Updated: Jul 4, 2021
Consonance and dissonance
I admired the singing and voice of Vincent Gomez, who was a choir singer in a local church. Those days, every singer dreamt of becoming a playback singer, and Vincent did accomplish that at a young age. In my childhood, I used to see him ply through the city roads riding a Vijay scooter, wearing a cap with its side flaps let loose that they look like drooping puppy ears.
In my teenage, I was active as a singer and also as a photographer. Photography with film being an expensive hobby, I was eager to contribute my service for free if someone solicits my help to cover events and rituals. While they pay for the film roll, developing and printing, I found out that I can experiment and learn, as well as help them. Hence, I have covered many weddings, baptisms and funerals at the local church where he sings the choir. As I viewed him in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a playback singer, we exchanged greetings when we meet as he knows me as a singer.
He would be at the choir-aisle with methodical movements as required in a choir. Though busy, he often acknowledges my presence with a slight bow of his head. We seldom got the time or chance to talk. His voice is very familiar to me that I can hear him sing right when I remember him.
He looked handsome, but he never cared for his looks. Many singers of those days were envious of him, and some of them mistook his staid attitude as arrogance and ego.
Vincent was busy with choirs and devotional songs when he received the breakthrough in 1988. He got the chance to succeed as a playback singer with a song written and composed by the legends in the Malayalam filmdom. The song 'Number Lesham', written by P Bhaskaran, had music composed by G Devarajan for the movie 'Athirukal'. The song situation being comical; the music director wanted him to sing it with apt expression and feeling. He did his job pretty well, but unfortunately, both songs in the movie flopped, including the other one sung by the great K J Yesudas. The green-eyed lot who earlier lost their sleep at his accomplishment gleefully celebrated the failure. They jibed that the lyrics of the song has come true. The verse "Entey jeevitham naaya nakki" many times repeated in the song, roughly translated, means, "My life is licked by a dog", else "My life has gone to waste". I am unsure whether he took the mocking and teasing seriously, but I heard that he subsequently led a disquieted life though he remained busy with choirs.
Many years later, when his son, a Popular cricket player, proudly and joyfully called home to share the greatest achievement of his life, Vincent was found dead hanging himself.
"Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord. Let your ears be attentive to my mind's wail."