sunday and they were treated to ‘The Sound of Music’ again. By the third round they had gotten over the novelty of a television actually working in these parts and paid rapt attention to the story and characters instead (while ooh-aahing over Salzburg). It took them some five more sittings to finally give up on the movie and look for other avenues of entertainment like climbing trees.
During New Years, the club house boasted of showing a new movie. ‘Not Sound of Music’ was printed on the flyers. People flocked eagerly and when the screen showed the breathtaking Alps and a little speck that quickly grew in proportion to look like Julie Andrews, the guests wanted to ship my dad off to Austria. The truth was that the organizers wanted to get the movie ‘Sita aur Gita’, but as luck would have it, there was some last minute betrayal. Hence my dad was their last resort.
But I was hooked to the timeless story of the seven children, their lovable governess, the stern captain and mostly the immortal score that was so pivotal to the movie. As a kid, I was enamored by those children. As a teenager, I was lusting after Christopher Plummer (like I said, I wasn’t exposed to any other man). I got quite intrigued by the story and poured into books on the World War and Hitler’s Nazi army. When I was 20, I was jealous of Maria because the guy I had a crush on, told me that he wanted to marry a girl just like her. As much as I may, I could’t stitch clothes or sing.
To this day I watch the movie when my heart is lonely. I still insist on crying.
'My favorite things' is my all time favorite. I won something for singing this song at a school competition. I might have been the only contestant or I might have been studying in a ‘hearing and speech impaired’ school, I don’t recall. I couldn’t get enough of 'Do Re Me', and in an effort to shut me up, my parents recorded my rendition and played it back to me. It did the trick.
Kala and I became very good friends as we bonded by singing ‘Maria’ mimicking the different high-pitched shrill nun voices. It was late at night in her house and her parents came running to the room thinking we were killing her cat.
I was inconsolable when I turned seventeen coz I could no longer croon -‘I am sixteen, going on seventeen’ with that conviction anymore. Innocent as a rose? Who was I kidding! No longer timid and shy and scared. Men, beware as I embark.
One of the best times I had during my Himalayan expedition was singing ‘The Hills are alive with the Sound of Music’ on the top of my lungs when I was surrounded by the snow clad Gharwal peaks on all four sides. I could feel what Maria felt in those hills. On top of the world. The rest of my team seemed to be freezing as they were clutching their ears with their gloved hands. I think am ready to visit the Austrian Alps. My practice ought to be thorough by now.
One day, completely throwing me off guard, a certain special someone sang to me ‘For here you are standing there loving me, whether or not you should.’ Reciprocating this romantic gesture, I laughed. Real hard.
I’m thankful to the movie and to my parents for shoving it down my throat. I still feel the lump. Thanks also to a friend who got me the DVD and CD a few years ago. Man, if one movie can give me so many nostalgic moments, I wonder how much more interesting life would have been if my parents had something that resembled a movie collection.