Sunday, December 13

His Master’s Voice




My best-loved trademark is ‘His Master’s Voice’.

This celebrated picture that has become the icon of a gramophone record manufacturer, delivers a silent message: the nostalgia of a dog to the voice of its long lost master.

There is an irony in this trademark. When Francis Barraud, the English artist, who brilliantly conceived this idea and painted this beautiful picture wanted to sell this to Edison’s gramophone company, none of them wanted to take it. Their objection was the dog! “Dogs wouldn’t listen to music,” they said. They were correct in their human logic but grossly missed an opportunity to own one of the most beautiful trademarks humanity would ever produce. Here, in this painting, the fox terrier named Nipper is not listening to the music of his late master but just taking a little interest in his Master’s voice! Nipper was just curious enough to look sharply into the trumpet of the gramophone and to correlate that voice to his dear master’s.

Scientists who study animal behavior tells us that dogs cannot really understand our language: our music, our songs, and our complex speech systems. Instead, they have a strong correlation to our voice, our looks, our smell, and our behavior. It is from the softness and the toughness of our voice that animals understand our moods and our pitch. Nipper was just trying to do that.


Looking at Nipper, he tells us to realise the richness and the depth of individuality that is hidden in our voice that makes each of us so unique. Only when a voice is stilled forever does we realise the lack of it. 


If all those voices that have been long lost in our life, or in our times, were to come alive, what would it be! I wonder about it often: if all those loved voices that passed away in time, and was never recorded were to come alive in our life, what a wonder it would be !! (Many  times I wished to hear my long lost Aunt's voice... but it has been lost forever. Sometimes, I walk to her grave and sit by it , trying to listen to her. ) 

'Nipper' is more than a trademark... it is the magic of a million emotions coming alive in sounds that awake us to a life that we lived ago.

Long Live Dear Dear Nipper !!
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