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The Broken Circle

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
The Broken Circle

I saw a movie yesterday. It is called “The Broken Circle Breakdown”. It is a Belgique/Dutch movie with subtitles. If you are a fan of the Bluegrass Country Music like I am, then this is the perfect movie for the music lovers.

If you like string music, this is the movie for you to get strung with mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass and the resonator/lap guitar which is better known as Dobro, its trademark. By the way I happen to know the best Dobro player and fittingly his SN is DobroFanatic.

I am not a Country Music fan but Bluegrass is not some ordinary country music that talks about the pick- up truck that was repossessed and the girlfriend who left him and took his favourite belt buckle.

Bluegrass has the blues. It is langar for the soul that talks about hopes, desires, shattered dreams, falling off, dusting off and getting up with the courage to carry on. Bluegrass is a kind of gospel country which talks about the deity god, angels, heaven etc. etc. which is very unlike the one sung by well-known country singers like Garth Brooks or Dolly Parton- the famous big bosomed woman-who was made even more famous by the talk show host Johnny Carson whenever she was invited to his show by introducing her in this way,” Ladies and Gentleman; and here they come”.

I do not want to bore you with this anymore but would like to share the interesting origins of Bluegrass from the Sikhi perspective. The immigrants with their instruments from Ireland, Spain, The UK, Italy and of course the Africans who brought in the Banjo with their heartfelt personal experiences of slavery and expressed them musically got together in this venture. The vocals with high pitches are kind of the Bluegrass Ragas. Bluegrass music is the glue for these peoples who have become one despite entering through the four doors.

Now back to the movie. It is about two people with two opposite aspects of life. The girl called Elise who is tattooed all over owns a tattoo shop; believes in heaven, hell, angels and a deity. In other words, the tattoos and the inner belief seem to be in sync in some way for her. The boy- Didier on the other side is a pragmatist and totally opposite to her beliefs. He tells her he does not believe in receiving virgins in the sky and that the stars are not the souls departed as many claim.

They fall in love in spite of their differences. It is love at first sight when Didier happens to visit Elise at her tattoo shop and tells her that there is a Bluegrass band playing at some bar that night. When she gets there, to her surprise she finds him as the lead singer of the band. They fall in love, get married in the same bar and she becomes the lead singer of the band. Music becomes the glue that binds them together.

They have a beautiful baby girl named Maybelle. Sadly she is diagnosed with cancer. This ailment in the family tests their beliefs or lack thereof in a very trying manner.

I will not give the whole movie away because I want you all to watch it. It can be watched for free online but I rented it.

But, there is one scene that I would like to share with you. Maybelle is kept in a sterlised chamber while going through stem cell therapy. Didier, her dad puts the stickers of the moon and the stars on the canopy she is under.

Maybelle asks her dad about the stars in the sky and he explains to her in his own pragmatic way that these stars we see up may have been dead for a long time, even before we are able to see them because it takes them that long to be visible.

This made me thinking about the wow and the awe factors we are surrounded by. For us the stars are ever blossoming. If one goes out, another one takes its place unnoticed by us. This is the same way Sikhi idea works. It is like The Universe above us twinkling and making us wonder about ourselves. It is ever blossoming, thanks to the sacrifices by our Gurus and many who came after them so that the Sikhi idea keeps on twinkling and thus never dimming.

When one star in this Sikhi Universe fades away and then the other one is long ready to take its place to carry the torch to offer light in the dim corners of life.

I turned 59 today. I talked to people from all over today and many I have not seen since the 70’s. Thanks to the FB, the reconnections happened and hence the span of the past got shrunk into nanoseconds. We all chatted about the past which did not seem that distant but rather the continuation of the present.

It is interesting to notice that we as flowers never wither but always keep on blossoming. Our petals that were once black, blonde, auburn or brunette all change into white. Some fall off and some stay intact.

I do not feel a day older than yesterday, how far that yesterday may have been. I am still blossoming, thanks to Sikhi, and the twinkle in my eyes matches the twinkle in the stars above me, all in their prime waiting for the apex.

As Didier told Maybelle, that the stars we are looking at may have gone off to the new horizons of darkness. I am not worried about it because I know that when my time comes, there will be one more Sikh twinkling by my side.

Now the question comes to mind that is it still a circle when it is broken? May be not but if we are a circle of stars then if one of us dims out, there is just another one waiting to take our place to keep it unbroken, to keep on twinkling, keep on sharing its glow to light up our darkest nights.

Allow me to end with the lyrics from a song by a British singer aptly named Passenger:

Cos we're circles.
We're circles you see.
We go round round the sun.
In and out like the sea.
I'll circle round you.
You will circle round m

Enjoy the movie.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo.
Tejwant Singh


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