Sunday, 17 August 2008

Retro Sunday

There are some songs and some genres of music which have a very strong associative memory in my mind. Some songs which I associate with a place, a time or a person.

Today morning, when I turned on my PC, little did I expect that I would be taking a walk down the ages. But when the music from my play list began playing, I was at once taken to the days of my childhood. Sipping on my black coffee, smoking the first cigarette of the day, it did not take me long to sink back into old memories. As the music started pouring in, the journey back to childhood had already begun.

As I listened to Engelbert singing "Man without love", I was filled with memories of those days. When the only source of music were LPs and cassettes, when we would be listening to music from an old wooden case coffin top turn table [it was a NELCO , I think] or from our brand new AKAI PJ-W55 stereo boombox. I remember fiddling around with the SW1 and SW2 bands of the tuner, only to discover static. It even had an FM tuner, back in those days !
Every day was a discovery. Listening to vinyls on the turntable or to compilations of assorted artists on cassettes that my sister would get, I would be introduced to artists like Roy Orbison, Nat King Cole, Neil Diamond, et al. Sometimes at a friend's house I would chance upon an unknown artist and then sample the music. And if I liked the music, I remember the pain I would go through to get it copied on a blank cassette. At that time, a double deck player was a luxury.[It was only 8 years later, that my dream of having a double deck was fulfilled, when we got the Panasonic Mini Hi-Fi system] So I would hungrily seek out music anywhere and everywhere.
Whether it was Boney M, that I first heard my neighbour's son Papuda play on his turntable [I remember the fascination of seeing people in white tights and sporting afros on an LP cover] or the cassettes of Billy Idol that I chanced upon in my friend's house, everything would be absorbed without bias. We would look forward to save money and buy the "expensive" English cassettes. I think the first one we ever had was when my sister bought Michael Jackson's "Bad". Oh the joy of having an original cassette! Gone were the days of single lined cassette covers with hand written song names. It was the real mc coy and it had a picture of the artist on it to boot. It was the pride of our cassette collection.

Today, as I listened to Engelbert-Nat King Cole-Toto-Scott Mckenzie-Neil Diamond, I was back in those days of my life. Days filled with hand written cassette covers and a golden Neil Diamond on a black LP cover saying "Jazz Singer".

Monday, 11 August 2008

Urban hauntings

The past few weeks, my city seems to haunt me in the strangest of ways. The fact that I have not gone "home" to the only city which I truly can claim as "home" for a year now is heartbreaking enough. Even though the city I once knew it as may have changed; even though going back to her is like meeting an old lover after a decade of separation and mutual changes, yet somewhere deep within her, there still exists glimpses of what she used to be. It is those glimpses that draw me to her. Like going through an old cabinet and suddenly chancing upon a tattered sepia toned photograph which transports you back to a forgotten age.

The last 5 books I read, the last 4 movies I saw, were somehow connected to my city. Uncanny, considering it included writers like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and a Bollywood remake of the Korean movie "My Sassy Girl". It is as if life keeps on reminding me that I should take a trip to my city; have a rendezvous with an old love...

 [Photo courtesy: http://www.kolkatadirectory.info]