Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Musically speaking...

When I was much, much younger than I am now (possibly 7 or 8 years old) and living in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, the only music I knew was what my parents listened to, and I don't remember much about it in any case. Except for the songs from a couple or three very old Hindi movies, which I l loved and played over and over. And over.

This was in those days of cassette tapes, which you could buy pre-recorded (yes, like CDs). There were two tapes which I considered mine. One of them had the songs from the 1951 movie "Deedar" on the one side, and "Andaaz" (1949) on the other. I knew - and still know - every song on that tape, and today the song playing really loudly in my head has been Meri kahani bhoolne wale, sung by the truly immortal, golden-voiced Mohammad Rafi. In fact, all day long I'd been fighting the urge to belt it out, mainly because - call it an instinct - the solicitors at my workplace would not have appreciated the melody of this beautiful song in the middle of the workday...or at any other time, I suppose.

However, the closer it came to leaving time, the more insistent the urge to sing became and, as I hurried to my car, I was already singing (although not as loudly as I wanted). It was a huge relief to get in the car and finally, FINALLY release the song. Whoever noticed me as I drove home might have thought I was in agony, or possibly just off my head, because believe me, I was bellowing my lungs out as I hit the high spots. If you click on the song link above and listen to the song, you'll notice that Rafi sahab started out on a ridiculously high note and rose higher still in the course of it. Just right for bellowing. And it wasn't just "Meri kahani..." that was rendered, it was followed in good order by others from the movie. You'd better believe that they were in the exact order as on the tape.

Oh, the other tape (which I mentioned earlier) had "Baiju Bawra" on one side, and I've no idea what was on the other side, because after listening to Baiju Bawra, no other movie songs sounded good enough. So I kept having to rewind the Baiju Bawra side over and over. But wouldn't the tape wear out on the one side, you ask (and you do realise that the mere asking dates you, don't you?) Well, yes, it did wear out, and so did its replacement, and its replacement too, and so on down the line. It was a loooooooong time before I graduated to CDs, but even those stopped working when they accumulated enough scratches. It's such a blessing that you can't wear out YouTube videos!


Shruthi said...

Utterly love, and identify with this post.

Anu said...

I once saw a post on FB that had a cassette and a pencil with a caption "our grandchildren will never know the relationship between these.."

I used to listen to "Salangai Oli" over and over and take a good guess as to what was on the other side? "Ulagam Sutra Vaalibhan" - one of the weirdest combos or what?