A song and some more

On days when I run short of time to exercise, I simply dance to the Bollywood songs from one of the music channels on TV till I sweat like crazy or run out of breath or till Krisha is thoroughly entertained; whichever comes first. I don't choose songs to dance. I simply dance to any number, even Gazals at times. So once in a while I come across songs that are flavoured with memories from past and they still transport me back to those days and leave an after taste that keeps lingering till the sun comes down and political news at night jolt me back from the romantic past to the pragmatic present.

So today when B4U played Tumhare Siva Khuch Na Chahat Karnege from Tum Bin, I suddenly remembered Engineering Mathematics. Manas and me were the maths study partners in our first year and heard songs from Tum Bin, Silsilay and Kabhi Kabhi for like dozen times while solving the problems. Those were the days of Walkman and earphones. So glued to the notebooks and pen, with one end of an earphone in my right ear while the other in his left, we spent time solving maths problems. One day, must be a Sunday, Govindraj walks into the room and see us busy doing maths with earphones on and he walked up to me, looked at my note book and not wanting to disturb us walked away. An hour later he walks again and finds us again at it - studying sincerely. He gets curious with our unusual discipline and walks again to my side, sees me solving the numerical and again not wanting to disturb us walks out of the room. An hour later when Govind gain walks into the room, we are still at it and now he doesn't doubt my patience but definitely doubts Manas'. So he walks up to Manas to check what he is doing. Manas had penned down lyrics of two songs from Tum Bin. One of which was Tumhare Siva Khuch Na Chahat Karnege.

There are many such flavoured memories associated with songs. Some sweet, some crazy, some nostalgic but none are bitter. There are many firsts from BATU days. Like the first time I went in Gagangiri's Mess (Senior's Hostel) I was ragged in a senior's room. My torment involved singing the entire Lagan album to a Tube Light. I was handed an overused parchment of lyrics and was made to sing for 90 mins non-stop.

Yet another first was when Somar played the guitar at the annual event for a song performed by the Final Year students. The song was Kandisa from Indian Ocean and we were in our second semester. The song went onto became our anthem for the 4 years of our graduation and elevated Somar to the ranks of - "Do you know Somar. He is such a darling". Alas! Somar never capitalized on the situation. He only had half a girlfriend till final year. I on the contrary learned how to play just one song 'Papa Kehatain Hain' on the guitar from him in 3 years and managed to bag 1 full girlfriend, 1 ardent fan Girl-as-a-Friend and 1 crush who flunked a year because she couldn't concentrate on studies because of me. Real talent, I learnt, is underrated. It's a fool's world where thugs like me do well. Not for nothing did I became the Girls' Secretary in final year. Sorry I mean the General Secretary. ;)

Another first was my brush with English songs. Till I entered BATU, English songs to me meant Back Street Boys singing - I Want It That Way and Celine Dion singing My Heart Will Go On. Period. And then along comes Pauli and tells me I was being a sissy and that real music was listening to Metallica, Guns & Roses and some more whom I am happy to have left in BATU. No please don't form an option about me or Pauli. Everybody's poison is different. Hard Rock and Metal is definitely not mine. I am more the Gazal type. But I came to this conclusion not before drenching myself in many different genres which I heard, imbibed and enjoyed diligently while I was in BATU.

Then along came Brian Adams with Summer of 69, Eagles with Hotel California and MLTR with 25 Minutes. All these songs are special because Somar played them perfectly on his Hobner and Govindraj supplied us with lyrics so that we could sing when Somar played.

Manav is one person whom I cannot miss while I talk about songs in BATU. He shared my passion for Gazals and introduced me to Surmayee Shaam and Albums like Marasim and Koi Baat Chale. Manav from, some place, got the books on Shayari and introduced us to Shayaris as well. Shayaris by Galib, Ibn-e-Insha and many I can't remember. I am writing about songs from BATU but it will be a great injustice if I don't introduce you to the two Shayari's which were so difficult to comprehend that we simply mugged them up and recited wherever laughter was needed; or when we wanted to look like real shayars.
The first was

नदाए बुलबुले शहदा मैं अगर है तासीर
दस्तें सैयाद मैं गुलचीं का गिरेबां होगा 

And the second one

मत पूँछ हाल मेरा बोबे खुश्क सेहरा हु मैं
लगाके आग मुझे करावा रवाना हुआ … 

Please don't explain me the meaning of these Shers. With all due respect to the Shayars we still want to use them to only laugh our guts out, our wackiness needs some ignorance. Manav had a very eclectic taste in reading. He read the gazal books and Hidost (a local pornographic monthly) with equal zest.

Cassettes were in vogue in our hostel rooms and we probably left them there or lost them there because we came out of BATU with CD's that contained hundreds of MP3 songs. But unlike Cassettes, CDs lacked the charm. The Cassettes had covers with pictures and fold that mentioned the songs, the singers, the year and hundred other trivia that were enlightening and entertaining. While the CD was a silvery disk of boring glow on which we with marker use to write - Jagit and Gulam Ali, Hell Freezes Over and Other Eagle songs, ABBA and other 70's hits, New Bollywood Songs. Though the CD contained more songs, they needed us to have a computers which meant we were held hostages to our rooms. Cassettes and Walkman meant freedom of listening to songs during travel and sometimes in classes. But Walkman had one problem - rewinding and forwarding to your desired song meant power wastage. Thankfully rechargeable batteries came and saved our precious monies but still rewinding largely happened with the help of Reynold's 045. This statement is only meant to be understood by the 90's generation. The newbies simply can't comprehend the importance that Reynold played in our lives when they manufactured 045 - A multipurpose pen.
My all-time favourite cassette (Album) from BATU is Jait Re Jait (a Marathi Movie Album). A cassette that belonged to Sandeep, my first year roommate - an engineering diploma student. Hridaynath Mangeshkar and G. N. Dandekar have created magic that takes me back to the mountains of Raigad each time I listen to the songs from this album. Jait Re Jait to me means Malaygiri Room No. 131, It means to me the Sunday hill treks and the longs swaying grass on these mountain slopes and it's plateau.

I got my Walkman late in second year. Till then I listened to cassettes brought in by others. My own cassette purchase came very late when I walked into Planet M opposite Victoria Terminus (another one for the old generation) and bought The Soft Rock Album a medley of songs from Meat Loaf, The Police, David Coverdale etc and the other was Laundry Service by Shakira. I was laughed at for buying Shakira, praised for buying The Soft Rock Album and mocked for spending money on buying brand new cassettes when I could have bought 10 more at same price from Fort's Street Vendors. So my next purchase included a second hand cassette of Noting Hill, a classic from Simon and Garfunkel, a Marathi album which I forgot and one Gazal medley all from Fort’s street. Like Manav I too am eclectic.

I am happy to have purchased Notting Hill because that introduced me to Ronan Keating and Shania Twain and I for the first time had something to discuss with Bhagi. Before that I was always in awe of her beauty and intimidated by her brain. Which meant each time I thought I should talk to her I avoided, lest I should make a fool of myself. Once she knew I was in songs she talked more often, just a pretext I guess. Once she asked me if I knew lyrics of Savage Garden's Truly Madly Deeply. It was in the middle of Digital Electronics class that I got that request on a piece of paper. I promptly wrote back

Standing here in the middle of nowhere
You are the only one I see everywhere
Yeah I believe and I want you to believe
As long as the planets are turning
As long as the stars are burning
As long dreams are coming true
I will love you Truly, Madly and Deeply
                         Savage Garden

She laughed at my plagiarism and smart-ass-ness and I feel in love with her again.

Shania Twain, when she sang - Looks Like We Made It, it almost summed our feelings when we married each other after 6.5 years of courtship. A relationship that had its own share of ups and downs. And when after our marriage party was over and we were alone Bhagi sang it to me. Bhagi was good at many things and singing was definitely not one of those. But she sang for me and gave it her all.

I definitely cannot complain about Bhagi's singing. I have survived Lejo's Country Roads and I Am Leaving On a Jet Plane and I know that each time he sings one of those, John Denver's soul must be wringing in pain. Yet another shocking murder in BATU was that of Summer of 69 which was sung by a Junior from Marathwada in a Khanjiri Bhajan style. The boy definitely had bad taste - He wore suspenders in college. Not everybody from Marathwada has a bad taste though. My first and only stage win in a singing competition came because of another junior from Marathwada (I have forgotten his name). He introduced me to a beautiful prayer in Marathi called Raho Sukhane Ha Manav Ithey (meaning – Let us all stay happy) and our group went on to win first prize in a group singing competition. But apart from that incidence I have been a solo singer, mostly active in bathroom. Rajesh even nick named me Sureeley for my loud bathroom singing in BATU. I like to sing and Bhagi loved to listen to me. On our weekly phone calls during our courtship days she would ask me to sing a song for her. After our engagement, during one of the phone calls, I sang to her Tere Mere Sapnae Ab Ek Rang Hai from Guide. I felt strong about our relationship which was now going to take the next step. There is one line in the song which says "Lakh manale duniya saath na yeah chuthega, aake mere haato main haat na yeah chutega" (meaning - Try may this world, but we will never part. Now since I have held your hand, I will never let it go). It made me believe in the eternity of our togetherness. She recorded it that day and as serendipity would have it, she played it back a week before the delivery of Krisha was due. Not to mention we were in a romantic mood that night, for our relationship was again going to take yet another step ahead with birth of our child.

Sad it ended the way it did and i was not holding her hand when she breathe her last. I have lost that song recording too but the song still conjures our happy days. As i said there are many flavoured memories associated with songs - some sweet, some crazy, some nostalgic but none are bitter.

P.S – All italics are hyperlinked to song videos. My apologies to Schizos for missing some very important and good songs.


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