Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Day 8 - The keyboard we owned, growing up.

We recently bought a keyboard. The story of how we got the keyboard remains to be told, and I'll do that some day. But the new arrival got me thinking about the keyboard that we had as kids.

It was a Casio, and my father brought it back from one of his official visits abroad. Nobody we knew had anything like this back then (This was in the eighties.) I still remember going to the airport to receive him, and he walking towards us carrying the keyboard in a kind of sling in his left hand.

And we were so thrilled with it. The only thing we'd seen like it was the harmonium, which was boring, and the grand piano, which was well, grand, and only seen in the lobbies of 5-star hotels. Our keyboard had different tones, and beats, and you could do all kinds of clever things with it. (Compared to what current keyboards can do, ours was pretty basic, but you must remember that it was the eighties.)

None of us in our family have formal training; we all learned to play by ear, and we got pretty good at it. In my teens, I've served as the keyboard accompanist to several songs and group songs both at school and in our township. Once, my sister Peevee and I performed Made in India (Alisha Chinai), Peevee singing, me on the keyboard. And one of the township uncles came over after the performance and said, "It was good, but not as good as Alisha Chinai's."

How we rolled our eyes. I write this and my eyes are automatically rolling again. (And I'm sure my sister is reading this and her eyeballs are going all over the place too.)

There was one time when we thought it was the end of the keyboard. Peevee had contracted scarlet fever. [I had just finished reading Little Women where one of the characters die of scarlet fever and for a few days I was terrified that something would happen to Peevee.] She was passing time playing the keyboard. My mother handed her a glass of Horlicks. Ordinarily, she would have to move away from the keyboard to drink, but since she was sick, I guess my mom was a little lenient.

But guess what, Peevee dropped the glass on the keyboard, and the Horlicks spilled out and trickled deep into all the cracks and crevices and between the keys and what have you.

After that, we established Project Dry-up-Keyboard. My father unscrewed it and set all the parts out, and all of us joined in to push increasingly tiny pieces of cotton into all the crevices to mop up the stickiness. Soon, the Horlicks dried and we had to moisten the cotton in order to get the Horlicks out of all the parts. The keyboard lay like a dissected whale for a few days, and then we mantled (the opposite of dismantled is mantled, right? No? It's okay. I'll use it anyway) the keyboard back and tentatively put the batteries in and turned it on.

And it worked!

Guess what, it still works.

Continued here.

1 comment:

Nagraj Rao said...

I remember the trepidation when I we switched it on. 'Will it work ?'.
A great relief when it worked.
While bringing it at customs,I was required to pay custom duty.Its value was assessed as Rs.1000/- and a duty of 150% was leviable so I had to shell out Rs.1500/-as duty.
Of course I was mentally prepared for it.

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