As long as I can remember, music has been a very important part of my life. It kept me grounded, sane and diverted attention from a whole lot of things (that I will not go into here!). Music lifted my spirits from the dark depths of despair and though it did not always make me soar, it brought about a sense of equilibrium in the mind. And in periods when I was bereft of music, I found it difficult to cope. Music was and is my strength… and I cannot ever imagine a life without music.
Most of my childhood and early years were spent listening to mind-boggling variety of music from all genres. From M.S. Subbulakshmi, Anup Jalota, Hari Om Sharan, The Beatles, Abba, Boney M, Michael Jackson, Wham, Guns ‘n’ Roses, K.J. Yesudas to Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, SPB and Noor Jehan… I spent many hours in the comfort of music. So much so, every kind of music holds a memory. Waking up to MSs divine Kurai Onrum Illai at the crack of dawn, riding pillion on the Scooty with my friend Rajee and singing Kaun Hai Sapnon Mein Aaya in the rain, dancing with college friends to Pahla Nasha, clapping in tune to the bhajans at the nearby temple… the strains of music were both vibrant and varied.
There was a phase during my days at Nagpur University campus when all of us were on the ghazal mode. We huddled together during winter afternoons, with Pankaj Udhas and Jagjit Singh for company. Rebellion, angst, melancholy – every emotion found its wings through music.
The pre-CD days meant cassettes that were played over and over till it finally ‘died’. Sometimes the tape stuck, and was wound with a pencil to be played all over again. We had a Philips Powerhouse, a prized possession that belted everything from Vividh Bharati on the radio (Bhule Bisre Geet, Binaca Geetmala, Fauji Bhaiyon Ke Liye) to soft old Hindi melodies but most of the time it was on top volume with what was the flavour of the month! And when the Powerhouse was too much of a disturbance, I switched over to the Sony Walkman. But the music remained, as fresh as ever.
After I came to Muscat, I was caught up in the whirl of a demanding career and family life and music took a backseat. And in the process I lost some of my strength. Now I had the latest in sound warfare – but never found time to reach out to my soul. I attended bhajans during the season and enjoyed them but that was that.
Now that Amrit is all grown up and is showing a lot of interest in music, the sounds are back in my life. From the beats of the mridangam to beat boxing (that I find irritating), Linkin Park, Scrillex to the much-loved bhajans from my childhood, I am hearing them all. And revelling in introducing him to my kind of music, writing down the lyrics, and even singing along (however off-key I may sound). We scour YouTube together, listening to Coke Studio and newer forms of music that had escaped me, until now.
I’ve let music into my life again… And I know all will be well with my world.