Monday, March 29, 2010

Music Credits!

While driving to work today, I was listening to a song that always reminds of someone I know... I simply have to hear the first few strains, and an image, a memory, a face, some moments, flash through my head...

And I realised that this happens to me with many, many songs. Songs that sometimes may not even be so closely held by the very people I associate them with. They may be surprised in fact, to learn how closely that song reminds me of them; how close it brings them to me.

But there is some arresting memory; a vibrant moment lived, a cherished conversation held close to the heart, and then, the song is their's. For good.

So I thought, why not do a roll call of honour. A different sort of a credit roll. And for the fun of it, see if the people involved actually remember the association at all or not... Or feel as strongly about the song....

[I would like to digress here for a moment and say that I am leaving Ranjit out of this list. The universe of music I share with Ranjit is too vast, too personal, and too, too vibrant to be captured in one post. Ranjit is my music partner in more ways than one... so Ranj, sorry, no specific credit roll for you here. You get credit for the 'music in my life!']

I am obviously also not including songs that my highly talented friends have had something to do with directly. I mean, its stupid to say Baawra Mann reminds me of Swanand, or Socha Na Tha of Imti. Duh. But naturally.

The first, but obvious, and Gorky, stop grinning:

RAAH PE REHTE HAIN (Kishore Kumar, Namkeen): Gorky, Gorky, Gorky. His black boot upon his Yezdi pedal. A late night drive back from his film maker job in NOIDA. A rain slick tar road... and this song playing into his ear from his walkman. I will stop here. There are other details too personal to share. But this song stopped being RD and Gulzar's long ago. Its yours, Gorks. Needless to say, there are many others. But this is sort of the signature one; the album cover.

MERI JAAN MUJHE JAAN NA KAO & KOI CHUPKE SE AAKE (Geeta Dutt, Anubhav): Geeta Dutt's tortured, fading, dying voice in a last burst of glory. Kanu Roy's simple melody brought to life so completely in her rendition that made it so believeable that a housewife with a tuneful voice is singing in her throaty, less than perfect style. But so much trivia aside, for me these two songs belong only to Pavi. For years now, from high school to hot dates, from winter bonfires to summer picnics, Pavi has always insisted that these are two songs she can sing well. And the funniest part? She never remembers which these songs are, precisely when she needs to croon. So I must have answered innumerable hushed, whispered, conspiratorial calls, replied to pager messages (gosh remember those??) and lately, replied via the more convenient sms option. She will always say 'hey babes, what are those songs from anubhav that I can sing?'. And I will reply: Koi Chupke Se Aake. Meri Jaan. So Pavi, meri jaan, ye do to tumhaare huye.

PUKARO MUJHE NAAM LEKAR PUKARO (Mukesh, Bhool Na Jaana): For us, the hardcore Kishore - RD fan gang, this is one of those rare Mukesh tracks that we love. (Coupled with a few others that will get mentioned farther on in this post). And for me, this song is Biju's. I don't remember how, I don't remember when, but I do remember him telling me that the line Badi sar chadhi hain ye zulfein tumhaari, ye zulfein meri baazuyon mein utaaro... is one of his favourites. Pataa nahin kyun, ye baat mere saath reh gayi. Biju - does the line still move you?

BAAT NIKLEGI TO PHIR DOOR TALAK (Jagjit Singh, The Unforgettables): I can already see Pavi smiling. But of course. Oroon. Who else. One of the many many songs that Oroon renders beautifully, but the ONLY song that he remembers the entire lyrics of. Oroon, you have made me cry so often with your rendition of Baat Niklegi, that I should apply for insurance now. I finally got a grip on the tears, but even now, the eyes get moist. I remember your school farewell (you being a year ahead of me) and you sang it on stage. As a special precaution I went out of the assembly hall and heard you from the door. And cried buckets, as usual.

TUM PUKAR LO (Hemant Kumar, Khamoshi): Shujoy - I don't know if its Hemant Kumar's singing, or his composition, or Gulzar's sheer brilliance... or some other personal association that you may have... but you've always had a soft spot for this song. I've seen you attempt to sing it at several antaksharis over several Durga Pujas... and hum it under your breath even otherwise. That rickety wooden table in front of the goddess; us sitting, irreverentially swinging our feet off it, the line of us in dhotis, saris, respectively, and you attempting this tune, until Oroon rescues you and takes it on... This song belongs to you, my friend.

ROMEO & JULIET (Dire Straits, Making Movies): 'A lovestruck Romeo, Sings a streetsus seranade, Laying everybody low with a love song that he made...' I've always described Knopfler's voice as Rum Chocolate. If you could make love to voices, I'd want to do him! Rishi, you may not even remember this, it was soo soooo long ago. But it was in Mumbai. We were at the Ghetto (I always forget the name of the pub and ask Ranjit - hey which one is that dark pub with the neon lights where your teeth shine white and he tells me!!)... So Rishi - it was probably 98 or 99. I was in Bombay on Encompass work. And we'd hooked up and gone for a drink. This track started playing over the sound system. And you mentioned how it was one of your favourites. I remember not being familiar with the track then and asking you what it was about. And you, magically, without allowing the rhythm of the song to get spoilt, repeated every line back to me, into my ear, even as the track played out. What a gorgeously written piece of urban poetry. And what a stunning memory. Dunno about Knopfler and his Intellectual Property rights, but Romeo and Juliet belongs to you, Rishi K!

TIME (Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon):  Singhaaaaa!! We were in your not-so-fancy car. I don't know where we were going but it was early evening, the sun was setting and we were driving towards AIIMS. Floyd's brilliance over your sound system and you asked me if I'd ever focused on the words of Time. And then as the sun actually set in front of our faces, you repeated the lines to me: 'you run and you run to catch up with the sun but its sinking... racing around to come up behind you again... the sun is the same in a relative way but you're older... shorter of breath and one day closer to death....' No wait, you didn't repeat them speaking, you sang them, along. Your face was lit up by the setting sun then, and all your love and reverence for and resonance with Pink Floyd shone through in that moment... This song belongs to so many, across two and a half generations, across so many nations... and Singha, as far as I am concerned, it belongs to you!

KOI DEKH RAHA (Udit Narayan & Kavita Krishnamurthy) & TERE PYAR MEIN (Hema Sardesai, Shankar Mahadevan - Zor): Gorky, Pavi, Ranjit, Tapas recognise this name. The others on this list may not. Pramit Ghosh. My crazy ex boyfriend and an extremely interesting chap regardless of what we went through. Pramit, who introduced me to George Orwell's Down and Out in London & Paris, who introduced me to the ancient ruins in and around Ahmedabad, who introduced me to yumm food at Vishaala, who introduced me to the concept of living by myself, and who also introduced me to contemporary hindi music, which I had great disdain for, before I joined Mirchi. These two songs were the soundtrack of the few months I spent with him. They captured the madness, the uncertainity, yet the fun, the vibrancy, the unpredictable spontaneity of that time of my life. Both songs have a sweetness and yet a racy pace - something that reminds me of that crazy and pyschaedelic time in my life...

MAINE TERE LIYE SAAT RANG KE SAPNE CHUNE (Mukesh, Anand): A simple song with Gulzar's masterful words. A gentle moment in a superlative film. But is that how I remember the song? Not quite. I see Imtiaz sitting at the kerb of the Hindu college bus stop. I see the afternoon sun slanting through the leaves. I see him humming the track as I cross the narrow road and plonk down next to him. I see the twinkle in his eyes as he confides that this is one of his favourite love songs. Because of its simplicity. At that time I thought he said it for effect, he came across as such a complex fellow. And then years later he made Socha Na Tha. And then Jab We Met. And then Love Aaj Kal. And I realised over a decade later, that he had meant what he'd said.

SAVERE KA SURAJ TUMHAARE LIYE HAI (Kishore Kumar, Ek Baar Muskura Do): Tapas. You and I have shared many many songs through our long friendship and our radio partnership. There should be many other tracks I associate with you. But this particular one - I just always imagine you singing it. I think perhaps because you introduced me to the track. But it always has been, and always will be, yours.

and the best, for the last!

CHANE KE KHET MEIN (Poornima, Anjaam): Baba! Ha ha ha ha. The man who has introduced me to Rabindra Sangeet, Adhunik Bangla Gaan, Polli geeti, Toppa, Bhatiali, Suman Chatterjee, Nachiketa and who not... and THIS is what I associate with him? Of course I have an entire childhood of beautiful music that I attribute to that man. The reason I include Chane Ke Khet Mein in this list is because its unusual, its mad, and it showcases in my memory, the vibrant, youthful, unprejudiced person he always was. Baba loved this crazy, almost Bhojpuri, what many would term 'cheapo' song. He loved its energy, its rhythm and he was completely crazy about Madhuri's dancing in this. He really admired her skill. And I read somewhere that they had a multiple camera set up for this song and Madhuri rendered the entire dance of this 4 - 5 minute number, in ONE take. She is that fabulous. And Baba recognised that extraordinary talent. So yes, my dad, of many intellectual pursuits and deeply artistic interests, belongs to Chane Ke Khet Mein! :o)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

What if...

Sometimes I have this really wicked thought of telling all on all my ex-men. (Nice phrase, ex men. sounds like a sci-fi film.)

I guess it must be about getting to office on a tuesday morning after a lazy, gorgeous, sun kissed, holi drunk, gujia satiated weekend, but it makes me want to do mean things.

I have the added advantage of the fact that my husband knows about each one of the ex-men, in all their varied shades of glory. So does my family.

Which kind of leaves me free to wreak havoc on the entire sanctimonious holier than thou lot.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I don't think they are all pigs because we all chose to move on with our lives. I thinnk they are pigs because they are!

Hee hee.

Anyhow, got to know about this maudlin tweet that one of the ex-men had posted about his blissful marital life, and I had this wicked wicked desire to get on to twitter and leave one saucy, marriage wrecking comment on it...

I have similarly juicy, creative thoughts on several other ocassions. Thoughts that could render marriages, homes, careers and sanity ruined.

I am disgustingly wicked.

So whats the moral of the story?

Be careful of an ex boyfriend for about three months. That's pretty much the time in which he can murder you, malign you, post your dirty pictures on the internet, deface you, haunt you, stalk you, attack you....

After that, with their short attention spans, and shorter memories, they will forget you.

But be careful of an ex girlfriend for life. She may just decide to ruin your life on whim.

Just because a long weekend got over.