It was at the historic city of Charleston I found the flute. I’d wandered into one of the oldest markets in the USA, the City Market, it’s old brick walls and tiled roof pouted history to all who ventured in. But my eyes were fixed on the flute shop.
Most flutes are made of bamboo, but this one was carved out of wood. Against the other plain bamboo ones, this stood out with exquisite carvings, on it’s brown wooden surface.
The price tag mentioned an exorbitant price!
For someone who from childhood picked up flutes from flute sellers in India at a few rupees, and then as the crowd watched on a crowded Juhu or Marina beach, played a melody, that gladdened the hearts of beachgoers, while increasing the sale of flute vendors, so much so that he would offer a flute free if I played one more tune, and pushed his sales, this amount was much too much.
But the carvings on the flute enticed me.
The others had markings of C or D or B, showing the musical scale they had been tuned to.
Not this one!
“May I play on it?” I asked, hesitatingly looking at the unmarked mouth piece.
“No!” said the owner, “these are Covid times! But sir, look at the beautiful carvings!”
“I’ll take it!” I said, and paid him the amount.
I couldn’t play it in Charleston, and it was while packing my bags in New York I saw it, and with an open suitcase, with clothes strewn all over, eagerly picked it, placed it tenderly at my mouth, and heard through the thin walls of the New York apartment the neighbour’s dog howling as it joined the ghastly sounds this instrument produced.
The flute had not been made to be played, it had been carved for display!
And in imagination I go back to the shopkeeper, “This flute doesn’t play!” And I see him shaking his head and saying, “They spent so much time working on the outside of it, they didn’t work on the inside!”
“Then it isn’t really a flute,” I tell him, “It’s just a carved piece of useless wood, which can never make music!”
Am I like that? Are you like that flute? Been blessed with talent, skills, and great ability, but too lazy to use any of it? Happy to let life go by, being a showpiece with great carvings?
Have you explored what you’re good at? Pushed yourself to become an achiever? Realized you have been created to delight the world with your uniqueness?
Are you a real flute, a music producing flute, or that fake from Charleston?
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