Lend me your ears

Sofia Vyas is coming to terms with life as the only non-musical sibling

The Knowledge

Sofia Vyas is trying to come to terms with life as the only non-musical sibling.

I’ll begin by saying, I have always wanted to be able to sing. I would go as far as to say it’s probably what I want more than anything else in the world. So I’ll be honest, when I first saw my little sister perform, it was tough. I’m sure on some level I was happy for her, but all I can remember is being torn between complete confusion (that it had taken me 14 years to realise she could sing) and a moment of if-I-can’t-sing-then-no-one-can hysteria that made me want to find a way to remove her voice box. I contented myself with defiantly sulking in the corner while the rest of my family had a wonderful old time singing along
and clapping and showering her with compliments.

Her singing is of the kind that can bring a tear to someone’s eye. If anyone sings like a nightingale, it’s my sister, whereas I sometimes feel like I was born to be on the stage but somehow ended up trapped inside the body of someone completely tone-deaf. As a child I spent countless Saturday nights in front of Pop Idol and Stars in Their Eyes. I imagined myself emerging from that smoke-filled tunnel as Celine Dion and belting out a moving rendition of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ to a standing ovation. So I’m sure you can understand that finding out I have a musical sibling just really came out of left field for me.

I’ve toyed with the idea of amateur musical theatre, but there’s no way I’d get through the try-outs. At school, unable to make the cut even for the chorus, I desperately settled for being one of the front of house volunteers (I say volunteers, I was the only student not forced into it). I even insisted on my entire family going to see a production that I wasn’t even part of.

I just took their tickets and showed them to their seats. That was a low point. Almost as low as the night I was politely – and then not so politely – asked to leave Rock Bottom Café because several people complained that I was hogging the karaoke stage.

It’s something I’m trying to cope with and I think I’m making good progress. Family occasions are still hard now that musical performances have become a regular feature (I was dealt a second blow last year when my youngest sister Maya revealed herself as mini-maestro) and when there’s nothing else for it but to sit back, zone out and go to my happy place: a bright stage, a darkened audience and a smoke-filled tunnel.

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