(Guitar) When you are scared, where would you rather be? In a house or a home?
I have often wondered if a house and a home are the same things. Turns out they are not. A house can be a mere structure but a home transcends that definition. A home is where you belong and that for me has always been with my guitar around my neck.
You are a 13-year-old boy sprinting across the ‘borrowed corridors’ of an orphanage, surrounded by tattered walls that are stacked with random donations on either side. You are happy because it is someone else’s birthday (birthdays meant gifts for us), not yours, it is never about you. On the other side of the hallway is a birthday boy with his family bearing gifts for you and with you, the other less fortunate ones. You are handed a black acoustic guitar with a bohemian-coloured strap, a foreign but fascinating piece. What do you do?
I was that boy
Well, I was that boy and I can tell you what I did. I wore the guitar-strap around my neck and instantly submitted to its weight; further supporting it with my fragile hands I looked at that guitar and with its gloss black finish, it was as if it looked back at me. We were one.
Then onwards, the guitar and I were inseparable.
At St. Patrick’s (our orphanage), it was customary for us to attend the Sunday mass, something I would spend hours whining about. This changed after the guitar happened. Father Roy, the head priest at the chapel was kind enough to offer me guitar lessons after mass every Sunday. He would be the first to teach me all the fingerpicking techniques and guitar chords. I got better at playing each day.
A few summers passed and then some more, it was my 21st birthday. I was promoted to a guitar player at the church from being just another orphan. For the first time in my life, I had my own identity; finally, a birthday where I could be happy, a birthday that was not someone else’s. I realized that the guitar did not weigh me down anymore, on the contrary, it lifted me up. Or maybe it was the fact that I grew a stronger neck with time, I do not know.