The first time he saw the device, it felt like an alien object. He had seen it at his employer’s house. It was sitting in their living room, abandoned and dusty. He took the mallet and gave it a strike. The device sent out a gong-like sound, which alerted the employer.
“What are you doing with the Xylophone? We told you not to touch anything without permission. Now go and clean the dog’s house. You are not supposed to come to this room anyway.”
So this was a xylophone. He did not know anything about it. He did not even know what it was used for. Being the middle child in 3 kids, the elder one being a girl just a year older to him, the 4 year old was forced to earn for the family. He was supposedly lucky to be given this job at his father’s employer’s house where his father was the gardener. He couldn’t lose this job or his father would thrash him. They needed the money to have at least one meal a day. His losing the job would mean no food for them.
But Xylophone called out to him. He started noticing that the xylophone was never used. It was not even moved from its position for all the time he saw it. He also noticed that things which were not used for a long time seems to find its way to the curb during the house cleaning seasons. All he had to do was wait till someone realized it is not being used and threw it out.
That day finally came when the xylophone made its way to the curb and into his tiny space called his bedroom. Now he had another challenge. He couldn’t play with it without making a sound and he couldn’t let his family know he had taken the xylophone. Even if it was thrown away, his father would not appreciate him taking stuff from his employer’s home. He searched for many days before finding a secluded space in a dark alley where he could store away his toy and play at his leisure.
Xylophone soon became his friend and confidante. Soon he realized he need to know more about it. So he started working harder and sneakily saving to buy a smart phone. Using internet as his guide, he started teaching himself how to play the xylophone properly. Using a pseudo name “Xylo-practor” he started posting his work on social media to keep a track of his progress, all the while keeping this part of his life hidden from his family. Comments and suggestions on his post helped him improve himself with time.
However, working on Xylophone along with the other odd jobs to earn money was proving to be very difficult. His frequent absenteeism were getting noted by his family and he was losing track of the excuses he was making. Something had to be done to ensure that he follows his passion without getting beaten five ways to hell. He spoke to some of his friends and got a job in a different city. Moving away from his family would mean that he could practice without having the worry of having to lie or being caught. The new job at a mechanic shop took too much time in his day, but gave him the freedom to practice at night. Soon he started going to local pubs to perform at night. Initially it was for free, but soon he started getting small payment for his gigs. His performance got noticed and one day, someone told him about a contest being held for solo performance. He had never thought he would even perform in front of people and now, he had a chance to participate in a contest. His joy knew no bounds. Participating in the contest meant putting in the contest fees. This meant he would have to work more to get the money and practice more to be eligible to participate. His days were getting longer than nights.
But perseverance helped and he managed to earn enough to participate in the contest before the deadline. His audition performance went well and he was eligible to participate in the contest. Winning the contest meant he would get a chance to be a part of a touring music band. And money. It meant his family could get three square meals without struggle every day. It was a big thing for him.
The day of the contest he came to the venue to see a lot of participants. There were students who were studying music, local bands and many professional musicians who were his competition, although he noticed none of them had a xylophone. It appeared he was the only one with a xylophone. That got him a lot curious and mocking glances from the participants. But he hadn’t come so far for nothing. He knew his choice of instrument was unorthodox but that doesn’t mean it didn’t create music. The contest was for musicians. They didn’t specify which instrument could or could not be played. So he went on with his performance.
His chance to perform came and went in the blink of an eye. He couldn’t believe it was over so soon. When he had entered the stage, the judges did give him a funny look for the instrument but they hadn’t asked him to leave. And after his performance, they hadn’t shown any expression of liking or disliking his work. They just told him that they would inform him of their decision at the end of the competition. He was asked to leave for the day and wait for their communication at the end of three day contest.
The three days went at a snail’s pace for him. To forget the stress, he put in all his time into his work, which benefited him monetarily but without any stress relief. At the end of three days, he rushed back to the venue for the results. There was a list of selected candidates on the board in front of the venue. He scanned through the list three times but did not find his name. He realized he was not selected and that broke his heart. But he was determined not to let it affect his love for the xylophone. Making some plans for the future, he was just about to walk off the place when he heard someone call out for him. The lady calling out to him, confirming that he was the one with the xylophone told him there was someone who wanted to talk to him.
Surprised on the turn of events, he followed her to meet a distinguished looking gentleman. The man was very happy to see him and with tears in his eyes, told him that he loved his performance. “Xylophone is a dying art. Not many are interested in knowing the ways it could be played, let alone actually choosing it as their instrument of choice. I am given to understand that you have no formal education in playing the xylophone but you have played it so beautifully. I am a teacher in a distinguished music school and am trying to introduce xylophone classes in the school. I haven’t yet found someone who could teach it to them. If I give you a formal lesson on xylophone and smooth out some edges, would you be willing to teach in my school? My class to you would be free, of course.”
He was spell bound. In spite of having lost the competition, he found a new job in something that he loved. He has found his calling. The Xylo-practor can finally practice.
Fate works in mysterious ways. Even if you lose some, you may end up winning something much beyond what you lost. Don’t compromise on your dreams for your reality. Build your reality to match your dream. Have faith and keep pushing forward.
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